The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on 1st September met with its implementing partners for a midyear review meeting on implementation of the 2022 work plans of its 7th Country Programme at the Lagoonda Hotel in Freetown.
Speaking at the event, UNFPA Country Representative, Nadia Rasheed underscored government’s continued support to the implementation of country programmes and actions that are critical in meeting the three transformative results, further noting the positioning of those transformative results by the Government of Sierra Leone within the country’s development context and Sustainable Development Agenda.
“Equally and most importantly, UNFPA is celebrating a huge milestone with the development of its global Strategic Plan for 2022 – 2025 which seeks to accelerate progress on the three transformative results of (i) ending unmet need for family planning, (ii) ending preventable maternal deaths and (iii) ending gender-based violence and harmful practices,” Ms. Rasheed underscored.
Though proud of the country programme results achieved, Ms. Rasheed said, there are still too many preventable maternal deaths; girls being denied an opportunity to reach their full potential due to teenage pregnancy and women exposed to gender based violence including in the hands of intimate partners.
“The fate of these voiceless women and girls should be our clarion call to continue to seek out interventions that would make a positive change in their lives,” she said.
Officially opening the one-day midyear review session, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis M. Kai-Kai, expressed thanks to UNFPA and its implementing partners for their efforts and contributions to meeting the goals of the UNFPA Country programme, especially in achieving clusters 1, 5 and 6 of the National Development Plan priorities and to advancing achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Sierra Leone.
UNFPA overarching goals of ending unmet need for family planning, ending preventable maternal deaths, and ending gender-based violence and other harmful practices, Minister Kai-Kai said, are underpinned by the promotion of gender equality, youth empowerment and human rights, population dynamics and the strengthening of data systems and evidence to inform programming.
“The goals and strategies are well aligned with the ‘New Direction’ agenda for socio-economic growth set by President Julius Maada Bio. Specifically, they contribute to priorities for human capital development, empowerment of women, children and people with disabilities, youth entrepreneurship, improving service delivery and strengthening statistical systems,” Minister Kai-Kai said.
Implementing partners, he underscored, play a critical role in ensuring that UNFPA’s mandate is implemented in a way that maximizes value added and returns on investment, complementing the efforts of Government and other partners. “This is why a gathering like this today is important as it provides an opportunity to review achievements and jointly strategize on way forward. I therefore encourage you to participate actively and look forward to your reflections.”
The meeting highlighted gains made in the first half of 2022, discussed challenges in the implementation process and shared knowledge on UNFPA operational guidelines and programme processes. The review meeting also undertook an overview of UNFPA Strategic Plan (2022-2025), and of the Country Programme (2020 – 2023).
Preceding the review was an orientation for implementing partners on the mandate and programmes of UNFPA, operations related matters including financial management and reporting implementing partner assurance, viz-a-viz micro assessments, audits, spot-checks and prevention of sexual exploitation and Abuse (PSEA). The orientation further covered programme communication, visibility and branding of UNFPA/Donor supported interventions.
The meeting was chaired by the Development Secretary, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Peter Sam-Kpakra.