Local Action for Development is a community-based organization in Pujehun district, southern Sierra Leone. Over the past years, through the UNDP GEF Small Grants Program, the organization have been able to develop a project title “Empowering Communities and Persons Living with Disabilities through Skills Training in the Face of Poverty”, which is aimed at transforming the lives of the disabled from becoming beggars to being self-empowered humans.
Living in a remote place like Pujehun, the disabled are not catered for, the majority of them have been relegated to beggars. Their lives are dependent solely on what families or people from outside provide for them, most times they are not guaranteed of creating an impact in society.
With our project, we are focusing on reintegrating the lives of persons living with disabilities through essential skills training like tailoring, shoemaking, soap making, weaving, blacksmithing, etc, so they can take control over their lives.
Since the start of the project we’ve brought together over 60 disables, within three chiefdoms in Pujehun district. After the training, we’ve also tried to expose them to a new customer base system so that they can increase their revenues.
My name is Mohamed Kemokai, the executive director for “Local Action for Development” in Pujehun district.
The community we are residing in is difficult, things are hard, if you are not engaged in any activity that can create a survival for you, feeding for a day will be a problem, for people to help disabled is so difficult so most times we just have to go out and beg for survival.
We frequently face stigmatization because of our physical condition. Transportation is also a huge problem in our community, some days I will have to walk to my destination.
When Local Action for Development intervened things have changed, we have started seeing improvements in our lives, now I have been trained on improving my tailoring skills, my colleagues have also benefited from other skills training. With some of the required tools provided for us, I can work on my own and things are much better now.
My work is helping to create an impact on the lives of my kids and people from other families who also want to create a better life for themselves. The project has changed the way the community used to see the disabled and most of us have stopped begging.
My name is Ansu Jajua, I’m a tailor living in the Pujehun district. I was amputated during the civil war in Sierra leone. I’ve been doing this work for the past 40 years.
About GEF SGP
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP), implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), offers grants to innovative, inclusive, and impactful projects that address global environmental and sustainable development issues.
Local Action for Development
The project responds to the urgent need to rebuild the social fabric of the pujehun district and to maintain the economic and political participation of persons with disabilities in the district and Sierra Leone in general. It does this by seeking to address one of the root causes of poverty in the district through the development of improved training and employment opportunities as persons with disabilities are one of the highest unemployment and poor categories of the population in Sierra Leone, especially rural areas
About GEF Small Grant Stories
The GEF Small Grants Stories series is made possible by a grant to VR&C Marketing Company to increase the visibility of the GEF Small Grants Programme in Sierra Leone through the production of blogs and digital media content on the successes of the program.