Youth in Action for Development (YAD) has today, 30th July 2020, launched a community based sensitization campaign against Covid-19 and distribution of food and non-food items to Konjo Buima community, Malegohun chiefdom, Kenema district. The campaign entails mainly a vivid explanation on how the rural dwellers can prevent themselves from Covid-19 and how to adopt such preventive practices into their everyday lives.
Launching the campaign and distribution exercise, the Programme Coordinator, Simma Sheriff explained that the intervention is an offshoot of the just concluded community Market and Social Mobilization Centre construction project which is aimed to foster sociocultural cohesion and peaceful coexistence among the youth, and to facilitate income generation activities for women in Konjo Buima section with special focus on Ngiehun Konjo town. With the help of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Fambul Tik e.V. which is based in Berlin, Germany, Sheriff revealed that while the initial objectives of the ongoing project remain unchanged, they have been able to expand its scope to encompass additional objectives that would enable them respond, in their own little way, to some of the life threatening challenges posed by Covid 19. This include, but not limited to, fostering resilience at household level to enable the beneficiaries resist and survive the socioeconomic and cultural shock of the virus, teach them how to prevent themselves from or live with it just as they did over the years with malaria and HIV/AIDS, since all efforts by global leaders to produce an effective vaccine or true cure for the virus have so far proved futile.
Speaking on behalf of the community, the chiefdom speaker, Charles Kaikumba thanked the staff and management of YAD for such a historic gesture, adding that it has arrived at the right time of the year when most pots and pockets are virtually empty. He then admonished the beneficiaries to embrace the handwashing and face-masking culture urged by Covid-19 since the virus has no cure at the moment.
Representing the Kenema District Council, Counsellor Yayah Kajue, the deputy chairman of Kenema Deistic Council who also doubled as the Ward Counsellor for Malegohun chiefdom, expressed similar appreciative and joyous voice, adding that YAD is working to complement his own efforts which is why he feels urged to witness and participate in all their activities in the chiefdom. “The District Council Chairman is unavoidably absence because he has to chair the council meeting today but I have come to represent him and the entire council at this very momentous program” he lamented.
In a press release earlier published, the management of YAD explained that in order to make the campaign and distribution process simple and transparent, “we have grouped the beneficiaries into two categories based on the outcome of a household vulnerability assessment survey which we conducted in the targeted community few weeks ago”:
Category one included 174 registered members of the Konjo Youth Development Association (KYDA). They received a bag of rice each, hence their membership of the organization signifies their readiness to serve the Konjo community voluntarily. In other words, they are the primary beneficiaries of this project. This category include some youth in Ngiehun, Yumbuma, Jenneh and Komende.
Category two included 1845 persons living in 522 households. They received rice, oil, maggi, onions, salt, soap and mask which were thoroughly scooped by the distribution team. In this category, the larger the family the higher the ration.
The items distributed include 468 bags of rice, 25 bags salt, 100 canisters (batta) palm oil, 25 bags onions, 2000 lumps 72% soap, 2000 local masks, 500 YAD customized mask and 4 giant hand wash stations.
The management of YAD however appealed to the Malegohun community for not been able to target them all due to funding limitation: “unfortunately we do not have the resources to extend our support beyond the above defined groups and boundary. We also know that a meal for one person could leave two or more people starving, even if they share it equally. We therefore plead to the rest of Malegohun community who have not been fortunate to benefit from this support to remain hopeful and prayerful for us to have the courage and wisdom to mobilize more funds to target everyone in the chiefdom with future opportunities”.
In the same press release, the organization also reminded everyone of its apolitical status: “Please be reminded that YAD is a nongovernmental, nonreligious, non-political, nontribal and nonprofitmaking organization that works with and for the youth, women and children in diverse thematic areas that concretize peace, democracy and socioeconomic development in post conflict Sierra Leone with special focus on Kenema district. To know more about YAD and its activities, please feel free to visit our homepage: www.yadsl.org and facebook: www.facebook.com/yad.sierraleone”.