Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Maya Kai Kai, has pledged to strengthen government's commitment to decentralisation at the grassroots level in Sierra Leone.
He was speaking yesterday while officially launching Phase One of the Development and Roll-out of the 'Wan Fambul National Framework for Inclusive Government and Local Development' and the steering and Joint Technical Committees at Radission Blu Hotel, Aberdeen.
The launch was done by Fambul Tok International in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
According to Minister Kaikai, government attaches tremendous importance to the issue of inclusion and decentralised governance, adding that Sierra Leone can now boast of implemented decentralised programmes that are supported by the need to open up the political space in order to take development to the doorsteps of local people.
"I am extremely delighted to deliver this address especially at a time when my ministry is figuring out reforms to strengthen and deepen the ongoing decentralisation process and to also revitalise the rural and community development component of the work of my ministry," he said.
Kaikai said the launch was testimony of government's determination to further deepen the decentralisation process, adding that government has been working in partnership with Fambul Tok International and Catalyst for Peace on an initiative to develop a national policy framework through a highly consultative process for a people and community-led planning process that is supported by an inclusive governance process and infrastructure.
He revealed that he has constituted the Steering Committee and Joint Technical Committee to ensure that government's effort and partners effectively develop and roll out 'Wan Fambul National Framework for Inclusive Government and Local Development'.
He further explained that government would keep the process apolitical because the initiative should be welcomed by well-meaning government and people owned, adding that such was the only way to deepen decentralisation reform, sustain peace, guide the development agenda and ensure effective consolidation and deployment of limited resources.
Director of Decentralisation, Alhassan Joseph Kanu, who served as chairman, stated that the launch of the Joint Technical Committees would present a unique opportunity to support an in-depth, proven community mobilisation process across the country in a way that would also strengthen inclusive governance structures in all districts.
Kanu said the launch was a giant step towards demonstrating the seriousness that government attaches to the process.
While introducing members of the Joint Technical Committee, he said their responsibilities would include driving the consultative process, receiving feedbacks, process and respond appropriately and providing oversight to national and international technical advises, among other responsibilities.
Executive Director of Fambul Tok International, John Caulker, said the journey to 'Wan Fambul National Framework for Inclusive Governance and Local Development in Sierra Leone started ten years ago and that his organisation has been working to foster peace in communities over the years.
In a power point presentation, he stated that the journey has been piloted, tried and tested, adding that he was willing to pass over the baton to government.
According to him, Fambul Tok International has been working to fill the gap between communities and offenders after the war in Sierra Leone and to amplify the voices of people in deprived villages.
Caulker said Fambul Tok has conducted over 250 burn-fires in six districts with about 4,000 villagers to bring peace and unity in their communities.