July 13, 2017
President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone (left) and Atsutoshi Hirabayashi Senior Advisor of JICA
In Sierra Leone, a country in West Africa, a civil war between the government and anti-government forces went on for about 12 years starting in 1991. Further tragedy struck in 2014, when the country was on the verge of completing its reconstruction. There was an Ebola pandemic that left almost 4,000 people dead in Sierra Leone alone.
JICA was forced to suspend its project "Capacity Development for Comprehensive District Developments in the Northern Region of Sierra Leone," which had been assisting with decentralization policy of Sierra Leone Government since 2009.
By disseminating the guidelines, JICA aims to create local communities that are resilient to the next disaster, even if it is Ebola
It was restarted in June 2016. JICA incorporated recovery from Ebola into "Local Council’s Development Operational Guidelines" it had been helping to create before the suspension.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) Maya Kaikai, directly presented the completed guidelines to President Ernest Bai Koroma on June 2, 2017. They are expected to be disseminated to local councils throughout the country, and local council staff expect them to serve as a guide to rural development under the peculiar circumstances prevailing after the end of the Ebola pandemic.
JICA referred to Japan's past efforts when creating the guidebook. The disaster preparation storage warehouse in Higashimatsushima, Miyagi prefecture, in January 2017
A courtesy visit to President Ernest Bai Koroma
The guidelines are characterized by a project planning and maintenance method based on collaboration with residents and the fact that they clearly state the respective roles of local councils, their subsystems and their communities. They take into account transparency and accountability on the part of the local council.
As for recovery from Ebola, the guidelines include restoration of the depressed rural economy and efforts to create a hygienic health system.
In Sierra Leone, a threat could recur at any time. If local councils and communities are always cooperating, they can respond appropriately even to the threat, without residents being confused by vague or inaccurate information. Minister Kaikai says he fully realized the importance of such cooperation from his experience working to fight Ebola.
After the guidelines were explained to him, the president said, "I want these guidelines to be used to standardize rural development in Sierra Leone, an effort to which local councils and rural development bureaus will be central.
From around September 2017, MLGRD and JICA will hold a series of forums to spread the guidelines to staff members of local councils throughout Sierra Leone, donors active in Sierra Leone and implementing agencies.
Read this article for details of the project restart:
Read this article for more on training in Japan and project activities: