Moyamba District Council commissions new socio-economic projects

04 Feb 2013

image REPRESENTATIVES OF MOYAMBA MARKET WOMEN's ASSOCIATION (UNDP/B. Dauda)

The newly appointed Minister of Local Government and Rural development (MLGRD), Hon Mrs. Diana Konomanyi has commissioned a rural market and a Community Resource Centre for youth in the Sembehun and Moyamba towns, Southern Sierra Leone last week as part of the UNDP/UNCDF funded Local Government Economic Development Joint Programme (LGED-JP).

Hon Mrs. Konomanyi told hundreds of people who gathered to witness the commissioning of the projects that: “The LED investments will unleash the potentials of important sectors and trigger increased interest from other partners. The engagement of the private sector, which is the driver of inclusive growth as understood by the Government, is the key to the sustainability of the investments and also a way of leveraging more resources and attracting more investors”

The rural market in Sembehun Town, Bangruwa Chiefdom comprises 20 open stands and 10 lockable stores to ensure improved security for the market women, safety of their goods and enhance local economic development.

The Chairlady of the Market Women Association, Fatu Mansaray said “This market will help me a lot….before now I had to leave my home very early in the morning with my children, carrying my goods on my head and at sunset I also had to carry the unsold goods back home. With this market and stores, I can now move easily to and from the market and my children will spend more time on their studies at school as they don’t have to help me carry some of the goods anymore. We the market women in Sembehun, are happy for this.”

The Community Resource Centre at the Moyamba Town, the biggest town in Moyamba District, comprises ICT services and vocational and computer training facility for youths. The ICT department in the centre is the first of its kind in the district and offers access to Internet as well as photocopy and computerized secretariat services to the Moyamba public.

Chairman of the Moyamba District Council, Professor Bob Kandeh said “It is expected that for the first batch, 50 young girls and boys will benefit directly from the training and through replication, around 200 beneficiaries will be reached.”

Professor Kandeh added, “Consistent with the Local Economic Development (LED) philosophy, the two facilities will be run as private businesses. The Moyamba District Council has entered into a public-private partnership arrangement with private sector groups accordingly. The private managers will pay rental fees and local taxes to the council while recruiting, managing the staff and maintaining the facility. Fees and taxes will be re-invested in service delivery and economic support to the community. This is a business and the community and private sector should be prepared to ensure the sustainability of these facilities.”

Chief Administrator, Moyamba District Council, Mrs. Vivian Sally Senesie said “the LED approach has changed our understanding of local development from planning and budgeting, the design of local infrastructures to the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development activities with gender lens at all stages.”

Programme Manager, Charles Mback explained that the completion of the LED investment projects in Moyamba is the result of UNCDF/UNDP support to local councils in Sierra Leone to improve their financial management, planning and budgeting systems and processes by mainstreaming local economic development (LED) initiatives in partnership with the private sector.

He said “Through the LED approach, local councils engage with the private sector to add value to key productive factors in the localities and provide income generating and employment opportunities to the communities with specific attention to women and other marginalized groups. In July 2012, the Government of Sierra Leone launched the LED approach as a national initiative to ensure decentralization addresses the economic needs of the poor.”

The commissioning of the Moyamba District Council LED investment is only the first on a series which will be followed by similar initiatives under completion in Kenema City Council, Kenema District Council and Tonkolili District Council.