Grabo community receives renovated health centre after surrendering armsMay 5, 2017
The 5th Steering Committee meeting of the ECOWAS – EU Small Arms Project was held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to review progress made by the project in the last six months and assess challenges being during implementation. The meeting by the members of the committee was used as an opportunity to provide further guidance and make decision on issues emerging along the project’s implementation timeline.
It was noted, during the meeting that the project continues to make significant progress along all its output areas. For example, the identification and handing over of large deposits of Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) in Sierra Leone, which was directed linked to effective sensitization initiatives; the mopping up of arms and ammunitions from Grabo (San Pedro) which also instrumental in enhancing confidence in the intervention and strengthening social cohesion.
So far, voluntary collection of arms and ammunitions in five (5) out of the Seven (7) participating countries (Cote d’lvoire, Guinea, Liberia, Niger and Sierra Leone) resulted in the recovery of 490 war arms, 10 Grenades and 5 Rockets launchers, 71 locally manufactured guns, and 10,800 rounds ammunitions. Twelve (12) storage containers have been procured for storage of collected arms.
Following successful collection of arms in Grabo (San Pedro), through the Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programme, the project rewarded Grabo community with a renovated health centre – this will significantly help in reducing maternal mortality in the community.
The meeting was followed by a 2-day field visit to San Pedro in the western part of Cote d’lvoire during which the renovated health centre was commissioned. The Committee also visited Tabou where operational equipment (Motor Cycle, Computers, Table and Chairs, Printers and cartridges etc.) was handled over to the five decentralized offices of the NATCOM in Danane, Toulepleu, Ouaninou, Tabou and Gbeleban areas.
The Chair of the meeting and Commissioner of Political Affairs Peace and Security at ECOWAS Commission, Mrs Halima Ahmed, commended the project team for the steady progress recorded. Representatives of the European Union Ms. Stefania Marrone, expressed satisfaction with the level of progress made by the project particularly in Grabo, being the first time a project will score such an achievement under the DDR programme.
The need to adopt an integrated approach to project activities was re-echo by different speakers at the meeting. Also, suggestion for the provision of alternative livelihood in addition to community projects in the communities where arms have been recovered were provided as a way of enhancing the gains of the project.
The meeting was attended by members from the ECOWAS Commission, the EU delegation, UNDP Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire as well as the Project Coordinators in the seven Member States. Also, present at the meeting were representatives of the National Commissions (NATComs) on Small Arms and Light Weapons of the beneficiary States (Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Sierra Leone), and representatives of the host government.