Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – The Sustainable Communities Network (SCN) has forged a partnership with the Cole Farm Youth Organization to conduct an extensive cleaning exercise within the Cole Farm Community in Freetown.
Columba Blango, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SCN, revealed that the organization, registered in May 2023, is based within the Cole Farm Community and is committed to ensuring sustainability in community projects nationwide.
Blango highlighted a common issue observed in many Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community-Based Organizations (CSOs), where projects are executed over a year or two, but upon completion, they lack a sustainability plan, leading to project deterioration.
“While many entities are doing commendable projects in communities, we have examined the sustainability aspect, and we are adopting a different approach,” Blango explained.
As a newly established organization, Blango stated that they chose to kickstart their cleaning exercise within the Cole Farm Community due to their headquarters’ location in that community.
Addressing their unique model of community development, Blango emphasized that SCN focuses on involving the community in specific areas they believe they can handle independently, rather than imposing projects on them.
“You cannot separate the youths from the community; they walk in tandem. We want the youths to feel a sense of belonging to the community and take up responsibility for its upkeep,” Blango emphasized.
He highlighted the diverse support provided by SCN in sports, career and skills development, and computer knowledge for the youth. Additionally, the tools used for the cleaning exercise were crafted by youths within the Cole Farm Community, showcasing a collaborative effort.
Counsellor Osafeli, a resident of the community, praised the Sustainable Communities Network for greatly enhancing their weekly cleaning and sanitation activities by providing essential tools.
“We are committed to ensuring that the youths are actively engaged in the cleaning exercise every weekend. This program will continue indefinitely; we don’t want it to stop,” Osafeli affirmed.
Encouraging open collaboration, Counsellor Osafeli called on fellow counsellors to work closely with CSOs and NGOs, ensuring collective efforts in bringing development to their communities.
The cleaning exercise culminated in a football gala featuring four teams within the Cole Farm Community, with trophies and certificates awarded to each team and player. Additionally, certificates of appreciation were presented to families who have made significant sacrifices for the community over the years. SEG/9/1/2024