Delegation of the European Union to Sierra Leone

Statement by EU Ambassador Tom Vens on the occasion of the Launch of the EU Funded Projects - 15 October 2020

Brussels, 19/10/2020 - 13:44, UNIQUE ID: 201019_7
Speeches of the Ambassador

Empowered Kambia District Council for efficient service delivery to the citizens” (KDC 2.5 million EUR) “Empowered Kambia Civil Society, Women and Youth influence agricultural production and sustainable income development” (KADDRO 993,061 EUR) “Action for inclusive social and economic Service Delivery in Kambia District” (ActionAid 1,229,161EUR)

Honourable (Deputy) Minister of Local Government and Rural Development;

Honourable Minister of Finance;

Honourable Minister of Development and Economic Planning;

Resident Minister for North West;

Honourable Members of Parliament;

Esteemed Chairman and councillors, Chief Administrator and council staff of Kambia District Council;

Revered Paramount Chiefs and other Gov. Officials present,

Youth and Women representatives;

Representatives of civil society and community based organisations;

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen;

I am delighted to join you here today in this “Gateway District” of Kambia. I am told that this is not just a place where Sierra Leone shares the best of its products with neighbouring countries, but Kambia is also renowned for its vivacious diversity, where different ethnic groups coexist in peace and development.

Honourable Ministers, Ladies and gentlemen, today is a day of fulfilment for the European Union Delegation in Freetown as we launch the grant contracts signed with the Kambia District Council and two Civil Society Organisations namely KADDRO and Action Aid, funded by the 11th EDF for a total amount of 4.5 million EUR.

The EU is pleased to have associated itself with the process of strengthening decentralisation in this Country through the 11th EDF Programme which title: Support to Civil Society and Local Authorities for Local Development in Sierra Leone. This programme makes available globally 25 million euros grant supporting six local councils and various civil society organisations in Sierra Leone.

The success of local development, lays with people-centered solutions, social accountability and strong partnership between CSOs and Local Authorities.

The Medium Term National Development Plan 2019-2023 recognizes that “the cornerstone for ensuring inclusivity in the governance system at all levels is empowering local governments and implementing a decentralized approach to efficient service delivery”.

To contribute to development challenges of partner Countries, the European Commission committed in 2013 to promote globally what we call “a territorial approach to local development”. In its Communication “Empowering Local Authorities for enhanced governance and more effective development outcomes” the EU recognised Local Authorities’ central role in development and  committed to strengthening their human, technical and financial capacity worldwide.

Kambia District Council and Civil Society Organisations’ grants are all aimed at implementing the District Development Plan’s priorities and improving service delivery to the citizens in sector such as food security and agriculture, green energy, WASH and social development.

Let me mention some concrete activities contained in the Kambia District Council grant:

  • Training of rice farmers in good agronomic practices and rehabilitation of feeder roads in order to link farmers and traders to markets;
  • Provision of potable water to the people of the district through construction of boreholes;
  • Construction of Lockable Market Stalls with WASH facilities to be used by farmers and traders;
  • Fabrication of boats linking about 39 communities to markets and other facilities in the district.
  • Construction of bridges and culverts in strategic areas.

These are among many other activities which I am excited about, not only because of the prospect of economic and social development but also because devolution become a reality when the Local Authorities are able to provide useful services for the citizens.

Kambia District Council’s and citizens must be excited realizing that their District Development Plan is finally becoming a lively document, not just a dated paper.

However, the EU is very much aware that the needs of Kambia district will not be addressed by a single project and that is why we see our grants as catalytic. They are aimed at building the necessary capacity and making the right investments that can unleash both the socio-economic potentials and participation opportunities for every citizen.

When the cadastral system would have been established under this grant, it will provide the foundation for increased revenue for the council. More revenue means that the Kambia District Council will be able to deliver on social services and expand livelihood opportunities.

I have been informed by our Project Management Unit, that not only is Kambia District Council showing the determination to implement this project, but they are willing to think outside the box on the long-term opportunities to grow the potentials of this district. Smart innovative public private partnership (PPP) will be developed to unleash the potential of the District.

I would like to praise in particular Kambia DC for the effort already deployed during this first quarter of Project implementation, especially aimed at containing COVID 19 pandemic in the District, through community sensitisation, dignified quarantine, isolation and treatment centres, monitoring border posts and improving hygiene in markets and WASH facilities.

I take note that the actions you have proposed encompass a multi-sectoral approach in alignment with the Mid Term National Development Plan (MTNDP), National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan (NPRP) and the Quick Action Economic Response Plan (QAERP). 

Ladies and gentlemen, I am especially pleased to note that Kambia stakeholders have decided to have a joint launch of both the civil society and Kambia District Council projects. This is a laudable example that demonstrates the heights of collaboration and cooperation between the various development stakeholders in the district. The need for transparency and mutual accountability cannot be overemphasized as it is a key factor of success in sustainable development.

Honourable Ministers and Ladies and gentlemen, it is important to emphasise that decentralisation is the bedrock of any democratic system. When local people plan their affairs and have the power to determine how to develop their communities, development not only happens, but it is owned, preserved and sustained. Local effort toward development are incremental to national development efforts and contribute to the welfare and social cohesion of the entire Nation.

That is why today, I am eager to call on the entire population of Kambia especially civil society organisations, youth groups, paramount chiefs, members of parliament, women’s groups and others, to make it your business to support the implementation of these activities outlined in these grant contracts. It will serve your interest to work with the council and the civil society to not just monitor implementation but provide the necessary participation to ensure that these projects are successfully implemented.

The EU would like to thank the Government for the unwavering commitment to strengthening decentralisation in furtherance of its development strategy. I must especially thank Hon. Minister Lamina and Minister Kaikai for your untiring efforts in pushing devolution and local development.

Let me conclude by stating that the EU remains committed and available to support the Government of Sierra Leone in strengthening decentralisation. We strongly believe that local socio-economic development would thrive through meaningful devolution.

I thank you for your attention.

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