National Framework for Inclusive Governance and Local Development in Sierra Leone
Development from the in-side out
Wan Fambul in the Sierra Leonean Krio language means: We are all one family. It represents that there is a place for everyone in the civic space. The Wan Fambul bridges Peace, Prosperity, and Planet.
The different core elements of the
Wan Fambul Framework all work together
to overcome the barriers that hinder a
comprehensive and coordinated approach
to full devolution in Sierra Leone. The issues
regarding the need for recovery and healing, tangible development, and increased civic engagement through bringing more stakeholders into the conversation cannot be isolated from processes to increase the level of full and complete devolution as it relates to the District Councils’ mandate.
Like thousands of ordinary people in Sierra Leone, I knew the reconciliation process had done little to heal the real wounds of the civil war (1991-2002). By 2007, millions of dollars had gone into a Special Court which prosecuted only nine men; and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – while it served to help catalogue the broader story of the war – it never reached the ordinary villagers most impacted by the war. I had a vision for a different kind of locally based reconciliation process.
Fambul Tok began in Sierra Leone with consultations with community leaders in all 14 districts. Based on the results gleaned from the consultations, the pilot implementation of the program began in March, 2008 in Kailahun District, where the war started in 1991. As the program expanded extensive community reconciliation structures were established, and dozens of sectional level ceremonies where thousands of people participated.
During the community ceremonies, scores of perpetrators came forward at bonfires in front of their communities to confess to their victims, to ask for forgiveness – and to be forgiven. With the support of family, neighbors and elders, victims and perpetrators were embraced by the community, and cleansed as part of a traditional ceremony held the following day. From 2008-2014 Fambul Tok worked with 250+ sections, and 4000+ villages across the country.
In the tradition of truth telling around a bonfire, communities hosted bonfires, where victims and perpetrators came forward for the first time to tell their stories, apologize, and ask for, or offer, forgiveness. The communities then sang and danced of this open acknowledgement of and resolution to what happened during the war. The next day, cleansing ceremonies are held drawing on traditional cleansing practices, and traditions of communicating with the ancestors and pouring libations.
In 2011 a feature documentary and book called Fambuk Tok was released. Fambul Tok which means "family talk" in Krio documented the truth-telling and local reconciliation processes.
In 2014-2015 the Ebola crisis occurred. Fambul Tok adapted to Ebola prevention and recovery. The Ebola crisis exposed the urgent need for healthy partnerships and participatory processes, as the lack of trust of outsiders at the local level severely hampered containment and prevention. Where effective relationships and community initiative and organization emerged, Ebola was managed successfully. The Bridging Communities Network connected national response to hurting communities.
The post-Ebola recovery presented a significant opportunity to build a whole systems approach grounded in healthy relationships, which includes government, organizations and communities. Healthy relationships require working towards a common purpose and a shift in the way the different stakeholders see each other, treat each other, and view their respective roles. Communities need to be at the center of the system with government and organizations supporting their leadership.
Instead of short-term aid with an outside-in trajectory, which often functions like pouring water into a broken cup, Fambul Tok’s approach focuses on repairing the cup – the community – so that it can not only better receive and utilize aid, but also tap into the reserves of groundwater (resources and untapped potential) already in the community, made manifest when the community comes together.
By adopting the approach for "repairing the cup" nationally, the Wan Fambul Framework structures a way to shift the role of outside aid from ‘fixing’ and ‘saving’ to one of creating the space for local leadership and accompanying it in fulfilling its potential.
2015 -- The Healthy Partnerships Dialogue; Piloting the People's Planning Process (PPP) and Inclusive District Stakeholders Meeting in the districts of Kailahun, Koinadugu, and Moyamba.
Throughout 2016. Inter District Committees Formation meetings in Kailahun, Koinadugu, Moyamba and rolling out the People Planning Process in new Chiefdoms.
October 2016. Inter-District learning/sharing conference in Tiama, Moyamba. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) committed to taking process national.
National Round table in Freetown, where the Ministry launched the national framework development process.
March and April 2017. Wan Fambul planning meeting in Northern Ireland with the MLGRD, Fambul Tok, and Catalyst for Peace.
July–September 2017. The Executive approval for the Wan Fambul National Framework process and first Wan Fambul Framework National Consultation with national stakeholders. The roll out of People Planning Process continues in the pilot districts.
November 2017. The Wan Fambul Framework was launched in Freetown by the MLGRD, the new Wan Fambul secretariat (Fambul Tok), and the national Steering and Technical Committees.
Putting the people most impacted by the crisis at the center of the recovery and long-term development effort – including bringing local communities fully into the planning and decision-making – and forging mutually supportive relationships between local community leaders and government and organizations at the district, national and international levels is the key to repairing the social and structural fabric that will turn the tide in self-sufficiency and homegrown innovation.
Inclusive structures: The Wan Fambul Secretariat is the working body that supports the design, development, implementation and monitoring of the WFF. The Secretariat will sit at Fambul Tok and will serve as the technical coordinating arm of the new collaborative partnership with the MLGRD and will also house the Technical Committee.
Inclusive structures: Wan Fambul National Steering and Technical Committees. The WFF has established a policy level Steering Committee and an ongoing Technical Committee to plan, support and oversee the consultation, design and validation process, in a way that stays connected with the ongoing learning from the pilot districts; and presenting the validated WFF at a national event. As the WFF is implemented, the Technical Committee will lead the emergent design phase connecting to the grass-roots
Inclusive Structures: Inclusive District Committee (IDC) provides a viable platform (or safe space) for continued, collaborative engagement for district stakeholders/partners and community representatives in discussing their problems, plans and strategies for healing, recovery and development as well as their strategies for continued oversight of the PPP in the district. To help build bridges from communities to national development stakeholders.
Inclusive structures: Inclusive Chiefdom Committee (ICC) provides a viable platform (or safe space) for continued, collaborative engagement for chiefdom stakeholders/partners and community reps in discussing their community peace and development problems, plans and strategies for healing, recovery and development as well as their strategies for continued oversight of the PPP at the chiefdom level. To help build bridges from communities to district development stakeholders via the IDC.
Inclusive Structures: Community Welfare and Mediation Committee (CWMC) is responsible for mediating disputes in the villages and organizing their communities to continue the process of healing and recovery, to improve development practices, and to help coordinate community development initiatives. The CWMC members sometimes bringing bigger challenges to sectional
rotational meetings (see below) for broader consideration. The CWMCs are established
at the sectional/ward levels to repair the cup.
Inclusive community structures: The Peace Mothers provide village women with the opportunity of coming together to support each other and work together for the healing and development of their communities. The Peace Mothers also provide opportunities for leadership development for women so they are able to participate in other community structures with increased strength and voice, which is critical for the process to be truly inclusive.
Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)
In the past two years, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) of Sierra Leone formed a new partnership with Fambul Tok International (LNGO) and Catalyst for Peace (INGO) to develop the Wan Fambul: National Framework for Inclusive Governance and Local Development. The Framework is designed to bring devolution to the next level and development to the doorstep of the people.
The Wan Fambul Framework outlines a holistic, community-owned and led process leading to a National People’s Plan, and it is built on the learning from a 3 ½-year comprehensive pilot process in three districts, in Kailahun, Moyamba and Koinadugu. The pilot tested a People’s Planning Process to mobilize communities to lead in their own recovery and development, while also creating an inclusive infrastructure to sustain and support that process. It is anchored in the Districts by an Inclusive District Committee (IDC), coordinating all the District peace and development stakeholders, including the District Councils, Traditional Leaders, MDAs, NGOs/INGOs, CSOs, Women, Youth, Disabled, Inter-Religious, and Community Representatives.
Since 2006, Fambul Tok and Catalyst for Peace (CFP) forged an approach to healing, recovery and ongoing development (beyond the window of Ebola recovery) that places people and communities in the very center and at the helm – the People’s Planning Process. The People’s Planning Process, called the PPP, is an inclusive community mobilization and engagement process for community welfare and development. The process has built structures that are helping resolve long standing conflict and engaging communities to champion their own recovery and development. This ‘inside-out’ approach repairs the torn fabric of community and builds social immunity for the next crisis, whatever it may be, thus helping break an endless crisis and response cycle.
Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)
The beneficiaries of the Wan Fambul Framework are the citizens of Sierra Leone. The Wan Fambul Framework offers a vision of a whole, inter-connected Sierra Leone, undivided by region, ethnicity and partisan political affiliation. Research has demonstrated that strengthening social capital with particular reference to the proxies of trust, collective action, inclusion, local groups and networks, and information and communication as embodied in the principles of the planning methods below, is relevant for peace and development operations in rural community levels. By offering “a new way of doing business” the WFF demonstrates Sierra Leoneans can live as “Wan Fambul” and value the gifts diversity brings.
Cross Section of Paramount Chiefs Moyamba District.
Group work discussion IDC members Moyamba District/
A traditional cultural dance in Ghapi-Songo organized by the Peace Mothers.
Sectional consultation in Konio Section Kissy Teng Chiefdom, Kailahun District.
Peace Mothers celebrate in Tangula, Moyamba District.
Community members participating in the IDC formation.
Paramount Chiefs and District Council of Kailahun sign landmark agreement for joint revenue collection.
Former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development at the Inter-District Learning Conference in November 2016.
CWMC community representatives after the training in Bambuibu-Tommy-Section, Moyamba District.
Peace Mothers plan community development, Gbondo village, Kailahun District.
Validation of the PPP-and ICC Formation, Upper Banbara Section, Kailahun, District.
Left Paramount Chief H. H. Baion and Chairman Alex Bhonapha embraced after the dialogue.
Sitting in the front row a cross section of paramount chief of Kailahun District in a revenue mobilization meeting in Daru.
Inclusive Chiefdom Committee (ICC) Executive, Upper Bambara.
Both institutions and structures and people are are part of the Wan Fambul Framework including: District Councils, Traditional Leaders, MDAs, NGOs/INGOs, CSOs, Women, Youth, Disabled, Inter-Religious, and Community Representatives.
How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)
Genuine ownership is fostered. Fambul Tok has a three-layer approach to development: 1. The PPP mobilizes every village to define their own development needs and priorities, while also establishing gender-positive local inclusive governance structures that put implementation of local solutions squarely in the hands of local populations. Village representatives work together with their neighboring villages to address priority needs, even before outside aid is available, creating networks of empowered local leaders, with specific emphasis on women, and unleashing powerful local energy and resources for development. 2. The IDC fosters cross-sector coordination, addresses District conflicts and challenges, and allows District leadership in the ongoing rollout of the PPP. It fills the communications gaps to enable responsive service delivery to the people; 3. Development of a national policy framework to support grass-root development efforts.
Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)
Full Scale Roll Out: I have already tested and scaled this idea significantly with the intended user base.
Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)
Fambul Tok is the inspiration and creation of the people of Sierra Leone, drawing on Sierra Leone’s “family talk” tradition of discussing and resolving issues within the security of a family circle. As a result, our approach is rooted not in western concepts of crime and punishment but in communal African sensibilities that emphasize the need for communities to be whole – with each and every member playing a role. http://www.fambultok.org
Fambul Tok is rooted in consultative processes that foster local ownership of the program at every level in order to create maximum impact in the community healing process in Sierra Leone. Fambul Tok is guided by the conviction that each person has the power, goodness and capacity to contribute to society in helpful and healthy ways. Yet when people experience violence and hurt, those innate capacities can be suppressed and cause individuals to act in ways contrary to their nature.
Catalysts for Peace believe the resources and wisdom of ordinary people in local communities—those people and places most impacted by wars and conflict—are too often ignored or undervalued in conventional international approaches to post-war justice, development, and peacebuilding. In this ‘outside-in’ approach, problem-solving resources and capacities are brought or imposed from the outside. We know there is a harder, better way to build peace: from the inside-out.
Organization Filing Status
Yes, we are a registered non-profit.
In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.
“We are saying deal with Ebola in a way that structures will be in place to handle post-Ebola discussions, because experience or history has taught us that Ebola – there’s always a possibility that it will come again. So how do we put in place structures in the communities, in the districts, in the villages, to ensure that once Ebola comes again, we’ll have structures in place to deal with that immediately and it [won’t] get to where we are now.” — John Caulker, Executive Director of Fambul Tok
Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).
Peace, prosperity and planet are integrity connected in Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone when community mobilizers ask, “What kinds of problems contribute to the brokenness in our communities?” The answers one hears from both the community as well as the institutions related to the dire poverty found in rural and urban areas, to communal and personal conflict at all levels of a broken society, and to the changing climate which cases mudslides like the one in September 2017 outside of Freetown where 1,200 people were killed one morning at 6 am.
The People’s Planning Process acknowledges that the cup needs to be repaired—the community needs to be made whole—before any more water can be poured in, and it focuses resources and programming first in ways that repair the cup. Supporting communities to lead a process of community healing, and bringing communities together to create and own their own development agenda, repair the cracks in the cup.
Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)
The Wan Fambul Framework is designed to support the MLGRD and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in facilitating the process for the next 5 years in order to develop a National People’s Plan that is owned by the people from the sections, chiefdoms and districts up to the national level.
Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)
Fambul Tok originated in the realization peace can’t be imposed from the outside, or from the top down. Nor does it need to be. The community led, and owned reconciliation process they support, witness and celebrate in Sierra Leone illustrates communities have within them the resources they need for their own healing.
How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)
Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)