... as its officials jet in from UCLGA's workshop in Ghana
Officials of the Local Councils Association of Sierra Leone (LoCASL), have last Saturday, 26th April, 2019, jetted in Sierra Leone from the United Cities of Local Government in Africa (UCLGA) workshop in Ghana.
Speaking in a press conference organised by LoCASL at its Wellington Street office in Freetown, on Tuesday, 30th April, 2019, LoCASL's Executive Secretary, Sahr Moigua, said seven countries including Sierra Leone, participated in a three-day workshop in Ghana.
He said the workshop was involved raining-of-trainers and those local council staff were schooled about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The LoCASL's Executive Secretary said UCLGA is the voice of local, regional governments including local councils, adding that UCLGA has its headquarters in Rabat, Morocco
"The training in Ghana was very successful because development plans of local councils were also taught. The government of Sierra Leone has made reasonable effort to actualise the SDGs. As an advocacy and lobbying body for local councils, LoCASL is advocating for gender, education, and we have seen the national cleaning exercise to improve health. These are all included in the SDGs," he said.
According to him, Ghanaians were only now electing mayors for their municipal councils, noting that previously, their mayors were appointed not elected.
He said Sierra Leone has been regarded as an example because her people have started electing mayors since the re-introduction of the local councils in 2004.
As the only umbrella body organisation for local councils, he said LoCASL has been advocating for the welfare and conditions of service of the interest of local councils.
He said LoCASL is ready to always support government's agenda, noting that the inter-ministerial council established by the 'New Direction' administration, headed by Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jaslloh, was timely.
The LoCASL Executive Secretary said there was a challenge to devolve functions to local councils but this current government has acted smartly to devolve new functions, and that will ensure that development reaches everyone in the country.
He disclosed that three new councils were created before the 2018 general elections, citing that these councils are in Port Loko city and Karene and Falaba districts respectively.
"We will have to engage the local council members so as to know which sections they may want to revise in the ongoing revision of the existing Local Government Act of 2004. I am very happy with such move. We will also have to engage the 22 local councils, civil society organisations, and community stakeholders on the SDGs," he said.
He urged people not to always cry down the work of the local councils but to give corrective measures as well.
Mabinty Kamara, LoCASL's Project Officer, said LoCASL was set up in 2011 as an advocacy and lobbying body for the welfare of local councils, adding that they have been advocating for women's representation in the councils and since they have embarked on such, much has been achieved in that regard.
"Capacity building of local councils is good and we want to ensure that everyone knows what to do in order to improve on service delivery at the local level. Since we have received funds from the European Union, we have organised three major activities including the review of a strategic plan in Kambia," she said.
She said LoCASL will, on 14th May, 2019, engaged stakeholders on the areas they want to be reviewed in the Local Government Act of 2004.
Raymond Abu, LoCASL's head of Administration and Finance, said they received a sum of 370,000 Euros from the European Union for 24 months to build the capacity of LoCASL, adding that they are now in the fifth month of the implementation of such project.
"We have acquired fixed assets including furniture, three bikes, pick up vehicles, among others," he said.