A ram-packed Manays village saw more than 40 Chair Ladies and chairmen from 20 village farmer associations from across Sanda Magbolontor chiefdom gather under the Mango tree for their first Advisory Board meet to raise any concerns and challenges, discuss the 2018 financial report and some unaccounted for expenditure.
A big thank you to Society 4 Climate Change Communications on-hand to witness the meet with Mr Alfred Fornah kindly aiding translation and Mr Vidal Sesay behind the camera!
The Advisory Board were also tasked with choosing representatives from each group to sit on Hope Sakuma's Executive Board, joining the Farm Coordinator Sheku Bangura, representatives from diaspora investors and Hope 4 Ebola Orphans Foundation.
But first, an unexpectedly heated dispute to be settled arising from a misunderstanding regarding a one million Leone deposit for honey was cleared up by the Chairlady of Maketay Honey FBO to everybody's satisfaction and then a plea from Obakai, Manays Chair, who felt the first group had not benefited enough for it's work with only one farming group registered instead of two.
Mr Williams explained in detail to the assembled representatives exactly how much money had been transferred for each project and for feeding over the year to the Farm Coordinator with more than 7 million Leone's unaccounted for including supplies for the first aid kit, tools, nerica rice and millet seed, fertilizer, money for feeding and money for seven registrations and the opening of a bank account; hence not being able to register every group wanting to join Hope Sakuma.
After much discussion Andrew, our 2018 Farm Coordinator explained he had the tools and seed and fertilizer and agreed to finally bring them to the store in Manays as requested since December and after further discussion Andrew also admitted that the medicine had been sold and he had purchased a motorbike with the money he was holding for the feeding, registrations and bank account.
A discussion ensued as to the eligibility of the 2018 Farm Coordinator to participate in the Advisory and Executive Boards and it was unanimously agreed that until all items were taken to the store and payments were received to repay the registration monies Andrew was ineligible for both.
Also present Mohammed Turay observing from JICA who told us after the meet how impressed he had been by the professionalism of the "Freetown Team" and level of transparency.
The Chair Ladies and chairmen then broke into their five working groups, based on our inland valley swamp teams, to eat together and select their two representatives to the Executive Board. The criteria for selection was the people they identified should be most honest and trustworthy and good at passing on information and questions from the teams to the Board and information and answers from the Board back to the groups. After some summer skills training in fair rule and decision making Hope Sakuma's 2020 Executive Board will be in a position to elect representatives.
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