By Josephine K. Tarawaelie.
The European Union has set-aside Twenty Three Million Euros to support Civil Societies and Local Authorities for local development projects in four districts; Pujehun, Kenema, Bombali, and Kambia.
Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Euros will be given to some civil society organizations for local development and Two Million, Five hundred Thousand Euros will be given to local councils for local development, while each of the districts will receive Four Million, Five Hundred Thousand Leones.
On the 4th February 2019, a workshop was held at the Bombali District Council Hall, where stakeholders and Councilors from different wards were present to represent their people.
During the workshop, the team’s leader, Professor Ludovick Shirima said that the main purpose of their visit to Sierra Leone is to contribute towards the country’s long term stability, equitable growth, and to reduce poverty and foster integration for local development.
He said they want to ensure that local authorities are empowered to fulfill their mandate as per the decentralization process and to implement priority actions consistent with local development plans.
He said they want to support relevant institutions at central level of government on building inclusive and participatory reform processes.
He said that this programme will ensure Civil Society Organizations in the selected districts to demonstrate and strengthen their capacity to operate as credible actors aimed at improving inclusive social, economic service delivery to populations in tandem with local council development aspirations.
He encouraged stakeholders to promote the environment for effective decentralization and local governance by capitalizing on achievements in the four districts.
The Team Leader Government and Civil Society Delegation of the European Union in Sierra Leone, Sven Ruesch called on beneficiaries to embrace the opportunity so that those in need would benefit from it.
According to the Capacity Building Manager, John Briamah, local councils should establish a project implementation committee that will meet on a monthly basic, and that the European Union should only serve as a donor and should provide implementation guidelines to local councils and civil societies.
He added that non transfer of staff that will be working on the project should be done in European Union Project Implementation Councils.
He mentioned that Sierra Leone Decentralization is based on devolution and since 2004 over 54 functions out of 79 slated have been devolved to local councils.
Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Philip Tetema Tondoneh called on Civil Society Organizations to be responsible when doing their work. He urged them to develop programs that are community- based and they should be contributing to help the Ministry in the area of capacity building and project reporting.
Civil Society activists said they will use the money given to them to improve quality of schools infrastructural development, increase quality of qualified teachers, and increase good numbers of health facilities and equipment, and also to improve the agricultural sector.