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DADA-SL Capacitates Participants To Monitor State Funds

DADA-SL Capacitates Participants To Monitor State Funds

Development and Democracy Associate-Sierra Leone (DADA-SL) on 9th June 2014 organized a day’s capacity-building workshop for various stakeholders including Ward Development and Budget Oversight Committee members and Non-State Actors (NSAs) in Kambia District to monitor how funds disbursed by the central Government to Local Councils are utilized.   (Photo: Cross section of participants at the workshop)

Furthermore, participants were trained on the use of public funds and monitoring of projects at community level for effective service delivery for which the facilitator, Abu Bakarr Kamara of the  Budget Advocacy Network, underscored that transparency and accountability are key to Government’s revenue generation drive, good governance, builds and promotes confidence and understanding and fast-tracks development.

Abu Bakarr Kamara further articulated that the absence of transparency can lead to suspicion and highlighted the five key features of a budget affirming that participants, who spoke in their local languages like Limba, Susu and Temne, should monitor projects to ensure efficiency and value for money.

The workshop, held at the Kambia District Council Resource Center in Kambia Town, saw the about 30 participants drawn from nine towns in three Chiefdoms in the District, actively participating in the process.

Funds expended by the central Government to Local Councils are used as fee subsidies for education, in agriculture, health and road construction but participants lamented that Councils do not account to the people.

The highly-participatory workshop saw participants raising concern over some white elephant projects in the District including the Resource Center where the workshop was held, the town market and the Agricultural Business Centers (ABCs) among others as they demanded accountability from the duty bearers and quality service.

Concerns were also raised over the late distribution of agricultural seedlings to farmers, that some of the seedlings are of poor quality and that the same farmers have been supplied with the seedlings for the past years instead of rotating the supply for other farmers to benefit.

Participants also called on the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to reveal the source and amount it has received for the construction of two-room offices for 21 Councilors in the District and the supply of bicycles to members of the Ward Development Committee and also called for increased accountability from Local Councils.

According to some of the participants, the offices to be constructed by IFAD would include a conference room.

The facilitator, head of Budget Advocacy Network, Abu Bakarr Kamara dilated on various topics including Accountability and Transparency, Mapping of Key Development Projects in Kambia District, Development of Monitoring Tools for Participants and How to Source Information to Monitor.

Also, participants commended DADA-SL for being transparent, expressed appreciation to the organization for the training that has empowered them to hold their leaders accountable and appealed to heads of schools to encourage the cultivation of school gardens to inspire pupils to embark on farming that is the backbone of the District and the country.

They also pointed out that some of the machines installed at the Agricultural Business Centers are non-functional and that the centers were not constructed in agriculture producing communities.

The Executive Director of DADA-SL, Mr. Foday Sesay warned participants against making false reports in their monitoring venture or witch-hunt people/organizations and appealed to the new agents of change to collaborate with chiefs and other stakeholders in their respective communities.

He further called on them to liaise with Local Councils, establish cordial relations with them reiterating the need for commitment and partnership and underscored the need for participants to own the process that would facilitate development in their respective communities.

According to Mr. Foday Sesay, the $44,000 6-month project is supported by the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Union through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

Highlight of the workshop was the group work discussion during which participants were grouped into various sectors like education, agriculture and health to formulate the monitoring tool that they would use in their different communities to monitor projects being implemented and funds allocated by Government to their communities.

At the end of the workshop, copies of the monitoring tools were distributed to participants, the first in the history of DADA-SL.

Prior to the workshop, a radio discussion program was organized at Radio Kolenteen during which listeners raised various issues on transparency and accountability in Councils.

A similar training was held in Port Loko District.

Kongbap Sumner

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