Action for Community Task (ACT), a community-based organisation in Pujehun, in the southern part of Sierra Leone was among four civil society organisations that took part in a five-day training in Bo, Sierra Leone.
ACT was the only organisation that had a board member participate in this training. Sonny Leigh, a board member of ACT has been serving on the board for two years.
In an exclusive interview, Sonny Leigh shared his perspectives on the training with Jimm Chick, Head, Knowledge Management and Communication Unit caught up with the board member.
According to Leigh, if an organisation has a functional board, it will have the right guidance to achieve its mandate.
Below is an excerpt of the interview.
Jimm Chick (JC): Thank you very much for talking to the communications team of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Can you please introduce yourself?
Sonny Leigh (SL): My name is Sonny Stephen Leigh. I am a board member for Action for Community Task (ACT), Pujehun District. The CBO is involved in targeting women and children protection issues; [protecting children that are raped and preventing violence against women].
JC: For how long have you been serving as a board member?
SL: I have been a board member for about two years now?
JC: What are some of the challenges you experience in your work as a board member?
SL: Well, the challenges we have or I have is with the frequency of our meetings. Also, the interference of the council and other sectors that [expect] the CBO to be answerable to all other areas of the intervention [which is not their focus].
JC: What are some of the lessons that you’ve learned that you will apply in your organisation?
SL: This training is very much rich and educative. The lesson that I have learned is that when we go back, we should, first of all, have a board charter which my CBO hasn’t got before. 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 that they have. So, when we go back, we are going to make sure that we form a board charter and have regular meetings.
Normally, the board is the powerhouse of the CBO. If they are functional, then, the CBO will have a proper direction. [The board needs] to be able to guide the director of the CBO for the CBO to have a focus and direction.
JC: How differently will you play your role as a member of the board?
SL: I think by 2020, 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. The board, the director, the staff have to work collectively to make sure that the CBO achieve its targets.
JC: What is your overall impression of this training?
SL: The training is very fantastic. Very good. The tutors are very good. The kind of enthusiasm that you’ve got, you know, WACSI, and what you’ve displayed to us, that will give us more power that when we go back, we will also be able to cascade to the other colleagues that we’ve left behind and even to the environment that we will be serving.