Dasse Chiefdom is one of fourteen (14) chiefdoms in Moyamba District which is also one of Plan International’s major Program Operational Areas. It is also one of the most deprived chiefdoms, according to Plan International’s Child Rights and Vulnerability Analysis 2014. The civil war destroyed many of the communities including the chiefdom headquarter town of Mano. The effects of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak further disrupted child rights services and structures including educational institutions and peripheral health units. This poses a serious threat to children’s access to schooling , and brings a higher chance of increased teenage pregnancy and early marriages. The chiefdom has 1 Community Health Post and 1 public /Community Health Centre with many walking an average of 5 miles to reach a health centre or a school. The Chiefdom is shares common boundary with 6 chiefdoms of Kori, Kaiyamba and Kamajei in the north and Bagruwa and Lower Banta Chiefdoms in the south west. Dasse chiefdom is divided into thirteen (13) local administrative sections.
During the launch of Village Savings and Loans Scheme Project, one of the Sponsored Child’s parent, Grace Kalokoh, in her welcome statement presented the challenges women of the chiefdom face to raise their children in deprived communities and further thanked Plan International for extending the Child Sponsorship Program to Dasse. She further highlighted her confidence that their communities will benefit from more projects if they support their children’s participation in sponsorship.
The Grant Manager of AMNet – Michael Thompson, presented a general overview of the Village Savings and Loan Scheme and primary target beneficiaries which include mainly parents (women) of Sponsored Children and Community Volunteers.
The Plan International Sierra Leone, Acting Program Support Manager – Strategy and Program Development – Joseph Konneh, speaking on behalf of the Country Director underscored the benefits of the Village Savings and Loan Scheme including the Culture of Savings among participants, Micro Enterprise opportunities and Community Led Project Initiatives to address identified child rights issues in education, health and protection.
Konneh also highlighted how linkages can be created between village savings and loan schemes and Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Financial Services Association / Community Banks. He also stated that Women can be empowered through Village Savings and Loan Associations if they also Save and Invest their benefits.
The Paramount Chief representative and Chiefdom Speaker – Lawrence Moseray thanked Plan International and partner AMNet for selecting his chiefdom for the interventions of Child Sponsorship and matching projects in communities. He specifically thanked Plan International for supporting the Salina Community with Safe Drinking Water following an appeal at the launch of Child Sponsorship in Dasse chiefdom. The Village Savings and Loan project targeting at least 300 women was symbolically launched by the Paramount Chief Representative and handed over to the Dasse Women representative, Saffiatu Bangura.