OGI/OGP Directorate confab with White House /State Department and World Bank

KHADIJA SESAY 11

The Director of the Open Government Initiative /Open Government Partnership (OGI/OGP) Md. Khadija Sesay and some members of the OGP Steering Committee, Commissioner Yeama Thompson and Donald Conteh have concluded series of meetings in the United States with Officials of the State Department, the White House and World Bank. The meetings were essentially OGI’s quest in promoting openness, transparency and good governance especially at this very critical times of an unprecedented outbreak of the Ebola Epidemic.

The meeting focuses on the implementation of the country’s OGP commitments in the National Action Plan; solicit assistance to support community radio stations across the country which has played significant role in the fight against the Ebola epidemic and the desire to establish true pictures on the fight against the virus.

The Director and delegation met on Nov 11, 2014 with World Bank Lead Economist and Development Data Group Ampero Bollivian and discussed issues surrounding Open Data Readiness Assessment and Open Data Portal of which they have already agreed to provide Sierra Leone with technical assistance.

On November 12, 2014, the Director and team met with Programme Manager OGP, Independent Reporting Mechanism Joseph Foti and made assessment of Sierra Leone’s OGP Action Plan which the OGP secretariat in Washington described as robust.

Even though the country is battling with the Ebola epidemic, OGI/OGP Sierra Leone has almost implemented about 30% of the commitment embedded in the OGP Action Plan. Pointers to such implementations include the accenting of the Right to Access Information Bill to an Act, Commission established and Commissioners’ named.The establishment of a Single Treasury Account, the Local Content Policy, The EITI going through Parliament and the establishment of an Open Data Portal will provide a comfortable advantage for Sierra Leone when it will be assessed.

The Director and delegation also met with Anum Malik, Democracy and Human Right Officer at State Department,Imani Ellis-Cheek-Sy who is Specialist at the Federal Communication Commissioner, William Siemering-Development Radio Partner, Jessica Klein and Jack Karsten of the State Department, Tom Sullivan Chief Of Staff at the Federal Communication Commission and a host of others to dialogue on how to enhance information and technology and seek support for Community radios who are very supportive in the fight against the Ebola Epidemic.

The Director is also in a pole position to source funds from international partners for the planned conduct of a national survey in January 2015 to assess the levels of success and challenges in the combat against the Epidemic to be jointly implemented by OGI/OGP and all ‘Information Attaché’ in Sierra Leone Embassies across the world.

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