Sierra Leone is growing into a vibrant democratic society, increasing its stature as a key player in international peace-keeping operations. However, a lack of depth in transparent and participatory governance and the rule of law, and the negative impact of corruption and unclear roles and responsibilities in local governance remain key impediments to rebuilding democracy. In response to these challenges, USAID advances participatory and effective local governance, and promote inclusive, credible and peaceful national and local elections.
USAID’s governance program focuses on broadening political participation, advancing citizens’ knowledge on key issues and strengthening the capacity of local government officials to deliver social services. We are assisting local governments in four out of 19 Local Councils to become more effective, transparent, accountable, and responsive to the needs of citizens – especially in agriculture and natural resources management. USAID has trained local officials and traditional leaders in resource mobilization and financial management.
Civil society organizations are also trained and equipped to advocate for improved governance and better service delivery by demanding effective, transparent and accountable leadership. Producer, business and forest co-management associations are also benefitting from training in organizational management and advocacy skills to make their organizations more transparent and viable. Under the governance program, USAID also facilitates local ownership and joint community and government control of two forest reserves.
Support to electoral processes in Sierra Leone builds the capacity of election management bodies, political parties and civil society and increase the participation of women, youth and people with disabilities. Potential women candidates are being trained to improve their campaign and fund-raising skills. A Women’s Memorandum and a pledge by political parties to ensure non-violent and transparent elections were sponsored with USAID funding. We are also supporting an international elections observation mission for the 2012 elections. In addition, an elections security program is improving understanding of the role of the police before, during and after elections through civic education and musical concerts targeting the youths through a non-violence agenda.
Last updated: May 10, 2013