October 20, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Head of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) in Sierra Leone has disclosed that the overarching goal of his organisation is to support transparency and accountability in the management of natural and public resources, to ensure equitable distribution of wealth and sustainable growth.
Joe Pemagbi was speaking at a one-day symposium organised by the Institute of Governance Reforms (IGR) in Freetown. He said OSIWA will continue to utilise more traditional methods to fight corruption, such as working through governments and within international frameworks to stand against impunity through the agency of citizens.
He added that, that was more reason they supported IGR to embark on a nationwide research on health, sanitation and water facilities in remote communities.
“We are prioritising the provision of targeted support to the creation and strengthening of citizens’ movements and credible opinion leaders to amplify demand for accountability,” said Mr. Pemagbi. “We want to promote partnerships between the media and civil society to improve the quality of information available for advocacy and engagement with government institutions. Special attention is being paid to using media and the arts to advance anti-corruption and anti-impunity messages.”
The OSIWA country boss further noted that accountability in service delivery will increase citizens’ participation in governance process and build community cohesion.
“These forums are legitimate through the Sierra Leone legal framework as provided for under the Local Government Act, as well as the recently passed Access to Information Law. We focus on district budget in health, water, sanitation and education,” he said.
OSIWA has been providing support to media and civil society organisations to create a well-informed citizenry and full participation by all.