CD4D Makes Lion Mountain Roar Louder

Mohamed Kunowah Kiellow Deployed at Civil Service Training College as Legal and Management Specialist 

It was April 14, 2017. On board a Royal Dutch Airlines flying from Amsterdam to Freetown, I met a former school mate. We went to the same school in Bo Town, the second biggest city in Sierra Leone. He was joining family and friends to celebrate Easter. After exchanging some pleasantries about school days, he swiftly moved to ask me questions about my purpose of visiting Sierra Leone.

I started by informing him that I was going to Sierra Leone as a CD4D-Connecting Diasporafor Development-participant. I further explained that the CD4D programme is being implemented by IOM Netherlands. The programme 'supports the development of targeted sectors in selected countries by strengthening the capacity of key institutions through engagement of their diaspora communities in the Netherlands. Moreover, CD4D enables diaspora professionals to use their knowledge and expertise for the reconstruction and development of their country of origin. Sierra Leone is one of those countries and I have been deployed at Civil Service Training College to work as Legal and Management Specialist.

John, as my old schoolfellow is called was on the edge of his seat when I finished explaining, which was an indication that he wanted to know what I was specifically going to do at CTSC.

The Civil Service Training College is the only Mandatory Training Institution for the Civil Public Servants of Sierra Leone and offers courses at certificate, diploma, and postgraduate Diploma levels in the following disciplines: Public Administration and Management,Records Management, Information Communication and Technology, Asset Management and Media Studies.

I further explained that the outcome(s) in relation to the Theory of Change that my assignment aims to contribute to are providing Legal and Technical guidance to CSTC for its transformation to Public Service Academy(P.S.A); providing support to CSTC management in the Resource Mobilization strategy; providing lectures in Law to CSTC students.

The plane landed, we went through immigration. We exchanged numbers. He was curious to know what achievements I will realize after the end of my assignment. We parted company.

A few days ago, when I returned from Sierra Leone to UK, I called my schoolmate and we made an appointment to meet again. We met at a Chinese restaurant in Eastern London. He was so excited to see me. After ordering our favourite dishes, I explained to John my contribution to the development of Sierra Leone and the results of my assignment.

Bad governance shows its ugly head in any country where civil servants are not knowledgeable about basic principles of administrative law and ethics.

When a civil servant knows that his powers are not absolute and there are limitations to those powers, caution will be taken when making decisions that may affect citizens. The lectures I gave in administrative law to civil servants will go a long way in enhancing good governance principles in ministries, parastatals and other government departments.

CSTC is preparing to transform to Public service Academy. In order to achieve this, it is of utmost importance that it has legal and governance structure in place to effect this transformation. During my assignment, I drafted a standard MOU for the College. The college will use the MOU to foster relationship with its present and potential partners. Moreover, I drafted the employment and service contracts. C.S.T.C will use these draft contracts to enter legal relationship with lecturers and other service deliverers.

In addition, I contacted some members of parliament to gather more information that would enable me to draft a legal paper on the transformation of the College to an Academy. The paper will entail the legal framework of the establishment of the Academy and the governance structure that will be instituted to effectively and efficiently achieve its aims and objectives. This paper will guide the institution and its partners during the transformation period.

The most valuable part of my assignment was when I, together with my colleagues, developed and designed a diploma course in Asset Management. Sierra Leone has a poor maintenance culture, which, as recent as two months ago, contributed to a very large extent the flooding and mudslide that claimed many lives. The developing and designing of a new diploma course in Asset management will undoubtedly help to ameliorate this problem. Many government institutions have already showed interest in the course, which is an indication that natural disaster risks will be managed in the future.

John expressed his admiration for my work at CSTC and advised that I continued the good job to lift Mama Salone out of its present state. According to him, 'we need a strong institution, and not strong leaders.

 By building the capacity of CSTC, you develop an institution that plays a very important role in strengthening accountability, transparency and, above all, good governance'. He said that he may be interested in joining the CD4D programme in the future to help develop our country.

As we parted company for the second time, I kept visualising in my mind how CSTC will in the future transform into an Academy through the help of the CD4D programme. CSTC needs this unique IOM programme to improve its governance, management and legal departments.

Of course, I am delighted to be part of this knowledge transfer to CSTC. Undoubtedly, there is no denying that I would continue to play an important role in effecting change in Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone is the only place that I have!