A Call to Action from the CSPPS Sierra Leone Country team: Responding to COVID-19 while addressing major issues of fragility
Freetown, Friday 15th May 2020: The Country Team of the Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and State-building (CSPPS) and the New Deal for engagement in fragile states among other civil society organizations in Sierra Leone, fully acknowledge the central leadership of government to detect, prevent and respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Being on the crossroads with recent global peace index and the 2017/2018 fragility assessment, we applaud government and development partners efforts and strides in building a wholesomely-functioning and peaceful country, but much remains unaddressed especially in the wake of sporadic events of concern; ranging from an attempted prison break to the recent riotous exchanges between police and civilians in both Lunsar and Tombo communities.
Addressing other health care issues are a concern considering frequent lockdowns and fear of contracting the disease with hospitals mostly empty. Especially primary healthcare; specifically immunization of under five’s, maternal care and additionally for HIV AIDS patients who need to access their drugs, psychological therapy and nutritional needs.
Lastly, based on our findings of the second three day lock down, we urge government through the respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies to fully respect the rights of citizens; as these are very desperate times where livelihoods as well as economic foundations are on the brink. This can be addressed if we collectively respond from a people centred approach ;sensitive to the various needs and ensuring no one is left behind.
In lieu of the above, we therefore call on:
- To take the necessary measures that will deepen and increase citizens’ trust in the response process; especially as we view trust as important as other response measures.
- Security forces charged with enforcing compliance measures in quarantine facilities and homes, curfews and checkpoints must and should be provided with the necessary orientation of the standard operating procedures as well as the show of leadership to respect, protect and act in ways that meaningfully contribute to the COVID-19 response drives while also addressing underlying issues of mistrust.
- To facilitate coordination between and among MDAs, ensuring there is consistency, coherence and focused leadership.
- Recognize the critical contributions of civil society and demystify the fight from being a government-led response to a people-centered one based on the shared responsibility every player has.
- Emergency response periods must be shortened, in order to provide much needed life-saving supports to people mostly in need of healthcare attention
- Ensure a true, fair and just investigation into the deaths of inmates and officers at the Pademba Road Central Correctional Centre.
- E-Passes to active civil society and non-governmental organization’s and media engagement must be prioritized to enable civil society and the NGO community fully accompany the response process while supporting government and the people of Sierra Leone.
- The Ministry of Basic and Secondary School Education must ensure that Private Schools should not by any means demand school fees during this turbulent time given the curret spate of things when parents are mostly out of jobs and schools still closed.
Development Partners and Donors:
- Remain committed to supporting government succeed in the fight by making resources available for smooth operations of the respective pillars in the response.
- Provide much needed life-saving capacity to government as well as frontline responders in a manner that affect other non-COVID related healthcare needs
- Provide sound humanitarian relief measures that will serve to support ongoing unemployment uncertainty of livelihoods of the masses.
- Succeeding in the current fight takes collective responsibility to support ongoing efforts, we therefore call on every citizen to observe and adhere to the prescribed precautionary measures;
- Report cases of abuse, violations and injustice as well as closely monitoring how the response is progressing at your respective levels;
- Utilize the national emergency response numbers by seeking medical assistance when necessary for yourself or loved ones at home or in the community.
- Refrain from inflammatory statements, violence or sharing on social media what may otherwise translate into false news.
In conclusion, we commit to continue providing our invaluable supports to government and its partners while at the same time keeping track of the major issues and bring them to the fore of policy and decision making.
The joint civil society statement from Sierra Leone is endorsed by:
1. Sierra Leone Association of Non-Governmental Organization (SLANGO)
2. Sierra Leone War Trust (SLWT)
3. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Network (WASH-Net)
4. Forward Sierra Leone (FSL)
5. Advocacy Movement Network (AMNet)
6. Democracy and Development Associates (DADA)
7. Campaign for Good Governance (CGG)
8. Health for All Coalition (HFAC)
9. Fambul Tok International
10. Skyy Women’s World Network
11. Non-State Actors Secretariat
12. Economic Justice Network
13. West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP)
14. Youth Partnership for Peace and Development (YPPD)
15. Africa Youth Coalition Against Hunger (AYCAH)
16. Parents Without Partners and Victims Forum (PWPVF)
17. Service Providers network (SPN)
18. Foundation for Financial Inclusion (FoFI)
Read here the article "A Society is Only as Strong as its Most Vulnerable Members" from the series CSPPS and COVID-19 Coordinated Response to Support Local Action with CSPPS Member from Sierra Leone, WASH-Net.