Sylvia Kalley a Sierra Leonean pursuing her Masters degree in development communication at American University in Washington D.C., USA presently doing her internship with SLANGO has been meeting with stakeholders to discuss the effectiveness of donor aid in Sierra Leone.
Stakeholders meetings were held in Koidu, Kenema, Bo and Makeni in early July and were organized by the Development Association Coordination Office (DACO) in collaboration with SLANGO with sponsorship from UNIPSIL. Sylvia Kalley has stated that donor aid to developing countries such as Sierra Leone is not an effective way of improving the living standards of people in poor countries.
She said that the purpose of the meeting was for stakeholders to discuss the effectiveness of donor aid in Sierra Leone. The main issue that came out of all the meetings was that people in these areas have not been receiving the desired benefits of donor aids to these areas. After those meetings, she was convinced that donor aids coming into the country are not properly managed.
The SLANGO intern highlighted the following issues as recommendations that came out of the meeting with stakeholders in the provinces for the effective utilization of donor aid in the country.
The first thing that should be done is to have a proper community needs assessment to identify the short term and long term needs of the people.
Secondly, community participation must be encouraged in the planning process of all projects that are meant for the community.
The other issue that needs serious and prompt intervention is capacity building of Sierra Leoneans to reduce the number of expatriates.
She added that the money spent by donors and the government to hire the services of expatriates is too much. At the end of these projects, 50 to 60 percent of the money would have been used to pay these experts and very little will be realized by the beneficiaries.
“It is, therefore, necessary to diminish donor aid and concentrate on building the capacity of our people to enable them to be the architect and masters of their own development,” she said.
By William Freeman