In enhancing local governance, decentralization, and sustainable urban development in Sierra Leone, the Kenema City Council has embarked on implementing projects funded by the European Union, aimed at bolstering local authorities’ capacities and fostering inclusive community participation.

The project, supported by EU funds, recognizes the pivotal role of secondary towns like Port Loko, Western Rural, Kenema, and Kailahun, which collectively hold about 19% of the country’s population. These towns, situated in the Northern and Eastern regions, are seen as key centers for urban growth, capable of alleviating pressure on the resources and infrastructure of larger cities. However, sustained development hinges on addressing persistent governance challenges.

With a focus on strengthening decentralization processes and building the capacity of local authorities, the project seeks to share knowledge and activities with the Municipality of Fano in Italy to tackle urban development challenges collaboratively.

The overarching objective is to empower local authorities to enhance the quality and accessibility of public services, foster public participation in policymaking, reduce poverty, and ensure sustainable service delivery. Key outcomes include improving technical and institutional capacities and promoting citizen participation in governance and socio-economic development, with a special emphasis on marginalized and vulnerable communities.

One notable activity under the project is a series of five-day training sessions facilitated by the Project Management Unit (PMU). These sessions, conducted for partner councils including Port Loko District Council, Kailahun District Council, Western Area Rural District Council, Kenema City Council, and Port Loko City Council, aimed to capacitate council chairpersons, mayors, councilors, and core council staff. The training focused on leadership development, conflict management, corporate governance, and orientation for elected councilors regarding their roles and responsibilities.

Emphasizing the transformative potential of effective leadership at the local level, the project underscores the importance of capacity-building initiatives targeting women, councilors, and core council staff. By investing in leadership development and fostering inclusive governance structures, the Kenema City Council, with support from the EU, is paving the way for sustainable urban development and improved service delivery in Sierra Leone.