February 12, 2018 By Joseph S. Margai
Decentralisation Secretariat (Dec. Sec.) last Friday (9th February) did a mini launch of a World Bank project titled ‘strengthening community mobilisation and Local Council service delivery in the post-Ebola context’ for four Local Councils in Sierra Leone.
The three-year project, which is funded by the Japanese government, was launched in the Mayor’s Parlour at the Freetown City Council (FCC).
FCC’s Chief Administrator, Festus Kallay, who played host to the mini launch, said the project was timely especially at a time when local councils should work together with the people within their localities to plan and embark on service delivery.
Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Hadiru Kalokoh, said that on 7th December 2017, his minister, Maya Moiwo Kaikai, launched the project in the World Bank office in Freetown.
Kalokoh said the project would be implemented in four local councils – FCC, Western Area Rural District Council, Port Loko District Council and Bombali District Council.
“With the support of the World Bank, Sierra Leone has been able to ensure that service delivery functions are transferred and performed by local councils. Through decentralisation, government has been able to ensure that local people are actively involved in electing and holding their local leaders accountable and determine their development priorities, all of which are important indicators of good governance,” said the deputy minister.
He said the project, which will respond to the post-Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and mudslide at the local level by building community resilience through sensitisation efforts and social mobilisation activities in the districts, would not have come at a better time than now, especially when government has prioritised strengthening of systems and institutions to build resilience against disaster and shocks.
“I want to assure our development partners that staff assigned to this project will not be moved from those councils before the completion of the project. We will also ensure that the issue of records management is given due attention,” he said and thanked the Japanese government for providing funds for the project, and the World Bank Task Team Leader.
Alhassan Kanu, Director of Decentralisation Secretariat, said a mini launch of the project would be done in all the four Local Councils that are involved so that people would show ownership.
“We are doing the mini launch in order to create awareness about the project and also imbibe a sense of ownership in the people in the localities where the councils are situated. This project would benefit everyone at the local level where it would be implemented,” he said.
World Bank Task Team Leader for the Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF) and the Decentralised Service Delivery Programme II (DSDP II), Randa El-Rashidi, said the initiative came in the wake of the post Ebola recovery efforts.
She added that the project aims at raising awareness because it is a fantastic platform to bring together councils and their people in order to improve social service delivery.
In his presentation, Jonathan Kpakiwa of Decentralisation Secretariat said Local Councils’ social sensitisation activities include community dialogue and support.
“The councils will also have to do memorial service and dedicate community project in honour of Ebola victims. There will also be anti-stigma activities and health talks. We will also give sub-project grant of US$30,000 to Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in each district implementing the project so as to conduct additional sensitisation activities,” he said.