The Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai has formally launched the commencement of the Development Cooperation Framework (DCF) Review consultative process for NGOs at the Freetown City Auditorium on Wallace Johnson Street in Freetown.

The review of the DCF is geared towards identifying grey areas and emerging issues with the aim of developing a document that would strengthen the relationship between government and NGOs and promote accountability, transparency and effective service delivery.

The Minister, in his keynote address, said that the consultative process would be a great opportunity for the NGOs, CSOs, Local Councils and other stakeholders to engage and participate in the review process and come up with a document that would stand the test of time.

“I am very confident that the consultation process to review the DCF will have a positive impact in the final policy document that would be tabled in cabinet. During this process, quality representation at both national district level will be key to its success.”, says Dr. Kai-Kai

He said the process would strengthen cooperation and collaboration amongst Government, Donors and NGOs and re-energise a relationship that would promote effective and efficient service delivery and equitable distribution of limited resources.

The Minister applauded the Technical Review Committee that was set up to facilitate the review process, adding that he hoped the new policy would improve the environment for NGO/CSO operations and performance.

In her statement, the Ambassador of Ireland to Sierra Leone, Claire Buckley said the event demonstrates government’s commitment to creating the space for NGOs/CSOs to operate, adding that it was a clear acknowledgment of the valuable role NGOs and CSOs play in the development of Sierra Leone.

She encouraged government to use NGOs/CSOs and their networks for the effective roll out of relevant national and local development policies, including promoting partnerships with the private sector.

The Chief Administrator of the Freetown City Council, Festus Kallay, on his part, encouraged NGOs to collaborate a bit more with the councils to ensure ownership and sustainability of interventions in their locality of operation, adding that he hopes the the DCF consultation process would address the issue of coordination, monitoring and strengthened relationship with , Local Councils.

Andrew Lavalie, Executive Director for Institute for Governance Reform (IGR) and Mohamed Jalloh, Chairman of the SLANGO Board spoke on behalf of the NGOs and CSOs respectively. In their statements, they expressed their delight at the review of the DCF, noting that their respective institutions would work closely with the technical committee to ensure a transparent process.

The Country Director of International Rescue Committee, who is also Chairman of the Technical Review Committee thanked the Minister for keeping to his promise and outlined the steps taken so far by the Technical Review Committee. He assured all that the process would be transparent and quality document would be produced.

The National NGO Director, Eric Massally made a presentation on the current DCF, highlighting the grey area and emerging issues that require consideration. The program was climaxed by a technical session and discussions on the way forward. In attendance were Heads of Organizations (National and International), CSOs, MDAs, Local Council and persons with disability.