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Monday, February 6, 2023

Social Welfare Ministry Kick Off 4-Days Retreat

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Social Welfare Ministry Kick Off 4-Days Retreat

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The Heads of the Ministry’s offices in Kailahun, Kenema, Kono, Bo, Bonthe, Moyamba, Pujehun, Bombali, Kambia, Koinadugu, Port Loko, Tonkolili, Western Rural District as well as the Regional Directors for East, South, North and West are all currently gathered in the ministry’s Conference Room alongside Senior Social Services Officers for Child Protection, Child Justice, Probation, Gender & Advancement of Women, Disability Issues, Disaster Management, Training & Advocacy, Statistics & Research plus all District Social Services Officers have joined the Cabinet Minister in commencing a post mortem discussion into what went wrong that caused the multi million dollars Child Protection and Case Management Information Management Systems to be performing so dismally.

The provincial and districts focused discussions will be followed up with a much broader outlook discussion on Monday. That Monday meeting will have the Headquarters staff of the Directorates of Policy Development, Strategic Planning, Children’s Affairs, Gender & Social Welfare make their input. Later on Monday, senior staff of UNICEF will join the MSWGCA retreat and help to chart the way forward in better utilizing the CPIMS and CMIMS to effectively serve the children of Sierra Leone.

This will be followed on Tuesday with the attendance by staff of Donor Partners and Implementing NGO Partners who were all supposed to have been using the Case Management system to serve the children of Sierra Leone. There will be a critical appraisal and examination by all concerned to figure out what went wrong.

Meanwhile, as she formally opened the 4 days retreat today, Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden has asked her staff to be frank and candid in their submissions. She said she was looking forward to hearing “the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth” from her provincial staff about what their challenges were, what their successes have been and what their vision for their areas of operations are.

“You are here for me to get to know you all better over the next 4 days. I will be silently evaluating each person during the coming days as we are now poised as a ministry to take off and positively transform the way we serve the welfare of the citizens”, the Minister stated.

Blyden highlighted so many lapses in service delivery to the populace. She also encouraged her provincial staff to concentrate on delivering on their mandates. She cited a bad culture of lack of communication and broken lines of reporting as being pervasive in the ministry.

“I was thoroughly embarrassed as Minister to only learn from local newspapers as to the unfortunate situation which happened last week in Bonthe. That was a serious social issue with a very significant gender dimension to it and yet nobody from my ministry’s Bonthe Office sent in any report on it to the headquarters. The Director of Gender and the Head of Professional Services did not even understand that it was to have raised red flags with them. I cannot be the Minister presiding over such a failed system! No way. We will transform this place and I need you all on board helping me to serve our people. The President sent me here to be his Cabinet Minister in charge of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs. I will be letting the President and the People down if I continue to allow the current failed status quo to continue. So it is time for you to join me as we transform the ministry for the better,” Blyden frankly stated.

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