Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Susan’s Bay community has benefited from the “Resilience Building for Disaster Affected Communities in Freetown Project,” which was implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), with funding support from the Government of Japan.
This initiative, carried out in collaboration with the Freetown City Council, aimed to enhance the resilience of communities affected by fire disasters. The project included the construction of vital infrastructure, such as a biogas energy plant converting food waste into organic manure and electricity, along with water and sanitation improvements. The beneficiaries, totalling 7,041 people from 1,566 households, particularly emphasized women’s empowerment, with females constituting half of the project’s population.
Speaking at the handing-over event in Susan’s Bay Community Hall, on 14th November 2023, the Ambassador of Japan to Sierra Leone, H.E. Hisanobu Mochizuki, highlighted the project’s significance in fortifying communities against future calamities.
He conveyed Japan’s congratulations on the successful completion of the project, stating “The project, responding to the urgent need for enhanced disaster resilience following fire outbreaks in Susan Bay in 2021, exemplifies Japan’s commitment to supporting Sierra Leone. The collaboration with UNOPS resulted in the installation of crucial community infrastructure, aligning with international frameworks on resilience building, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.”
Expressing Japan’s dedication to global values through ongoing collaborations and emphasizing the long-lasting impact in areas vulnerable to natural disasters, Ambassador Mochizuki commended the Project Board’s contributions and outlined the shared goal of providing Sierra Leoneans with a more secure and resilient future, encouraging continued efforts towards creating a prosperous future for the nation.
In her statement, Madam Ifeoma Charles-Monwuba, UNOPS Ghana Multi-Office Director-Representative, acknowledged the successful collaboration with the FCC.
Highlighting that the partnership with the Government of Japan does not only contribute to peacebuilding and sustainable development in Sierra Leone but also globally, she maintained that through improved infrastructure and innovative solutions like the Biogas System, the project is expected to enhance community involvement, gender equality, aligning with Sustainable Development Goal 11.
Pointing out that the handed-over facilities now belong to Susan’s Bay community, she urged residents to take responsibility for maintenance, ensuring their sustainability.
Recognition was given to the UNOPS Sierra Leone team, led by Sofia Goinhas, and a special mention to the project team led by Hirohisa Kondo for adhering to UNOPS policies and procedures.
Stressing that the end goal of UNOPS work is improving people’s lives, Madam Charles-Monwuba reaffirmed commitment to further collaboration with sister UN agencies under the Resident Coordinator’s leadership for achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Sierra Leone.
In addition, emphasizing the importance of responsible usage and urging residents to safeguard the facilities by disposing only the intended waste, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr, expressed gratitude to three residents for generously contributing the lands on which the facilities under the project stand. Furthermore, she informed the community that a little fee would be required for utilizing the facilities, emphasizing that this contribution would enhance the sustainability of the project.
In a subsequent interview with Awoko, the community chairman, Ishmael G. Kamara, shared the community’s challenges prior to the availability of these facilities. Emphasizing a sense of responsibility and accountability for the well-being of the community as a whole, he strongly lamented the constraints they faced and pledged, on behalf of the community, to exercise wise and responsible usage of the newly provided amenities
The efforts undertaken by UNOPS, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 11, not only addressed urgent needs for clean water and sanitation but also provided employment opportunities, improved energy supply, and reduced accident risks in Susan’s Bay community.
The project’s success is further anticipated to serve as a model for other emergency-prone areas, reflecting UNOPS’ mission to contribute to peace and sustainable development by efficiently managing projects for the United Nations and governments. PSN/16/11/2023