UNDERSTANDING THE VARIABLE SUCCESS OF CITIZEN ACTION PLANS FOR BETTER PUBLIC SERVICES IN SIERRA LEONE

UNDERSTANDING THE VARIABLE SUCCESS OF CITIZEN ACTION PLANS FOR BETTER PUBLIC SERVICES IN SIERRA LEONE.

 

This review asked the question – why does the success of SABI’s efforts to improve public services vary? By December 2019, 19% of the 212 ward-level actions that SABI had planned with communities had been completed, while the rest were either ongoing, or had stagnated. A previous review found that 38% of 786 community-level actions had been successful. What causes this variable success?

The most cited factor for a successful action plans is a critical mass of leaders and citizens that are both motivated and skilled. Other factors such as the relative wealth and resources of a place, its proximity to stakeholders (governmental, multinational companies, NGOs) and the involvement of the Ward Councillor as the action plan leader were also important. However, even effective Ward Councillors still depended on an organised and capable citizenry able to both direct and manage existing resources for the public benefit, and to preserve the infrastructure that government and other agents may have helped set up. Factors obstructing the success of action plans related to seasonality and, most importantly, to the limitations of the District Council and its District Development Funds in responding to citizen demands.

Recommendations pursue two main objectives: boosting motivation and knowledge in citizens and leaders; and helping strengthen the capacity of the district governance level to respond to citizens. • Make all local funds visible to citizens, and ensure their good management • Include the chiefdom as a potential source of funding action plans • Keep focus on policy literacy and accountability pathways • Engage national government around factors that prevent action plan implementation • Improve the monitoring and evaluation of action plans.

 

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