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Thursday, August 13, 2020

International Day of Parliamentarism Celebration at the British High Commission

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The British High Commission hosted a socially distant reception to celebrate International Day of Parliamentarism and the launch of their new project with Westminster Foundation of Democracy. Esteemed Parliamentarians Honourable Nyuma, Honourable Bah, Honourable Sesay of the Women’s caucus and Honourable Yumkella were in attendance.

In COVID-19 times, Parliaments and other government institutions are subject to the same social distancing measures as other public and private organizations. Yet, in a time of crisis, the role of parliament is more vital than ever to pass emergency laws, allocate resources and scrutinize government action.

It is important to celebrate the successes and recognise the commitment of parliamentarians to democracy, good governance and the people they represent. This day celebrates parliaments and parliamentarians across the world, including the ways in which parliamentary systems of government improve the day-to-day lives of people over the world, and here in Sierra Leone. They represent the voice of the people, pass laws, allocate funds to implement laws and policies, and hold governments to account. Strong parliaments are a cornerstone of democracy. They work to make sure that policies benefit all people, especially the most vulnerable.

The British High Commission continues to support parliament in Sierra Leone, standing in partnership through COVID-19 with the launch of a new project.

The Westminster Foundation of Democracy gave a presentation at the reception to explain the project.

The Country Representative of WGD Alusine Diamond-Suma said Parliament and the Parliamentarians are the cornerstone of every country’s democracy. They represent their people through law making, oversight and representative functions.  One of the most important components of a successful democracy is to improve the lives of people they are representing. Therefore, WFD’s commitment to strengthening democracy across the world is helping parliament to become more transparent, accessible, accountable and effective.

The project will support members of parliament  to be better informed and able to hold the Government of Sierra Leone to account on COVID-19 response, through the use of parliamentary oversight and data analysis, particularly focusing on the effect of COVID -19 on women, girls, and vulnerable groups.

This programme will support parliamentarians to conduct gender-responsive oversight that establishes a more inclusive review of the impact of the government’s COVID-19 response. Analysing policy, measures, programmes and spending through a gender lens will help clarify how the disproportionate impact on women and girls is manifesting and allow decision-makers to demand and design policies that address gender inequalities and the strategic and practical needs of everyone.

Acting British High Commissioner Alistair White signed the new grant agreement with Westminster Foundation of Democracy in support of MPs Nyuma, Bah, Sesay and Yumkella.

Acting British High Commissioner Alistair White said:

With the Westminster Foundation for Democracy we look forward to working with the Parliamentarians of Sierra Leone who are committed to delivering the best possible COVID-19 response. To do so they need the tools and capacity to scrutinise and analyse policy and legislation, and ensure that everyone in Sierra Leone, including vulnerable groups, women and girls, get the support, protection and investment they need.

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