The Regional Coordinator East Mr. Moses Gboma of the National Commission of Social Action (NaCSA) has informed line ministries and other stakeholders in the refugees program that more than 6,000 Liberian refuges in the eight refugee camps in Sierra Leone are now poised for local integration into the host communities among their respective camps.
Mr. Gboma said this when he was addressing representatives from Line Ministries, City and District Councils at a one-day sensitization meeting held at the NaCSA regional office in Kenema.
He said that the residual caseload of Liberian refugees will soon be integrated into the local communities under the Self Reliance Strategies (SRS) which will keep on till January next year.
Disclosing that the pilot phase of the scheme has already begun in Tobamda and Bandajuma areas in the East and South respectively, Mr. Gboma revealed that host community members in those areas have agreed to provide land to the refugees for agriculture and the construction of shelters.
He appealed to the representatives from the line ministries to honour their pledges of support and corporation with the UNHCR and NaCSA for the success of the scheme.
Mr. Moriba Foday who is the NaCSA district humanitarian officer in Kenema reiterated his organizations commitment to the SRS scheme and implored the line ministries and other agencies to team up with NaCSA for the smooth running of the scheme. He disclosed that the present pilot scheme in Tombada and Bandajuma is an experience, which will be a guide during the 2008 SRS implementation in January next year.
The NaCSA information officer Kenema Mr. Paul Joseph gave the general over view of the pilot scheme pointing out that SRS is a complete change in approach from care and maintenance to mainstreaming refugee protection with national social services provision and building capacities to manage the process. He disclosed that 227 family heads with a population of 1,360 would benefit from the pilot project in Tombada and Bandajuma areas. He outlined the responsibilities of the line ministries, the refuges and the host community members.
In his remarks the head of the UNHCR sub office in Kenema Joseph Bagie said that UNHCR and NaCSA would not succeed in the SRS project without the fullest support of the line ministries.
Disclosing that UNHCR will soon commence quick impact project in the remaining six refugees camps, Mr. Bangie appealed to the line ministry officials to treat the scheme with the utmost attention it deserves.