Sierra Leone

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Sierra Leone

Introduction
WFD has been working to strengthen democracy in Sierra Leone since 2001. WFD programmes support the Parliament of Sierra Leone in its efforts to become a more open and accessible institution for all citizens. This has ushered the Parliament of Sierra Leone as a key player in the global open government space for openness and transparency. WFD has also supported many institutional strengthening and capacity building programmes of the parliament. Overtime, WFD has supported the establishment of a vibrant research department, build the capacity of its Hansards, broadened the space for south-south learnings, and parliamentary regional integrations among Members of Parliament. WFD programmes also promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in electoral and political processes in Sierra Leone. During the COVID-19 era, WFD supported evidenced based programming on gender inclusion and coordination.

Our programmes

Grant-in-Aid (GIA) programme (April 2022 – March 2023)

Background

In recent times, the Parliament of Sierra Leone has increased its commitment to openness and public inclusion into its affairs. The institution is doing this through its annual Parliamentary Open Day, the development of a user-friendly website, the Parliament app, launch of its first service charter, and several other initiatives. 

However, citizens engagement into the work of parliament remains to be a challenge. There is a huge gap between members of parliament (MPs) and their constituents in terms of consultation and political participation. Citizen's opinions in parliamentary discussions are mostly overlooked, with civil society organisations (CSOs) efforts to bridge the gap between parliament and citizens hindered by tense political rivalry between parties. Despite this problem, there is a vast opportunity to improve citizens inclusion and participation in parliament by reducing political conflicts and increasing CSOs engagement.  

Programme objectives

WFD is redoubling its technical support and facilitation work on de-escalation of political conflict, following the violence and loss of control of an emergency parliamentary session in April 2022. The need for all partners to re-commit to the principles of the Bo Declaration is particularly pressing, and WFD has been requested by political parties in parliament (on all sides) to help lead this process. This is a strong example of WFD’s transformational and inclusive approach to fragile and conflict-affected states/areas. 

This programme is also focusing on building on the success of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Sierra Leone. To do this, we are providing technical support to the Parliament of Sierra Leone Staff, OGP steering committee partners, MPs, and citizens through civil society partners. In advancing gender inclusion, WFD focus is extended to promoting women aspiring for political and elected positions in the coming elections because of the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Act, 2022.

Completed programmes

Improving accountability and gender sensitivity of COVID-19 response in Sierra Leone (July – November 2020)

As democratic representatives of the people, parliaments have the key responsibility of examining policies and their impact on citizens. In July 2020, WFD launched a project focused on supporting the Parliament of Sierra Leone by improving its access to crucial gender–sensitive data during the COVID-19 pandemic. This data helped inform MPs’ inputs in parliamentary debates, oversight, and law-making processes that focus on the effect of COVID-19 on vulnerable groups such as women and girls. This is in addition to holding the Government to account on its COVID-19 response. The project was funded by the British High Commission in Sierra Leone.

Status
Completed
10
Planned end date

Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy programme (2018 – 2020)

Parliaments and local governments are essential for effective, inclusive democratic governance. Through funding from the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D), WFD focused on advancing disability rights in Sierra Leone. The programme supported PWDs in the country in advancing disability issues in Parliament and local councils after the 2018 elections. It targeted the Sierra Leone Parliament to demonstrate leadership in taking concrete steps to raise awareness and integrate disability friendly policy within its operations. WFD also collaborated and supported disability coordination within the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs, the Freetown City Council, and the Sierra Leone Union on Disability Issues (SLUDI).

Status
Completed
10

More completed programmes

Inclusive and Accountable Politics (November 2018 to March 2022)

In 2019, the Sierra Leone Parliament adopted and launched the Bo Declaration – a commitment by Members of Parliament (MPs) to promote consensus building (a smooth, effective, and efficient running legislature). This enables the different MPs in Parliament to work together irrespective of political affiliation, promoting genuine and sincere consultations, respecting parliamentary procedures, depoliticising the administration of the parliament, and engaging broadly with political parties and other stakeholders on parliamentary decision-making processes.

The Sierra Leone Parliament is also committed to becoming a more open and transparent institution to all citizens. The open parliament commitment was part of the eight commitments of Sierra Leone’s third National Action Plan (NAP III) under the Open Government Partnership (OGP). 

To support the Parliament of Sierra Leone in smoothly and efficiently performing its functions, WFD is leading the facilitation process of the re-commitment to the principles of the Bo Declaration. The FCDO–funded Inclusive and Accountable Politics (IAP) programme helped rebuild commitment for positive and non-combative parliamentary processes and party dialogue. The IAP programme also focused on building on the success of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). To do this, WFD provided technical support to the Parliament of Sierra Leone Staff, OGP Steering Committee Partners, MPs, and Citizens through civil society organisations (CSOs) partners.

Key results

First National Agenda for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the electoral and political process launched involving community groups, political parties, and institutions.

Parliament of Sierra Leone makes first breakthrough in creating a platform for citizens to interact with the Parliament using technology (Parliament of Sierra Leone App)

Stronger disability coordination mechanisms in three institutions (Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender & Children Affairs, Freetown City Council, and SLUDI.)

WFD has been recognised to serve as a National Steering Committee Member in open government partnership (OGP) in Sierra Leone

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Supported the Parliament of Sierra Leone in establishing its first service charter that increases citizens involvement in its work

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First consensus building framework for political parties’ involvement (Bo Declaration) launched and tabled in parliament for the inclusion of MPs in decision making irrespective of their political affiliations

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WFD supported Parliament Open Day where both the Speaker and Clerk of Parliament presented their annual report (performance and financial) to citizens

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WFD hosted the first OGP hybrid summit that brought together legislations to share best practices and corporation on openness and transparency

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Contact us

A man posing
Alusine Diamond-Suma (Rev), Country Director

Address: Parliament Building OAU Drive, Tower Hill
Freetown
Sierra Leone