The seminar was organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA UK), and it was an opportunity for Sierra Leonean MPs, elected in the general Elections in March 2018, to increase their skills and build their confidence in their new role. The emphasis of the seminar was on technical and communications skills, but it also covered topics such as cross-party co-operations, being an effective backbencher, and working well with clerks.
CPA UK has worked with the Parliament of Sierra Leone on a number of capacity-building training programmes for both MPs and staff. In 2016, CPA UK provided technical assistance to MPs and clerks of the Health and Sanitation Committee after the Ebola crisis. In 2017, CPA UK provided a training programme for clerks focusing on committee inquiries.
The seminar was a start of a three-year Strategic Partnership between CPA UK and the Parliament of Sierra Leone, to provide technical capacity-building support to MPs and staff.
The CPA UK Delegation Leader, John Mann, said: ‘‘There are a number of opportunities for MPs at the beginning of the new parliament.
It is my hope that through this Post-Election Seminar we will be able to build the confidence of newly elected MPs and that this will be the start of a partnership that will strengthen the relationship between our parliaments.’’
The delegation also met with key stakeholders to deepen their understanding of the current political, parliamentary and societal situation in Sierra Leone. As part of their programme, they met with the President and senior leadership of the Parliament. They also visited a project funded by the UK Department for International Development focusing on health and reproductive rights, and a wildlife conservative sanctuary.