ALLAT reviews progress and chat way forward for Land management in Sierra Leone

By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya
The Action for Largescale Land Acquisition Transparency (ALLAT); a network on land and Climate Change issues in Sierra Leone has organized a two-day review meeting of its activities some few months at the Conference Hall of the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights in Makeni. The aim of the review meeting was to assess the progress the ALLAT alliance membership had made over the past months and chat the way forward with possible suggestions and recommendations that will see the network more formidable in responsible large-scale land advocacy across the country.

During the two days meeting, the membership were able to discuss and adopt the ALLAT’s Communication and Visibility Strategy after presentation from the consultant as well as also discuss through group sessions the ALLAT’s Strategic Plan to serve as a working tool for the network.
ALLAT’s Oversight Committee Chairperson who also serves as Director of Green Scenery, Mr. Joseph Rahall gave an overview and purpose of the review meeting. He reflected on the Bo meeting in late 2016 which gave paved the way for a transition management in ALLAT which will manage its affairs towards the end of 2017. Mr. Rahall said the rationale of the review meeting is to interrogate and access the roles and responsibilities that they were given by the general membership. On his own personal assessment of ALLAT over the past months, Mr. Rahall stated that although they still have some challenges, “considerable achievements have been made over the past nine months”.
During the Bo review meeting, an oversight Committee was established to facilitate a one year transition leading to the endorsement or reorganization of the network structure and functions, ensure that a functional secretariat is in place, find an independent office space for the secretariat to name but a few.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the General Assembly of ALLAT, Mr. Joseph Jimmy Sankaitua called on members to accept positive feedbacks as well as steps on how they can move their network forward in the interest of land owning families in the country.
The representative of the German Welthungerhilfe who are one of the funding agencies for ALLAT, Abdurrahman K Sowa said he was happy to be part of the ALLAT review meeting in Bo as well as the recent one in Makeni. He said despite some challenges, he is very much happy to see members of the network working in the interest in which the alliance was formed. ALLAT is presently implementing a three-year project funded by WHH and is supposed to end this years but Mr. Sowa said because of the challenges of the deadly Ebola, his organization thought it fit to extend the project timeline to March 2018. He also promised the Network members that there will another project from them after a successful implementation of the present project. Mr. Sowa however cautioned that the end of the project should not be the end of the network but implore on them to continue to pursue their vision over the coming years.
The Chief Administrator of the Makeni City Council, William Alpha said ALLAT is one of the blessings of the country especially when it comes to proper land management and advocacy in Sierra Leone. The Chief Administrator noted that “if we don’t get land acquisition rights, the new land policy will be an ordinary paper and by that we are not doing justice to our people and we will not be helping land owners and families”. He added that land owners and families are the poorest while surveyors who do not own land becoming richer.
He pointed out that organizations like ALLAT will raise the bar in pointing out irregularities in land management in the country and promised on behalf of the Council that they will collaborate with them to ensure this is achieved. According to him, “when you don’t get land management and the issues of transparency right, the effect is always there and that is what Freetown is enjoying today” adding that if it rains for two or more days, people will have to suffer the consequences within this time frame. He also said that “we must know that if we don’t get proper land management and proper urban planning, we are wasting our time for development in this country”.
Voluntary Guidelines National Coordinator at the Food and Agricultural Organization, Prince Kamara said ALLAT has been a consistent partner for the FAO in terms of land rights in the country. He encouraged every member to continue responsible advocacy by taking the appropriate messages to the right decision makers.
However, the Communications and Visibility Strategy of ALLAT will ensure constant, consistent and effective communications among its members and with its target audiences. It outlines a set of activities to ensure visibility of ALLAT, build up awareness among stakeholders, carry out proper information dissemination and further showcase the impact of ALLAT’s work in Sierra Leone, the region, among international and donor organizations.

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