The Bonthe Island Fish Trading (BIFT) Project.jpg

By Foday Moriba Conteh

In a bid to improve business conditions for fishing and fish trading in  Bonthe District, SEND Sierra Leone, with support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, on the 2nd November, 2021 launched The Bonthe Island Fish Trading (BIFT) Project during a well-attended and auspicious event held at the Amiss Hall in Mattru Jong, Bonthe District, Southern Province of Sierra Leone.

Addressing the gathering, the Country Director of SEND Sierra Leone, Joseph Ayamga, disclosed that the entity or Non-Governmental Organization started its programme activities in Bonthe District in February 2019. He continued by intimating that their first ever intervention in the District was with the promotion of a Nutrition-Sensitive WASH Self-Supply Project in the Sherbro Island which was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Deutsche Welthungerhilfe.

He noted that SEND Sierra Leone is very happy to launch The Bonthe Island Fish Trading (BIFT) Project as part of their continued intervention in Bonthe District.

The Country Director revealed that the Project is geared towards improving business conditions for Fishing and Fish Traders within Bonthe District, named The Bonthe Island Fish Trading (BIFT) Project which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and implemented by SEND Sierra Leone in the Bonthe District, adding that the project has a budget of 729,690.21 Euros for its implementation from the 1st of September 2021 to the 30th of April 2024.

In his presentation, the Programme Officer for the BIFT Project, Mohamed Jalloh, stated how it is a three year project which is supported by BMZ through Terra Tech, adding that Send Sierra Leone will be implementing the Project alongside the Government of Sierra Leone.

Dilating on the problem analysis of the Project he said that like in many places in the country, the people of Bonthe Island are also affected by poverty which is reflected, among other things, in the food insecurity of the population.

He added that above all, there is lack of structures for sustainable fishing, the infrastructure of transport routes as well as suitable market access to sell fish profitably.

Mohamed Jalloh revealed that the Project will directly  impact 17,367 people of Bonthe Sherbro Island in the Bonthe District which includes 8, 920 men, 7, 703 women and 744 people living with disabilities of which he maintained that approximately 1,096, 046 people will indirectly benefit from the intervention through radio discussions, awareness-raising and the micro-grants during the project implementation phase.

He maintained that the Project will contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Sierra Leone Medium-term National Development Plan 2019-2023 in the Bonthe district, adding that the Project will also give access to mechanized fishing and processing equipment and to financial services underscoring how the management of fishing enterprises have been sustainably improved and transformed in the Bonthe District.

The Deputy Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Buakai Bindi Hindowa, on behalf of his Ministry used the opportunity to express appreciation to SEND Sierra Leone and their partners for the launch of the Project.

He said that during the presentation of the Programme Officer of the Project he revealed that the project measures and expected results will address the financial, social, economic and gender-specific challenges of men and women in the Bonthe Sherbro Island area as described in the situation analysis which he said will address the objectives of the Sierra Leone Government’s Development Plan 2019-2023.

The Deputy Minister assured SEND Sierra Leone of the Ministry’s contiunous support towards actualization of the Project adding that such will not only benefit men and women in the distrcit but also the children.

On his part, the Deputy Mayor of Bonthe Municipality Council, Mohamed Robinson, applauded SEND Sierra Leone for the launch of the Project which he said is important to them as a timely intervention towards the empowerment of residents of Bonthe District.

He disclosed that amidst the COVID-19 outbreak in the country  SEND Sierra Leone wrote a project which was approved maintaining how the Project is geared towards improving sanitation in the district, furthering that it will support people in deprived communities within the Bonthe District.

The Deputy Mayor noted that he is with the strong conviction that the project which is geared towards the improving business conditions for fishing and fishing trading in the Bonthe District will create dividends, of which on behalf of the Bonthe Municipality Council, pledged his support towards the success of the Project.

In his keynote address, the Deputy Minister of  the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Jonathan Titus-Williams (Rev.Dr.) described the launch of the project as showcasing the commitment of their development partners and the confidence they have in the New Direction Government led by His Excellency the President Brigadier (retired) Dr Julius Maada Bio.

On behalf of the Government and People of Sierra Leone, he
applauded SEND Sierra Leone and those funding the Project.

The Deputy Minister encouraged the beneficiaries to take ownership of it maintaining  that SEND Sierra Leone only won the bid to implement the project stressing that, however, it belongs to them and therefore they must own it, adding that Government at the local level ,including the line MDAs & Councils other development partners-NGOs, CSOs, CBOs and other Private sector-local businesses, contractors as well as companies must come on board furthering that SEND-Sierra Leone should ensure everybody is made to know who is doing what, where and at what time during the lifespan of the Project.

“Let me commend SEND Sierra Leone for enduring the rigors of conceiving the project idea and translating that into a bankable project that we all have gathered for and that when the whole world is enduring the economic constraints of COVID-19 and donors are holding back SEND Sierra Leone has succeeded to bring something for our vulnerable people,” he concluded.

Climaxing the event was the official launching of the Project by the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Jonathan Titus-Williams (Rev.Dr.) who doubled as the keynote speaker.

Courtesy of Calabash 6th November2021

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