In what has been regarded as a laudable venture and a positive step in the right direction, the Rural and Private Sector Development Project (RPSDP) at the close of 2012, organized launching workshops on a Grievance Mechanism (GRM) handbook in the twelve Provincial Districts and District headquarter towns of Sierra Leone. The launching did not only attract partners of RPSDP but also chiefdom authorities such as Chiefdom Clerks, Paramount Chiefs and their representatives, district council representatives, religious leaders, women’s leaders (Mammy Queens) and youth leaders.
The launching workshops were organized to sensitize participants on the existence of a Grievance Redress Mechanism System to address potential disputes between community people and the RPSDP in all RPSDP project implementation areas. Participants were educated on the rationale behind such a mechanism, the existence of Districts and Chiefdom committees to spearhead the process and steps to take in resolving disputes that may arise out of projects being implemented by the RPSDP.
At design stage, the RPSDP was assigned an Environmental Assessment category of Category B (Partial), owing to the fact that the introduction of improved agricultural technologies, rehabilitation of feeder roads, construction of rural markets and storage infrastructure, and provision of rural agro-based processing facilities could result in potential adverse environmental impacts and social risks. Two World Bank Safeguard Policies (including the Disclosure Policy) were therefore triggered: (1)Environmental Assessment, and (2)Involuntary Resettlement. Consequently, the country prepared an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and a Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF), in a broader consultative manner. The grievance redress mechanism is therefore a system by which queries or clarifications about a project are responded to, problems that arise out of implementation are resolved and grievances are addressed efficiently and effectively. The goal of the GRM is to create an avenue for the prevention and resolution of potential adverse environmental and social impacts emanating from activities funded under the Rural and Private Sector Development Project (RPSDP).
The Rural and Private Sector Development Project (RPSDP) became operational in 2008 with funding from the World Bank and the Government of Sierra Leone.
The project development objective is “to increase production of selected agricultural commodities by 20% and sales by 10% through improvement in efficiencies along the value chain of target beneficiaries”.