On October 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 2012, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and the Local Councils Association of Sierra Leone (LoCASL), with support from UNDP, UNCDF in partnership with JICA, GIZ, ILO and the Commonwealth Secretariat, organized the first Peer Review and Methodological Workshop on Local Economic Development (LED) in Sierra Leone, at Wusum Hotel in Makeni City.
The Workshop was convened to follow up on the recommendation of the LED National Conference held on July 10th 2012 in Freetown to develop a methodological package to support Local Councils in factoring LED in their development plans and budgets. The draft methodology package was prepared and presented by Mr. Kadmiel Wekwete (UNCDF Special Advisor for Africa). Representatives from central Government, Local Councils, International Development Partners and members of LED Technical Committees including traditional authorities, private sector, civil society and NGOs heard and discussed presentations by selected Local Councils on the review of their development planning processes and the integration of LED components into those development plans
Participants and experts from development partners shared their knowledge and experience on different topics, such as the promotion of agricultural value chains within the LED framework, the implementation of the Local Content Policy in the promotion of LED, the concept of Decent Work for sustainable employment opportunities in LED or the Public Private Partnership as a way of engaging the private sector in LED.
Discussions at the Workshop will inform the methodological package to be prepared by the MLGRD in collaboration with UNCDF/UNDP and other partners, articulated on Policy and planning, Locality development, Business development, Gender and Financing.
After lengthy and constructive discussions, participants made specific recommendations geared towards disseminating the LED approach both in Local Government planning, budgeting and implementation and in the curricula of tertiary education institutions.
23 participants from 7 universities and research centers also attend a special session dedicated to linking up tertiary education institution and LED practitioners in order to mainstream decentralization and LED in their curricula for better match between graduates and market labor market demands.