August 30, 2016 By Memunatu Bangura
Office of the Chief of Staff of State House, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), will today, 30 August, commence a two -day national conference on community engagement and convergence towards achieving the President’s Recovery Priorities.
Chief of Staff Saidu Conton-Sesay told newspmen yesterday the concept of community engagement was not new to Sierra Leoneans, considering the role it played during the fight against the dreadful Ebola virus in the country.
According to him, community engagement was one way to making sure there was community inclusion in governance, adding that government was interested in building trust in citizens through community engagement.
He stated that inasmuch as government wanted to take necessary steps to involve community in achieving the President’s Recovery Priority, community members should be supportive rather than being destructive, urging them to strengthen community engagement with government.
He added that community engagement was a way of ensuring effective governance, adding that if there was a system that delivers services to community where the voices of people are not heeded, their ideas were not taken into consideration, there was bound to be difficulties in delivery such services.
UNICEF representative Geoff Wiffin said the purpose of the conference was to discuss experiences from the Ebola crisis and how communities contributed toward eradicating the virus.
Wiffin said community members must be placed at the centre of decisions that would affect them, adding that traditional authorities at local level must play a positive role to move their communities forward, plus communities should continue to play positive role in developing their respective areas.