February 12, 2021
By Yusufu S. Bangura
Catholic Relief Service (CRS) in Sierra Leone has on Thursday, 11th February, launched their Vision 2030 Strategic Plan that would focus on four key areas: agriculture, education, health and resilience, with the theme ‘Faith Knows No Bounds.’
The launching ceremony took place at Brookfield’s Hotel in Freetown.
Giving a brief back ground about CRS, Country Representative, Paul Emes,said they started work in Sierra Leone in 1963, just after independence, to carry out the commitment of the Catholic Bishops and the Catholic community of the United States, to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas.
He said as part of the universal social mission of the Catholic Church, they work with local, national and international Catholic institutions and structures, as well as other organisations to assist people on the basis of need, not creed, race or nationality.
He said the vision 2030 strategic plan will contribute to the Government of Sierra Leone’s national development priorities as established in the medium-term national development plan 2019-2023 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS).
The CRS country representative said the organisation will leverage its extensive experience as well as in country, regional and global expertise in programming, to deliver its vision 2030 strategy.
“Our diplomatic status in Sierra Leone provides significant benefits and comparative advantages, as well as access to the policy and strategic discussions that afford ample opportunities for influence and advocacy,” he said.
He continues that CRS has supported the country in so many areas in terms of development like in the area of improving agricultural production and productive.
He noted that poor access to finance is a major problem for smallholder farmers in Sierra Leone and that weak and ineffective health system leads to high morbidity and mortality rates in the country.
“We are happy to see the solidarity that has been between the government and CRS which shows that there is a true partnership between us. And for us at CRS, partnership is a great thing in the strategic plan. We have a new plan for Sierra Leone like water supply for local communities and we will look into the future of children in the country as we look into the school feeding programme. We will continue to work with the government and other development partners,” he promised.
Mayor of the Freetown the Freetown City Council, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, thanked CRS for their support over the past years and noted that partnership for the council is the only way that development can be delivered successfully.
She said CRS has helped them transform Freetown in terms of roads, good drinking water, sanitation of the municipality and other areas that are part of their strategic plan for the next five years.
She continued that CRS is working with the private sector to make sure that they transform Freetown through their specific targets and that they are playing that role to demonstrate their good work.
She added that with support from EU, they would together with CRS upgrade the slum communities.
She said CRS should make sure that the 2030 strategic plan be a passion for the people and the nation as a whole.
He noted that CRS should ensure that they did not limit their energy to the launch of the document, but make sure they put it in action that would have a greater impact in the lives of the people.
She noted that passion, alignment and responsiveness are the three attributes which make her felt passionate as a Sierra Leonean to partner with CRS, and that those attributes will feature FCC and CRS to transform Freetown.
“I will encourage CRS to continue to be an organisation that will not just produce document, but to be delivering services and change the lives of those who they seek to serve with passion and responsiveness. I wish CRS fruitfulness and I want to thank them for their continuous support,” she said.
Whilst launching the 2030 strategic plan, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr Francis Mustapha Kaikai,thanked CRS for coming up with a strategic plan “because any organisation that drafts a strategic plan is a serious organisation.
He disclosed that government has a medium-term national development plan that runs from 2019 to 2023, adding that the vision 2030 strategic plan of CRS was aligned with the country’s plan as well as with the Sustainable Development Goals.
He continued that the four areas which CRS chose are part of the national development plan, adding that the first three areas chosen by CRS are the President’s flagship programme.
“I am happy to launch the strategic plan because it will help the government and the people of Sierra Leone to realise the objective of development. The ministry has worked very well with CRS to come up with a develop cooperation framework and a policy for Non-Governmental Organisations,” he said.
He concluded that over the past years, President Bio has been working on service delivery and that Sierra Leoneans should focus on development.