On March 7, Sierra Leoneans went to the polls to elect their president, parliamentary and regional representatives, and district councils. Acting on behalf of the citizens, the newly elected members of the parliament will play a key role in passing legislation, determining to spend, and shaping government policy. The legislature will also provide a check on executive and judicial authority. While the central role of a parliament is obvious in a democracy, in Sierra Leone, citizens have limited knowledge about parliament’s role. Citizens are neither aware of the parliament’s interaction with the executive branch nor of the ways they can influence decisions made in their name. In addition, members of parliament are not accustomed to engaging with their constituents when formulating policies or legislation.
The Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) through National Endowment for Democracy (NED) support will educate citizens on the role of parliament and strengthen communication and consultation between members of parliament and their constituents. Through these interventions, it seeks to enhance political participation, promote accountability, and improve public service delivery. To foster citizen capacity to engage their parliamentarians and advocate for the implementation of critical reforms, CGG hosts a series of governance and advocacy workshops. It will also work to equip groups of marginalized citizens, including women and youth, with the advocacy skills needed to engage with lawmakers on policies pertaining to women and children’s rights. A three-day workshop will bring together 40 participants to improve their advocacy skills. To reach a broader audience, CGG will train 30 volunteers to promote community civic education on good governance and accountability. The modules will focus on good governance, rule of law, and civic education.
CGG will also host five TV discussion programs to foster public understanding on parliamentary proceedings. CGG will organize a series of community meetings, bringing together 80 participants to engage in a broad range of citizens’ expectations and listen to constituents’ viewpoints. In addition, CGG will engage in a public education campaign focused on critical bills presented to the parliament or proposed by the representatives themselves. It will host three workshops, providing a forum for citizens to share their perspectives on identified bills. To complement the workshops, CGG will also produce an interactive radio talk show series to inform citizens on key public policy issues discussed by the representatives. Parliamentarians will serve as panelists and address constituent comments via phone calls. To maintain citizen’s engagement with elected officials, CGG will organize regular press briefings on select parliamentary committees’ meetings and decisions.
To improve the supply side of legislative accountability, CGG will work with parliamentarians on constituent relations. NED is supporting CGG with Thirty-one Thousand Dollars to undertake this projects and it will be transferred in installments.