March 3, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Executive Director for the independent civil society consortium, the Institute of Governance Reforms (IGR), Andrew Lavali, has been elected by over 50 civil society organizations in the country as chairman of the Sierra Leone chapter of the West Africa Civil Society group.
The Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD) recently conducted a survey on civil society structures, capacity and strength in the country and came out with a comprehensive report that most of the organizations are being managed as individual entities with little cohesion among its membership, thus the need for a reformed and credible civil society outfits to champion issues dealing with growth development and social needs of the people.
The election of Lavali is coming at a time when his institution, the IGR, had issued a strong position paper on the Sierra Leone Population and Housing Census 2015, which they claimed was inundated with a lot of inadequacies ranging from recruitment of district officers, qualifications of census staff, to management of resources, among others.
With his new position, Lavali and his new team have been mandated to re-organize civil society throughout Sierra Leone, establish regional chapters and convene a national conference to agree on an advocacy platform for the next two years.
“I am not new to civil society activism. I am the former Director of Policy for DFID’s civil society project for Sierra Leone (ENCISS), Country Manager for Westminster’s Parliamentary and Political Party Strengthening project in Sierra Leone, and was Adviser to the Access to Security and Justice Programme,” said Mr. Lavali. “In fact my organization, the IGR, is Sierra Leone’s leading public policy think tank that recently did a critical analysis on the credibility of the 2015 census in the country. Many observers are keen to see the reforms IGR will introduce on the CSO and policy landscape.”