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‘Love your country’

- World Bank Director urges DEJA-SL members

By Hassan G. Koroma

The World Bank Country Director to Sierra Leone has urged Sierra Leoneans to love their country in order to promote development, thus highlighting four basic qualities Sierra Leoneans should imbibe, namely “patience and courage, clear vision and determination, professionalism and self-motivation and love for your country”.

Francis Ato-Brown, who was the keynote speaker at the official launching of the Development and Economic Journalists Association Sierra Leone (DEJA-SL) on Friday 16th May, said the event was timely because the association would provide information to the people about the economic situation in the country.

“I’ve made it part of my task of listening to the radio and reading the papers every morning but the question is that in-depth economic analyses or reporting are not given sufficient attention,” he observed. “You have chosen a topic that goes to the heart of our work as development partners, but also I am sure this bears relevance to the government’s performance and result posture [on] development communication to promote social accountability and maximize result for the people and articulate your government’s open partnership agenda and its Agenda for Prosperity.”

DEJA-SL is an association comprises journalists from both the print and electronic media in Sierra Leone that will be charged with the responsibility to provide regular information on development activities and of the economy to the understanding of the average Sierra Leoneans through independently monitoring, evaluating and reporting on development projects across the country.

In his statement, the interim president of DEJA-SL, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, said the group is formed mainly to provide reportage on the economy of the country, “which is why it is comprised of professional journalists from newspapers and radio stations across the country”.

He said the association will be independently monitoring, evaluating and reporting on development projects supported by the government, international partners and the private sector across the country, noting that in spite of the tremendous progress being made in many areas, the country still faces many challenges and has a long way to go to realize the benefits of her immense potential to bring prosperity to the people.

He said potential issues such as corruption and lack of proper monitoring and evaluation system continue to pose challenges to the development efforts of the government, including the Agenda for Prosperity. He stressed that the issue of transparency and accountability regarding public expenditure, as well as the effective implementation of development projects, requires more improved participants in ensuring value for money in service delivery.

In a statement read on his behalf, president of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, Kelvin Lewis, said the issue of financial and development reporting is one that is close to his heart and promised to focus on specialization during his term in office. He said he was particularly pleased with the launching of the association.

“Financial and development reporting is at the heart of free expression because with good reporting, the citizens can hold the government to account, which is the duty assigned to journalists by the 1991 Constitution,” he said. “With good financial reporting, we can put a check to the corrupt practices of development and state actors simply by publishing funds allocated to them and tracking their uses; and with good financial reporting, we can ensure that the people of this country get their true money’s worth from the taxes they pay.”