Four women and child rights organisations in Sierra Leone have been enlightened on the urgent need to have boards that play more active oversight roles in the management of their organisations. This was an outcome of a five-day training organised by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) to partners of the Fund for Global Human Rights in Sierra Leone.
The training took place in Bo, in the Southern part of Sierra Leone, from 21 – 25 October 2019.
Action for Community Task (ACT), a community-based organisation (CBO) in Pujehun in southern Sierra Leone participated in the training. Like other organisations, during the training, ACT identified some weaknesses in the operations of its board. This confirmed some of the governance challenges identified in the organisation during a capacity needs assessment conducted by WACSI prior to the training.
According to Sadiatu Kemokai, Director of ACT, “one of the challenges that came out clearly is that it is not a matter of having a board [only], but, making it functional”.
This requires stringent measures to be put in place to have a functional board that will provide the needed oversight support in ACT.
During the training, four representatives of ACT; a board member, Sonny Leigh, the director Sadiatu Kemakolai and two staff Julius and Mohammed Kemokai keenly committed to taking a measure that would serve as a panacea to this challenge.
“In our group work, we decided that one of the key activities we have to do is to take an assessment of our board and see which changes we are to make and what we have to put in place to make them [the board] functional,” Kemokai added.
She explained that ACT has been severally frustrated by board members’ irregularity at meetings; an occurrence that can paralyse organisations.
Recognising the impact these actions by the board are having on the organisation, the board member who took part in the training resolved to play a lead role in addressing these challenges.
“When we go back, we should, first of all, have a board charter which my CBO hasn’t got. Then, we let the board know that they have a role in the area of governance of the CBO and that they should guide the CBO properly based on the road that they have to go based on the strategic plan,” Sonny Leigh, board member of ACT said.
These were some of the resolutions they reached at during the training. They believe that if all the measures identified at the training are put in place, ACT will have a very functional board.
Leigh took upon himself the responsibility to make these happen, because, from the training, he was made to understand that if the board is functional, it will give ACT proper guidance to achieve its objectives. A goal he is bent on achieving.
“I will make sure that I am very much active and functional in giving directions from the training that I have got from my tutors,” he said after the training.
This five-day training covered topics such as organisational governance, leadership and talent management, sustainability and resource mobilisation and communicating impact.