From 12th to 15th August 2020, UNDP Monitoring Team observed a training of Chiefdom Development Committee (CDC) Members in Pujehun and Moyamba Districts Sierra Leone on UNDP and WFP jointly implemented two-year United Nations Peace Building Fund (PBF) funded project on Mitigating localized resource-based conflicts and increasing community resilience.
The formation of the CDC was to benefit community leaders, groups and other practitioners with relevant knowledge and skills for effective planning, participation in operations and management of community development funds and forge a path for community resilience—to foster the understanding of some of the key concepts used in community development in areas like community, development, mobilization, participation, empowerment, sustainability, social change, integrated development, culture, volunteerism and philanthropy which are important in the performance of their roles.
The intervention from the UNDP and WFP is timely considering the many challenges faced with around resource-based conflicts and planning and management of resources receiving from companies that are operating within our chiefdoms. We had series of disagreement, but with previous training session from Fambul Talk International, we are now hanging heads together with a consensus that suits every party comfort, says Saffa Monya Tamu, Paramount Chief &Chairman of the CDC, Makpele Chiefdom.
With support from the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Civil Society, the PBF Funded project was to contribute to the government of Sierra Leone’s efforts to mitigate local conflicts between communities, government and private companies by building the capacities and inclusivity of institutions and dialogue platforms that promote peaceful relations and supporting affected communities to establish sustainable agricultural and alternative livelihoods.
Fambul Tok International (FTI) , as indicated in the Responsible Party (RP) Agreement, facilitated the training sessions in both districts contributed to the realization of the project output and strengthening its mechanisms to increase transparency and accountability of the four Community Development Funds (CDF) Committees for effective operations and to provide a standard training tool that enhances the capacity of trainees for efficient and effective leadership, management and implementation of community development initiatives.
FTI developed a Training Manual that resonates around resource-based planning, resource management, budgeting and implementation of key projects coupled with a routinised presentation sessions of CDC members on how to build their capacities on project implementation, data collection, documentation and follow-up of related activities that are indispensable to the implementation of various projects earmarked within the chiefdoms.
During the training sessions, 50 participants from Moyamba District and 41 Pujehun District made meaningful contributions in contextualizing the various concepts that are crucial to their chiefdom’s development and the principles, approaches and features that are inherent in terms of building a healthy and unhealthy community. Similarly, evaluating their thoughts on community’s expectation with proceeds receiving from operating companies and the numerous challenges that warrant collective efforts in overhauling existing gaps that are linear to the development of their respective communities.
“With the Locally Recourse-Based Conflicts and Community Resilience approach, the CDC of Lower Banta has implemented a spotlight project by awarding scholarships to pupils in order to build their knowledge capacities that would benefit the chiefdoms in forthcoming years by securing higher positions in the various mining companies which over the years denying the possibility of chiefdom members securing higher positions’’ says Baby Kelafala, CDC Chair Lady &Women Leader, Lower Banter Chiefdom.
The Natural Habitat Company at Makpele that covers about 2000 hectares of land is paying 50,000,000 Leones to the Makpele chiefdom as royalties. The CDC, with money received for 2019, constructed three class rooms at Zimmi Roman Catholic School to reduce the burden the school initially had in accommodating 600 pupils that were attending the school.
The large- scale acquisition of land in Sierra Leone by private sector mining and oil palm companies has resulted in the significant loss of farming land for the local population who rely on agricultural production as their main source of income and livelihood which, however, has resulted to clashes in communities in Mitigating localized resource-based conflicts and increasing community resilience especially in the southern provinces that have been affected significantly.