Bridging the Gap Between Knowledge and Policy
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The Institute for Governance Reform and Oxfam Sierra Leone, with funding from the World Bank, have on Wednesday, 24th March 2021, launched the Citizens’ Monitoring of Health and Education Services Project and Service Delivery Index 2020. The report benchmarks the state of health and education services in all parliamentary constituencies and local government units in the country.

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The SDI 2020 marks the start of an ambitious project with a goal for ordinary Sierra Leoneans to see, understand and support the government’s delivery of health and education services, especially within a COVID-19 health emergency context. Despite the substantive gains in school enrolment and success in tackling pandemics and other diseases, access and quality of education and healthcare remains an onerous challenge, particularly in remote regions. Low-quality health and education continue to affect the future employability and productivity of Sierra Leonean youths as well as society’s overall growth.

The launch was well attended by key stakeholders, including political leaders, representatives from the international community, Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Parliamentary leadership, local councils, and the World Bank GPSA.

In introducing the project, the Manager, Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA), World Bank, Mr. Jeff Thindwa said that the index is a unique affirmation that “active citizen’s involvement in monitoring health outcomes and engaging policymakers and key components is central for improved service delivery”. For Mr. Thindwa, the SDI embodies the principle of state-civil society collaboration that is at the heart of the GPSA. He noted that stronger societies are built through open governments and engagements with citizens. The Deputy Leader of the main opposition (APC) Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo pointed out that each government faces its own achievements and challenges while in power, noting that ensuring collaborative efforts yield better results is key for developmental processes.

The report was well-received by Parliament. The Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Nyuma said that members of Parliament do appreciate the data provided by IGR and Oxfam SL as partners that are supporting the work of Parliament. He entreated all stakeholders not to politicize the data but rather use it for effective transformation in the interest of Sierra Leone. A suggestion was made that the report be presented to Cabinet with recommendations tabled and acted on. As part of the next steps, IGR and Oxfam will engage with stakeholders in the most underperforming constituencies to collectively work together for changes in service delivery outcomes through increased citizen engagement with service providers and political leaders. Hon. Nyuma confirmed that there are indeed districts that are deplorable which face many challenges in the area of health and education, for which they would seek to engage with IGR and other stakeholders while challenging policymakers to address these issues with a developmental lens.

In effect, the SDI is a testament to the fact that civil society and NGOs can be agents of innovation in the country. The Institute for Governance Reform and Oxfam Sierra Leone are particularly pleased with the support and feedback received so far and would look forward to a fruitful engagement with MPs, Local Councils, MDAs, and others to improve health and education outcomes in Sierra Leone.

Download the full report HERE.

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