Sierra Leone—Support to Civil Society and Local Authorities for Local Development

Client: European Union

Duration: 2018-2022

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Sierra Leone

Solutions: Governance

Strengthening governance is key to achieve long-term internal peace, economic and social development in Sierra Leone. The decentralization process in the country aims at improving the capacity of local governance structures to deliver appropriate services to local communities. The Local Government Act 2004 (amended in 2017) provides the legal framework that guides this decentralization. Despite significant milestone achievements in the devolution of functions, fiscal autonomy, and service delivery, several challenges persist. This is in part due to the absence of a dedicated policy that can translate increasing political commitment to more meaningful powers for local councils.

Our technical assistance supports fostering decentralization by empowering local authorities as well as local and rural civil society organisations in selected districts to plan and implement jointly agreed initiatives of service delivery, or capital investment that respond to the needs of communities. It aims to facilitate a joint decision-making process, where civil society, women, and youth contribute to public policymaking and service provision. The assistance also supports relevant institutions at the central level of government in building inclusive and participative reform processes.

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Sample Activities

  • Liaise with and provide support to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and the Local Government Service Commission on issues relating to strengthening decentralization and addressing shortcomings in the devolution of services.
  • Provide technical assistance including capacity building to the six pilot councils of Bombali, Falaba, Kambia, Karene, Kenema and Pujehun Districts to enhance the effective implementation of their grant contract.
  • Collaborate with the Local Councils Association of Sierra Leone to promote women in local leadership positions and to strengthen their capacity for project implementation as well as to implement their existing plans.
  • Provide long-term senior expertise at the central level to lead the methodological design, implementation, and coordination of assistance in the districts, and to provide secretariat and technical support to the Steering Committee.
  • Undertake studies, advocacy initiatives, and policy dialogue in support of harmonized legal, policy, and institutional frameworks related to decentralization.

Select Results

  • Developed a strategy for strengthening the review processes for the decentralization policy and the Local Government Act.
  • Developed draft capacity needs assessment and a draft capacity-building strategy that were validated by the councils to ensure ownership, adoption, and implementation.
  • Developed a robust monitoring and evaluation capacity development action plan to be implemented and monitored at national and council levels using clearly defined implementation monitoring matrix.
  • Supported districts to plan and integrate COVID-19 activities into their grant applications.
  • Supported the strengthening of administrative systems to enhance the smooth operations of the councils.
  • Supported the strengthening of local accountability structures to promote transparency, inclusivity, and accountability in the governance of the councils.
  • Supported the implementation and coordination of COVID-19 prevention and response mechanisms.
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