Sierra Leone: 18 grantees of the Skills Development Fund Project have signed an agreement for the first disbursement of funds making a total of 62 grantees that have already completed the process at the SDF Secretariat at the Education Ministry, New England.
Grant Specialist Sallieu Barrie explained that the Sierra Leone SDF which is a government of Sierra Leone project partly funded by the World Bank launched the first call on 1st July 2020.
“We received 286 applications and 121 made it to the proposal stage, and the finial grantees selected were 63 of which 44 signed an agreement in January 2021.” He said disbursement has already been done. “We want to see how the implementation is going before we sign grant agreements with the final set.”
Adding “18 grantees would be signing,” but noted that there is one more grantee to be signed in but there are administrative processes to be completed for that grantee’s agreement to be signed. The Grant Specialist said “today is actually completing the legal aspect of the grant process, because there is no way the grant would be disbursed to them without having them sign these grant agreements which clearly state grantees responsibilities and what we expect from them, and what the SDSF and the whole project is going to do for them to achieve success in the implementation.”
He said the next stage is sending their disbursement request. Barrie explained that the disbursement schedule as contained in the grantee agreement is that “they [grantees] should request for 5O% now and as they implement and they achieve some of the indicators they would do subsequent disbursement which would be 3O% as they meet some indicators, and 2O% after meeting all the indicators.”
“It is not only going to stop at the disbursement, we’ve assured them of implementation support, because our role is not only to give them the money and allow them to implement, we have to collaborate because we have the results framework and the project development objective in mind and our overall aim as a country is to make sure that we meet this objective and to be able to show that we succeed in the implementation and see how we would be able to get more resources and train more youth and make them employed as we strive to develop our nation,” he explained.
The Director of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Dr Victor Massaquoi said, “the central objective of this project is to equip our young people, with requisite skills…”
He said the initial intent of the project is to train about 8,000 youths however with the 5O% disbursement given to grantees, “we have done re-estimation, we are going to train close to 25,OOO which means that we have trippled what we said we wanted to do…” that’s why we are deeply pleased where we are with the work done so far.
Dr Massaquoi explained that grantees must ensure that whatever training they would be rolling out is of high quality, “we need to look at quality assurance.” “That is why we would be looking at the tools, the delivery” the trainees would be receiving. He stressed that the auditors would not only be auditing the money but also the systems which were stated by the grantees in executing the project in order to see if they are in compliance.
“The project is owned by the ministry of technical and higher education, it is not a World Bank project, the funds were facilitated by World Bank,” he pointed out.