Sierra Leone Introduces Comprehensive NGO Oversight, Boosting National Development Synergy

FREETOWN – The Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) of Sierra Leone unveiled an all-encompassing guideline to streamline NGO activities across the country on March 2023. With the policy’s inception, Sierra Leone emphasizes stronger collaboration between NGOs, local councils, and the government to bolster national development efforts.

Ongoing NNGO monthly meeting at the SLANGO Secretariat in Freetown

Ongoing NNGO monthly meeting at the SLANGO Secretariat in Freetown

The new directive seeks to bolster the synergy between NGOs and government priorities. With this move, the nation aspires to ensure that NGOs operate transparently, efficiently, and in harmony with Sierra Leone’s developmental objectives.

The MoPED, sector ministries, and local councils will be at the forefront, shouldering the responsibility of enforcing these policy guidelines. With detailed mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation, the directive stresses the importance of alignment between NGO initiatives and government strategies.

However, NGOs failing to toe the line could face a range of sanctions. These range from temporary operational halts to the permanent revocation of registration. Particularly, the withholding of banking services and suspension of operations are potent tools the government might deploy against non-compliant entities. Nevertheless, the policy does provide a 30-day window for NGOs to appeal against levied sanctions.

To facilitate seamless interaction and coordination, the policy has introduced specialized roles:

  • The NGO Directorate will act as the nerve center for NGO operations, managing registration, ensuring project alignments, and conducting on-site evaluations.
  • District Development Coordination Committees (DDCC) will be established at local council levels, focusing on enhancing district-specific developmental strategies.
  • District NGO Leads are poised to serve as bridge-builders, connecting NGOs, local councils, and the Ministry, ensuring synchronized efforts.

Additionally, Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) will play a pivotal role in interfacing with NGOs. They will ensure activities are aligned with sector development priorities, support NGO partnerships, and maintain communication lines for efficient collaboration.

This policy framework, taking effect immediately upon Cabinet approval, signals a progressive step towards a unified vision of development for Sierra Leone. As NGOs play an increasingly pivotal role in shaping a nation’s progress, Sierra Leone’s decision to bring them under a structured, collaborative canopy could set a precedent for many developing nations worldwide.