Concern Worldwide an International Non Government Organization operating in Sierra Leone has organized a People’s Forum meeting that brought together members of six slum communities in Freetown, councilors from the Freetown Municipality and other local community leaders in a move to strengthen community participation in local institutional structures.
The meeting was held yesterday at the National Stadium Presidential Lounge where Concern provided the opportunities for members of these disadvantaged communities to engage community leaders like councilors on the different activities they have been engaged in since they took up office.
Addressing participants at the meeting, the National Coordinator of Food Income and Market, Concern Worldwide Tayo Alabi said this is the first time such a forum is being organized in the Western Area with the aim of bridging the communication gap between community leaders like councilors and their people.
He added that lack of free flow of communication from top to bottom was a major factor that led to the country’s decade long civil war.
The National Coordinator disclosed that they selected the slum communities because people living in these communities are vulnerable and are exposed to many disadvantageous issues like disasters and the like.
He further stated that the capacity building of community’s participation in their own affairs is a five year project funded by the European Union and it started in 2009.
The forum was chaired by the Deputy Chief Administrator of the Freetown City Council; Kwesi John who represented the Freetown City Council at the meeting. In his statement he commended Concern for creating such a forum for people to meet with their councilors.
The forum was very interactive and participatory as community members were given the opportunity to ask the councilors to give account of their activities and their future plans
By William Freeman