By Bockarie Mattia
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as a regional organization is now moving from ECOWAS of state to ECOWAS of people. This is according to Saffa Kanneh, Desk Officer for ECOWAS National Office who doubles as Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.
He was speaking after a 5-day stakeholders’ sensitization across three districts in Sierra Leone on programmes and projects of ECOWAS.
The ECOWAS is a regional, political and economic union of fifteen countries in West Africa with the goal of promoting economic cooperation amongst member states.
But most citizens of ECOWAS barely know the activities of the organization and according to the Desk officer, ECOWAS National Office who is also deputy secretary at the ministry of Planning and Economic Development, WCOWAS is moving from a regional body of states to a regional body of people and the move to target district stakeholders, council headmen, pupils across Moyamba, Bonthe and Kailahun districts in this first phase is to bring ECOWAS to the people.
The stakeholders’ sensitization targeted about five hundred direct and indirect participants across the three districts in a bid to popularize ECOWAS programmes and projects.
The engagement indicated that most community and chiefdom stakeholders do not know about the activities of ECOWAS even when most of the projects that these communities have been benefiting from are mostly ECOWAS funded projects.
Saffa Kanneh went further to highlight that ECOWAS has a lot of projects that they are implementing across the country with Ministries, Departments and Agencies ranging from defense in the form of the proposed military depot that will serve as ECOWAS military headquarter for West Africa, girl gild scholarship programmes with the ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs and the ECOWAS volunteer programmes among others.
Stakeholders across the three districts express readiness and commitment to working with focal persons across the districts to learn more about ECOWAS and popularize every opportunity that will come from ECOWAS in the future.
The second phase of stakeholders’ sensitization will target other districts in the North, East and North-Western parts of the country in the next few weeks.