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In Sierra Leone, local community members living in the mining areas of the Bonthe and Moyamba districts didn’t know much about how a community development fund provided by IFC client Sierra Rutile Limited (SRL) was being managed and used—and this was causing some dissatisfaction. IFC introduced a CSC process to start engaging communities on the issue. A key partner in the process was the local community development committee, made up of representatives from across the five chiefdoms within the company’s footprint and charged with oversight and management of the fund.
SRL, Sierra Leone’s leading mining company, biggest taxpayer, and largest private sector employer earmarks $100,000 annually to be spent on community-driven initiatives—funding that is transferred to communities in accordance with Sierra Leonean law. In March 2020, IFC introduced the committee to the CSC and how it could help improve their governance and transparency. Later, committee members and community representatives participated in a CSC process, to explore how to ensure that selected development projects reflect priority community needs. Among the outcomes: increased committee awareness about the importance of involving diverse voices in decisions—including women, youth, and the marginalized—, increased community awareness about the role of the committee, and broad acknowledgement that bringing stakeholders together for constructive dialogue builds consensus, strengthens relations, and creates value.