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2M Euros for development in Falaba & Karene districts

The European Union Ambassador to Sierra Leone has disclosed that a dedicated grant of 1 Million Euro each for Falaba and Karene Districts will be signed early next year (2021) with the district councils to strengthen effective service delivery and decentralized response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Ambassador Tom Vens was speaking on Thursday December 3, 2020 during a Project Steering Committee meeting of a Project titled: “Support to Civil Society and Local Authorities for Local Development in Sierra Leone hosted in the conference room of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.

“The Rider signed today, comes as a unique opportunity for the councils to prove their efficiency as local government and development actors to benefit the residents of their districts. It also extends the number of councils and civil society grantees to include those in Falaba and Karene,” Ambassador Tom Vens said and expressed hope that the grant will go a long way in mitigating the socio-economic impact of the COVID19 pandemic.

“It will support the delivery of public services entrusted to the councils, the implementation of critical priorities identified under the District Development Plan as well as the District Council’s effort to strengthen resources mobilisation, good governance and accountability,” he stated.

The Project is funded through an initial 23 million euro grant that has now been increased to 25 Million Euros from the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone. The five-year project aims to support the Government of Sierra Leone’s effort to deepen decentralization and promote local governance and economic development in Sierra Leone.

In his address, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kaikai noted the significance of the project cannot be overemphasized as it has heightened expectations at the local level.

“As we sit here, the expectations are extremely high and we are very excited that the EU has now become a key partner in our national development efforts. These efforts would not go in vain and I would like to assure the Ambassador and his delegation that nothing will be lost and much will be gained,” Dr. Kaikai emphasized.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Tamba Lamina, commended the leadership of the EU Ambassador to Sierra Leone, saying that his ministry understands the objective and purpose for the grants from the EU. He said his ministry was grateful for the addition of the two new districts; Falaba and Karene to the “most unique project that his Ministry is tasked to oversee”.

He also commended the leadership of the Project Management Unit (PMU), saying that it has been an inspiration for them to work with the experts in the PMU and are grateful for the invaluable support they have received from them.

The Project Steering Committee, which was established by the Financing Agreement signed in 2018 between the Government of Sierra Leone and the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone has a membership that includes the Director of Fiscal Decentralization Division (for the Minister of Finance), the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, the Governance Lead of the EU Delegation, the Chairman of the Public Service Commission, the Director of National Authorizing Office, and the Director of Decentralization Secretariat. It also incorporates the Team Lead of the Project Management Unit, the Governance Programme Manager EUD, the Governance and Social Development Team Lead, DFID, the chairpersons and chief administrators of the Karene, Pujehun, Bombali, Kambia, Falaba, and Kenema District Councils and the Chairman of LoCASL. It is the highest decision-making structure, which is tasked with reviewing progress made, discuss opportunities identified, and addressed the challenges encountered in the implementation of the project. This includes broader issues arising from the individual grant contracts of civil society organizations and District Council administrations in the four districts of Bombali, Kambia, Kenema and Pujehun, currently funded under the programme.

In the meeting, the decisions of the Project Steering Committee centered around strengthening implementation, improving coordination and synergy with other government priority programmes and facilitating improved understanding, and promoting dialogue among the various stakeholders.

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