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Participatory planning in Freetown’s informal settlements

Mr Yirah O Conteh, national Chair of the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor (FEDURP), will share the importance of participatory planning
My name is Yirah Oryanks Conteh, the national chairperson for the Federation of Urban and Rural Poor, and in my community I’m the disaster management chairperson.
Participatory planning is very, very, important. It is very, very, important because it involves the community and planning on how we want to see our community look like. Because before, the concept we have in our communities is develop before we plan, which was not a very good initiative. We really face a lot of challenges in terms of participatory planning. So that’s why if somebody or some people have the intention, or have the courage, to do that particular one, one of the first things they need to have first is courage. You need to have courage because that one, involving people, is not a project, but a process.
It takes a long time to convince and dialog for people to understand your concepts, in participation. So, one of our challenges is that people do not have time. Coming to meetings, explain things, people don’t have time, you understand? Some people don’t believe in working together. He believes, this is what I believe, this is what I want to do, I have the money. OK, do it this way. You understand? That’s what some people believe. If you listen to them, OK, it can work. If you don’t listen to them, they don’t believe in participatory planning. They don’t believe in that. They believe in the autocratic leadership. They say one thing and they want it to happen.
And in fact, participatory planning is like democracy. Everybody come on board and talk exactly to see how things will happen. Everybody comes with their own ideas to think on how we want to see our community look like in the future.

Mr Yirah O Conteh, National Chair of the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor (FEDURP), will share the importance of participatory planning for the residents of Freetown’s informal settlements.

He will also discuss some of the challenges associated with organising participatory planning processes.

Yirah lives in the hillside settlement of Dwarzack, one of Freetown’s largest informal settlements. To learn more about this area, please visit point 11 on the Freetown interactive map.

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