World Bank Country Manager, Parminder Brar
The World Bank Group, through its agency, the International Development Association (IDA), and acting as administrator of funds under the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF), is providing a grant of two million, seven hundred and fifty thousand United States Dollars (US$2,750,000) to the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) to help strengthen social cohesion and reinforce the role of Local Councils in delivering public services, among others.
The grant will be used to facilitate the conduct of meetings, forums and health workshops; create platforms for citizens to discuss Local Council public services; and finance the projects that beneficiaries select through participatory budgeting. This will be done in Freetown City and Port Loko District. Meetings, forums and health talks will also be conducted in the Western Area Rural District and Bombali District. These are the four districts most affected by Ebola.
The objective of this grant program is to promote an integral approach toward strengthening social cohesion and resilience, reinforce the role of Local Councils in delivering public services, and empower communities to choose how resources are best allocated to serve their needs. The project also promotes social accountability and direct citizen engagement at a time of lower collective efficacy and mistrust over formal institutions after the Ebola epidemic. It also includes training for public officials on how to better respond to future emergency situations.
The World Bank's Joint Country Assistance Strategy notes that Sierra Leone "has taken important strides in distancing itself from the extremely fragile status of the war years, (but) these gains are yet to be consolidated."
"Reducing social stigma and ensuring that vulnerable groups are included in public deliberations is essential to guaranteeing social justice and prosperity in Sierra Leone," said Parminder Brar, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone.
The project reinforces the World Bank's US$26 million Decentralized Service Delivery Program (DSDP2), now in its second phase, by scaling up some of its mechanisms such as the Community Monitoring Intervention and social accountability, and introduces participatory budgeting as well as complementary activities designed to strengthen community mobilization and local council service delivery in the post-Ebola context.
The project also builds on the successes of the US$1.62 billion World Bank Ebola Emergency Response Plan, and is aligned to contribute to the strategic objectives of the GoSL's Agenda for Prosperity and Post-Ebola Recovery Strategy, especially in building community engagement to answer to the long-term development challenges of Sierra Leone.
The project will be officially launched in November 2017.