Sierra Leone Exchange Visit

Floresta to CRS, Sierra Leone

Floresta and CRS staff in Sierra Leone

Floresta and CRS staff in Sierra Leone

During their exchange visit to CRS-Sierra Leone, Floresta’s program staff learned more about CRS’s program, methodologies, and program impacts. The primary purpose of the visit was to learn more about CRS’s SILC activities and how they contribute to food security.

During the visit, CRS and Floresta staff traveled upcountry to visit rural Sierra Leonean communities with established SILC groups. The exchange provided an opportunity to observe similarities and differences between the SILC and VICOBA programs and also to provide feedback and suggestions to the CRS staff. Floresta also visited other CRS projects to better understand the integration of the different programs.

Main Lessons Learned:

Samson Shadi from Floresta looking at SILC group records

Samson Shadi looking at SILC group records

1) Ledger System

CRS uses a single ledger system to record pertinent group information for each SILC group. CRS field agents train group secretaries (typically the literate members of the groups) in data record keeping and management. CRS’s ledger system could be useful in Floresta’s VICOBA program, where information is currently recorded on ruled sheets rather than ledger books.  With ledger books, Floresta and VICOBA groups can capture and analyze their financial data more efficiently.

2) Management Information System (MIS)

CRS’s current in-depth MIS efficiently tracks group performance indicators from all VSLA groups. As a result of the exchange visit, Floresta adopted a similar MIS system to record VICOBA group information. This improved MIS system will allow Floresta to better track group performance, as well as to help identify and resolve any group issues. For an example of CRS’s MIS system please visit the VSL Associates website.

Floresta staff visiting a cassava farm in Sierra Leone

Visiting a Cassava Farm

3) Governance and Leadership trainings

As a result of visiting selected SILC groups, Floresta plans to start conducting governance and leadership trainings for VICOBA group members in Tanzania. The goal is to  improve the management and accountability of the VICOBA and UVIMA groups to increase trust, transparency, confidence and the sense of ownership within the groups.

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