December 21, 2018
The government of Sierra Leone has received a grant from the Japanese government through the Japanese Social Development fund. JSDF Funds are meant to Strengthening Community Mobilization and Local Council Social Service Delivery in the Post-Ebola Sierra Leone. The Project context which is expected to aid the delivery of an immediate response to the post-EVD needs at the Local level in Sierra Leone and building community resilience through social mobilization and adequately service delivery from Local Councils, and promote participation, civic engagements, social inclusion and other social protection activities in most Post- Ebola affected Communities in Sierra Leone. Local Councils are viewed as good discussers with communities and their local knowledge can help them reach the most vulnerable population groups.
This project seeks to build trust and intra-communal cohesion where it has been compromised, increase social mobilization, and make local social services more responsive to citizen needs in the post=EVD environment.
The project will be undertaken in four (4) most affected districts by EVD judging by the total number of EVD laboratory- confirmed cases (these are; Western Area Urban District/Freetown, Port Look, Western Rural District, and Bombali District), which represent close to seventy percent (70%) of all EVD cases in the country.
A community monitoring intervention and participatory budgeting will be piloted in the two districts most affected by EVD, according to the total number of EVD laboratory-confirmed cases (these are western Urban District/Freetown and Port Loko District).
COMPONENTS OF THE PROJECT
Component one; – Local Council sensitization activities.
This component seeks to promote social cohesion and resilience through strengthening Local Council capacity and by implementing community- wide sensitization meetings, forums, and health talks diminishing the negative effect of Ebola on social trust and providing much needed support to the victims.
This component will be implemented in to four districts and will help improve long-term social sensitization and community resilience, support Local Councils and communities to better manager future risks and adversity beyond the EVD crisis. Social mobilization and community engagement by CSO’s are essential to reduce stigma towards individuals and households affected by EVD. Aversion behavior by those not infected impedes a wide spectrum of economic and social activities and contributes losses.
Component two; – Creating Social Mobilization Mechanisms that improves LC service delivery
Subcomponent A; Community Monitoring and Social Accountability
This component focuses on building community resilience in the two districts most affected by EVD by; creating social accountability and community monitoring mechanisms expected that 50,000 individuals will directly benefit from the project through participation in activities planned, 25,000 participants are expected to be reached through social sensitization interventions, 20,000 participants to take part in community monitoring activities , and the 5,000 individuals to engage in the participatory budgeting pilot.
Local participatory monitoring will be promoted through open training to communities in a range of skills related to communication, advocacy and conflict resolution. Training will be provided in the form of workshops organized by RTFS, LC M&E Officers and ESO Officers, and will priorities vulnerable groups.
Subcomponent B; Local Council Participatory Budgeting Planning
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is an innovation mechanism that aims to involve citizens in the decision making process of Local institutions by allocating resources to their preferred public sector activities. It is useful to align service delivery with the priorities of beneficiaries and can be instrumental in making the allocation of government resources more inclusive and equitable.
The PB Pilot in Sierra Leone will take place at the LC level, including all wards in the two district most affected by EVD outbreak (Freetown and Port Loko), and is expected to enhance social mobilization.
A PB sub-grant with a total value of US$250,000 will be allocated to each council, with selection of subprojects being determined by community participants.
Component three; Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation,
This component will support the project implementing agencies (DecSec and IPAU) to carry out the day to day activities of the project, including the requisite procurement, financial management, auditing, monitoring and evaluation, and knowledge management activities.
December 19, 2018
Revenue mobilization is intertwined with development and essential mandate of Local Councils. Development can only happen when Council are able to step up its revenue generation drive. Over the years, Council has realised little in revenues and in some instance the community are left under serviced. All of this backed by other challenges has left the tax payers to ponder on whether there is value for their monies and further display reluctance and defiance in adhering to tax obligation.
In a bid to overcome these huddles, the Port Loko District Council is set to mount an aggressive revenue drive for better and efficient service delivery. The Council has targeted over one billion leones as expected revenues for 2019, covering property rates, business licences, registrations, mining royalties and other sources.
As part of preparation for increased revenue generation, Council through the EU funded project has provided motor bikes to help capacitate the valuation departments and there are plans to conduct a revenue assessment across the district to help update the cadastre. Council has also manifested interest in either reviewing or termination of the existing contract with the Credit Recovery Agency for scaling up of payments of property rates precisely in Lungi and Lunsar. In addition, Council has establish a strong media team with community radio stations that will support the sensitization of the masses on the need to pay tax and also hold Councils accountable .
However, The Chief Adminstartor, Raman Tom Farmar who was responding to the revenue situation in Port Loko underscored the gains in 2017/2018 though not commensurate to the expected tax potential in the district. He said council was able to refurbish the Hall, and face lift the office through revenues collected for the year 2017/2018. He added that Council has provided funds jointly from grant and own source for the construction of a Multi-Purpose hall in Rogbere Junction, renovation of the SLMB Primary School, Tomb Bana, renovates the Peripheral Health Unit in Kansoghn and the DEC School in Mabanta. He said Council over five tricycles for Lungi and Marampa Community waste management.
Meanwhile CA Farmar has stated that Council will continue embarking on tangible projects which will build the confidence of tax payers in the district. He said moving forward Council will make sure that 60% of proceeds from the total revenues collected are send back to the people in the form of development while the 40% will be used for recurrent expenditures. He assured all that Council will be transparent and accountable for monies received. He concluded that the people, stakeholders and non state actors should all work concertedly to harness the badly needed revenues for the betterment of the district.