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Thanks Tom for your comments and thoughts. Our new civil society and government leadership team is meeting in DC in early August and we will also looking at answering some of these same questions.

All the best,

John.

Thanks Ashly for your comments. Sorry we have been off line for a variety of reasons for most of July.

We have tried to incorporate more of our stories in our current submission. We will be working to try and tell individual stories in the final response. Here are a few of the stories that first come to mind.

Grace’s was a part of the Peace Mothers in her village and a section representative. When a Section Chief position became open, the women came to Grace and asked her to run. At first she was hesitant because women are not a part of the chief structures and their participation is not encouraged culturally. She then told them even if she wanted to run she did not have money to run the campaign. But the women convinced her and told her that they would raise the money needed because they wanted a voice that would speak for them and their children finally in power. So she told them, if you raise the funds I will do it. Everything she needed like rice, palm oil, goats, and even cash was raised by the women of the section. [In SL it is traditional that in order to run as a chief there are required things you must bring to Paramount chief to be given the go ahead to run a campaign. When Grace appeared the morning of the election with all the required items the other two (male) canidates excused themselves from the election because they had not managed to raise the needed items. Grace became the Section Chief and is now serving her people, with a special heart for the issues of women and children. She told us at .gathering when she recited this story, "I learned my leadership skills from the Peace Mothers. And I earned this title from the Peace Mothers. If I do not serve my people with knowledge then I should not hold the office."

Neini story - Chief Jalloh - Told us how after the PPP process in his district the residents decided to stop waiting, and raised money among themselves and the diaspora to build their bridge. They bought the cement and provided the labor, cajoled the DC into providing the engineers - and got their bridge built, after years of it never being done by the district or national gov’t.

Koinadugu DC (former) Sheku Kamara - said the Inclusive District Committee made his job “60%” easier.

I once talked with one man from the far north at lunch at the committee launch meeting, Moses, who felt like being involved in the PPP was the first time he ever felt like he was Sierra Leonean.

I hope this answers your questions. If you have ideas on how to improve our submission we would be keen to learn more.

All the best,

John.

Thanks Gayanjith Premalal for your comments. We have been off line for most of July and are only catching up with the comments here. As we prepare the final submission we are starting to develop a way to present the Wan Fambul framework in a way which connects to the thousands of stories and lives which have been changed through our work during the last couple of years piloting the "inside out" approach to peacebuilding and development.

Our plans after the challenge is to take the program national to every village, section and district in the country. 18 months ago when we first decided to develop the National Framework this felt like a dream, but after this past week when we attended a local IDC meeting in Kailahun district and listen to the chiefs and the district have a civil and productive discussion around revenue sharing and raising. And then to meet yesterday with the new Vice President who has read the framework who noted the framework was the "downstream" peoples planning process the country had been lacking and it was his dream bring development to the doorsteps of the people. The appetite for change and also transformation in Sierra Leone is ripe. We now just have to raise the funds to see this through. In the next three years we hope to have a vibrant civil society - government partnership that support people to be at the center of the countries development. We hope to have working and functional IDCs in all 16 districts and have local peacebuilding and governance structures linking into chiefdom, district, regional and national systems. While the dream is large we believe it is the time to realize this dream.

Some more detailed thoughts on what will be different in 3 years time:

In communities:
Residents will be defining their own development needs and setting the agenda for any outside help, instead of being mere recipients of ‘aid’ whose purpose was defined by others outside their community;
Residents will be working together effectively to lead in developing their communities and addressing their communities’ needs;
There will be a plethora of locally-led economic and social development projects - flourishing local market initiatives; new health posts; new community centers; community farms; new roads and infrastructure, etc.
Women will be playing leadership roles in all of the above;
When there are needs beyond what the community can meet themselves, there will be effective channels of communication to District political structures that can help meet those needs.

In District governance:
There will be effective channels for cross-sector collaboration and coordination, so that when needs arise, they can be effectively addressed using local resources;
There will be a strong voice for local communities’ needs as they have defined them themselves, able to be an effective bridge from local to national, enabling the national government to be more effective;
Formerly intractable conflicts—like between Local Councils and Traditional Leaders—will be resolved and new mechanisms for resolving new conflicts put in place;
Local government actors will be empowered to do their jobs more effectively.

Nationally:
There will be a people-defined national development plan, with a process in place that facilitates communities and local government to work effectively to fulfill that plan, with effective national support.
There will be strong national and government voices able to direct international and aid organizations to serve local people’s needs, leadership and agendas over the long term, rather than a broken system where the agenda is set abroad and national actors are forced to serve it.

Globally:
There will be a vigorous global conversation among and about how Aid organizations need to work differently so their actions and impact match their voiced desires to serve local needs and capacity.

We hope Bridgebuilders can be a part of this movement here in Sierra Leone.

All the best, John.