November 1, 2021
By Kweku Nelson
As a way of upholding democratic tenets, the Government of Sierra Leone and Civil Society Organizations on 29 October held the 2nd Government and Civil Society Organization Dialogue Series with the theme ‘‘Decentralization for Effective Service Delivery”.
Making a statement at the opening ceremony of the Dialogue series, Vice President Juldeh Jalloh acknowledged that the theme for the second dialogue ‘‘decentralization for effective service delivery” was very important because government has invested into areas such as education, health, agriculture and water supply, and as such there was a need for CSOs to play key role in service delivery, to help government understand the intricacies affecting effective service delivering.
The Vice President said that government’s responsibility is to respond to citizen’s expectations, so he stressed the need for stronger government- civil society partnership because the assessments of civil society can help strengthen social structures and influence policy making processes.
He said, ”We are breaking new grounds in governance because we believe that solid commitment must be made to strengthen democracy and promote good governance practices. What we will continue to do is to build a democratic society that is capable of delivering development to its people.”
Executive Director Action Aid, Foday Bassie Swaray, said the dialogue series, which was first held in 2020, was initiated as a way to create a space where in government and civil society can engage to harness constructive discussions that could strengthen good governance practices.
He identified the progress of government, noting that the lack of wash facilities in schools, late subvention of school fees, late disbursement of funds from the central government to local councils, lack of collaboration among local councils and limited access to agriculture inputs are among the issues that must be considered for decentralization to effectively transform government efforts into effective service delivery.
After the opening ceremony, the dialogue session immediately commenced. The dialogue session was like round table evaluation process in which government ministries from education, health, agriculture and water supply made and defended their presentations of their activities thus far.
The overall objective of it was to set and find pathways to decentralize the various functions of government to local councils which are integral in governance, with CSO monitoring to ensure proper service delivery.