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Saidu Conton-Sesay explains the work of the President's Delivery Team at closing event of Presid

The second phase of President’s Recovery Priorities was launched in June last year. Thirteen key result areas were to be delivered through 146 public sector initiatives, focusing on seven sectors – education, energy, governance, health, private sector development, social protection and water. Combined these would create visible socioeconomic change in Sierra Leone.

With the lessons of the Ebola response in mind, the country’s economic recovery plan was designed and led by Sierra Leoneans. We are grateful to the partnership of our development partners, who aligned their programmes and initiatives behind it, and took a more unified approach to funding.

The President’s Delivery Team

The process has been a complex one, representing $839 million of investment from the Government of Sierra Leone and its international development partners, 84 percent of which was allocated through implementing partners. It demanded an innovative approach to the design and delivery of public services, new organisational capabilities and a high degree of synchronisation among the sectors.

To this end the President’s Delivery Team has, as well as programme design, provided executive-level oversight - identifying and managing connections and dependencies. It has coordinated sectoral activities to amplified effect, and provided financial management through a fiduciary agent. It has also been a source of administrative and management support and specialised staff expertise where necessary.

Decentralisation

Collaboration with District Councils, traditional leaders, civil society and other community leaders has been a feature. Regional meetings around the country allowed their input to define the President’s Recovery Priorities and ensure they reflected the needs of our citizens.

Community engagement and communication

Throughout, we have encouraged a participatory approach to the process which was anchored in transparency. We installed a team of community engagement officers in the districts to support the 149 Paramount Chiefs, Section Chiefs, Tribal Heads and Councillors, and ensure the President’s Recovery Priorities and its outcomes were fully understood by communities, and that consultation and participation took place at every level.

We provided information on our progress through the use of the traditional media, social media, our regular newsletter, and our website - www.presidentsrecoverypriorities.gov.sl, as well as through direct community engagement and a nationwide radio programme to improve information-flow to our rural and hard to reach communities.

Tracking delivery

We developed a data collection and delivery tracking model which combined the complementary capabilities and cultures of the public and private sectors with our traditional and local government structures.

Technology has been a key enabler, but so have our traditional structures and national know-how. A customised computer programme enables us to collect data using a mobile phone platform instead of a paper based tool. Our data team conducts comparative analyses of direct third party and beneficiary feedback as well as raw data submitted by MDAs. They compare this with physical on-the-spot checks conducted at a local level by on-the-ground personnel, including Section Chiefs. Its development called for national and international experience, as well as central and district expertise.

Flexibility and collaboration

The weekly delivery forums, built into our delivery model have allowed regular stock taking, flexibility where necessary, and problem solving across all the MDAs involved. Throughout these we kept our focus, where it needed to be, on the big and smaller picture, and the vision of change that genuine public sector partnership could deliver.

Sustainability and continuity

To ensure that this delivery process remained both effective and sustained, the President’s Delivery Team has worked to enhance and strengthen the capability within MDAs at both district and central level. Effective performance within the public sector is essential for Sierra Leone’s development. The progress we have made throughout the President’s Recovery Priorities process now rests in the hands of these colleagues.

We look forward to hearing and seeing their achievements.

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