Christian Aid managed the £10m third phase of the ENCISS programme and successfully transitioned and transformed programme outcomes during 2010-2015 for the European Union and UK aid.
Grant making and enhancing impact were the twin focal points of the programme. The approach included a comprehensive capacity building programme, and creating spaces for engagement and dialogue between government and civil society.
Between October 2010 and September 2013, 243 grants worth £3.8m were awarded to civil society organisations (CSOs) and local organisations. These micro, project and strategic level grants funded initiatives across ENCISS thematic areas: gender, youth, justice, decentralisation and the 2012 elections.
At the same time, ENCISS delivered a comprehensive capacity building programme for grant partners, with training and mentoring in areas such as budgeting, monitoring and evaluation, advocacy and financial management.
ENCISS created opportunities and spaces for strategic engagement and dialogue with government authorities to deliver activities such as policy dialogue forums and accountability platforms for CSOs, local and national government.
Following the three year grants phase, there was a one year extension during which ENCISS played a strategic broker role, bringing together former grantees and other civil society players together and working through accountability platforms, policy dialogues, and media. In May 2014, ENCISS ran a public education campaign with four CSOs to popularise public policy using theatrical forms such as song, dance, story-telling and drama.
An innovative SMS Voices pilot project broke new ground by using web and mobile technology to connect citizens and councillors in Bo and Koinadugu districts.
The ENCISS Learning Labs initiative was a multi-strand project designed to promote aculture of knowledge sharing and learning among civil society and community-basednetworks, and developed replicable and sustainable models of best practice. The project used various channels, including interactive peer-led learning events, to share knowledge, challenges and strengths, and online resources such as case studies, how-to guides, fact-sheets, publications and links to national laws, government ministries, departments and agencies.
‘ENCISS has taught us to really map things out. The capacity building in management and report writing has been a big legacy. Now we can plan projects and manage our groups.’Lucy GondorBambara Rural Women’s Development Organisation
- Three national forums held
- £3.8m awarded in grants
- 247 organisations received grants, training and mentoring support
- 189 ward development committees trained
- Five thematic areas
- 19 local and municipal councils supported
- 23 policy dialogue forums held in 2013
- ENCISS was awarded the Presidential Gold Award in 2013 for its contribution towards good governance in Sierra Leone.
ENCISS has also achieved the following:
- CSO/Local Council Coordination Forums gave parties a chance to discuss their priorities.
- Several councils formalised this relationship by signing Memorandums of Understanding, fostering greater transparency and accountability in service delivery.
- Civil society contributed to the development of key policies and legislation relating to gender, justice and freedom of information, as well as to the constitutional review process.
- Civil society played a significant role in ensuring that the 2012 national elections werepeaceful, democratic and inclusive.
- As a result of CSOs’ work in Koinadugu District, two women joined the chiefdom councilcommittee, which previously had only one female member.
- In Kenema and Kailahun Districts, mediation committees were set up to support women in disputes over land, child support, sexual abuse and other matters.
- ENCISS included many different groups that are normally marginalised – the disabled, young people, women, girls and illiterate people. Community members and implementing partners (IPs) saw benefits in terms of increased mental and emotional health, enhanced political participation in community decision making, and shifting behaviours and attitudes among communities, citizens and authorities.
Support for response to Ebola
During the last months of the programme (October 2014-January 2015), ENCISS was asked by UK aid to help support the Ebola response through its work at community level with its implementing partners.
In the eight districts where ENCISS operated, it focused primarily on social mobilisation, psychosocial support, transparency, accountability and reintegration. Although ENCISS has ended, IPs continue to work with relevant ministries, departments and agencies, ward development councils and other stakeholders to complement the current national efforts to eliminate Ebola.
More recently, SMS Voices has become a powerful and innovative Ebola-response and reporting tool. Citizen reporters have used the technology for awareness raising, contact tracing and reporting Ebola cases to their councillors and communities. Councillors have used it to disseminate important information on quarantining, medical supplies and awareness trainings.
ENCISS activities were delivered with a focus on building the capacity of individuals, organisations and communities without creating an over-reliance on ENCISS funding. Partner capacity has increased and they are able to develop project proposals, financial plans, lead project implementation and facilitate community dialogue. Partners have gained access to other sources of funding and gained confidence in funding applications.