Twenty years of operations as a Non Governmental Organization (NGO), Action Aid Sierra Leone (AAISL) yesterday set the pace by launching the first transparency board at the organization’s Lumley office.
Speaking at the programme Action Aid’s country director Tennyson Williams said just 20 years in existence they had ventured into areas where other organizations dared not.
He added that within 20 years, a lot of individuals had come and gone and lot of things did happen and that “this is as a result of the global dynamics.”
Mr Williams added that his organization was one run by Sierra Leoneans themselves because their international donors had bestowed so much confidence in them. Mr Williams further stated that governance should be their priority “because with this, we will be able to address food security, education, and work”.
On the issue of the transparency board, the country director said sierra Leoneans had limited access to information, and that that was why they took the first initiative to get the transparency board.
“Though the board is going to be risky, we have calculated the consequences and have got experience from other countries that have started it a long time ago,” he stated.
“It will be unique here but not in other parts of the world because this has been practiced in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and other countries . We will be a force to reckon with if we have the compliment and effort of the people”, Mr Williams said.
Adding that, “on the board we will display our budget, how we get funding and how we implement our projects. This transparency board is going to bring enormous challenge to other NGOs.”
The Action Aid country director disclosed at the programme that they were now associated of Action Aid International which was a very important milestone as this meant that Sierra Leoneans would now have a greater saying in what was happening.
In launching the transparency board, Sholla Davies of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) said there could be no greater initiative taken by NGOs like this. He stated that, “there is no justification for depriving the people you serve information. So I am urging other NGOs and INGOs to follow this bold step undertaken by action aid.”
Sierra Leone, he maintained, was in the crossroads of development decadence “one only hope is to fight against corruption of all kinds and one way is to be transparent. And this has been implemented by Action Aid.”
Mr Davies revealed that most NGOs got funding but that most of it went to administrative running and that it was the government that was mostly criticized leaving behind these NGOs.
In rooting out corruption, he went on, transparency and accountability was very important. He ended that the ACC would support any initiative by Civil Society to have the freedom of information bill passed in parliament as this would foster transparency in the country.
By Betty Milton