In line with the UNDP Open Government Initiative (OGI) the Presidential and Public Affairs Ministry has recently made its debut visit to a Farm Project in Makeni City in Bombali District.
The Concept of Open Government Initiative (OGI) was borne out of His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma’s Bumbuna Presidential Retreat in January 2008 at Bumbuna, where he expressed a commitment to ensure democracy, the Rule of Law and free-flow of information through open channels of communication amongst the three organs of Government and between Government and the people prevail during his 5-year tenure.
OGI is a direct response to the President’s expressed commitment for open channels of Communication in Sierra Leone. Through OGI, information will flow freely between Government and the governed. A consensus has been reached in a consultative meeting with the responsible ministries, representatives of UNDP and the National Coordinator for OGI that the Initiative’s activities focus on the Presidency for a start of the programme.
The Sierra Leone Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security has embarked on full-scale support and sensitization of the public and encouraging the people to embark on farming as a direct response to the global rise in the price of grains and food security, thereby localizing the problem of the looming global food shortage phenomenon through self-determination. Presidential and Public Affairs, Information and Communication and Agriculture ministries, in sensitizing the public to resume farming activities, have referred to the global food problem, owing to our favourable weather and climatic conditions conducive for farming, as an opportunity for Sierra Leone to improve its balance of trade through food exportation.
This field visit to Makeni town Bombali District,, where there have been satisfactory response to the call for food sustenance in the agricultural sector amongst large-scale and small-scale farmers in the district, is the debut of a continuous process of coordination of open dialogue sessions between the three organs of Government and the people of Sierra Leone to foster accountability, transparency, and citizenry contribution to policy formulation, strategies and implementation. On 26th April 2008 at the launching of the Initiative, the Minister for Presidential and Public Affairs stated that OGI “would bring the State House closer to the people and the people closer to the State House.” This is in agreement with the OGI concept document: to discuss short-term, medium-term and long-term farming policies, strategies and implementation, especially about mechanized farming as a means of earning foreign exchange. Also it aims to discuss Government’s plan to support subsistence farmers and any other topical issues of interest to the people of Bombali District. The field objective is to promote communication and common understanding between Government and the people, foster civic responsibility and enhance active citizenry participation in governance for the overall socio-economic development of the nation.