Social renaissance: Going back to the people


31-December-2012

Through the national dialogue launched by President James Michel in 2011, a series of 54 sessions were organised all over Mahe, Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette with nearly 5,000 people taking part in the discussions.

Souvenir photo of the delegates who took part in the meeting on La Digue

It was through this national dialogue that proposals and suggestions have been made to address the social challenges facing the country. The next step was to validate the recommendations and incorporate them in the policies and practices of the relevant ministries and organisations. These have been finalised into a national plan of action which was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in October.

So, we now have a five-year plan. Areas of weaknesses have been identified and measures have been proposed to address the present problems. The stakeholders have also been identified and the government is working to bring everyone together in a concerted effort to be more effective in tackling the ills facing the population. It is now a question of being committed and ensuring that we have the resources to make a real difference. Change won’t be a quick and easy process.

District administrators and officials of the community development and social affairs departments during one of 10 meetings

It will take time. But we are on the right track and we have taken the first steps of a long journey.

One point that was emphasised by President Michel during the presentation of the draft plan of action was the need to go back to the people.

“If we are to succeed, we need to get the people to own the plan,” he said.
This point was also raised by many delegates of the national dialogue. People wanted to be kept informed; they did not just want to share their concerns and problems but also wanted to know what was being done to address those concerns and how they could help.

Meeting with officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Transport

It is with this in mind that the chairperson of the social renaissance national committee, Designated Minister Vincent Meriton, is presently leading a series of meetings with all ministries and relevant organisations to present the finalised plan and also point out the role that they all have to play in its implementation.
 
These meetings are part of a wider campaign that is planned for 2013 to bring the plan back to the population and secure the support of the Seychellois public in its implementation.

So far 19 meetings have been held with the following organisations and groups: Ministry of Education, head teachers, Parents Teachers Associations, school councils and task forces, Ministry of Home Affairs and Transport (MHAT), senior police officers, MHAT secretariat, immigration and civil status department, transport department, Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority, Seychelles Port Authority, Seychelles Land Transport Agency, Seychelles Fire Rescue Service Agency, Seychelles Maritime Security Agency, Seychelles Public Transport Corporation, Prison Services, Air Seychelles, Ministry of Labour and Human Resource Development, Ministry of Health, Human Resource forum, government  communication team, chief executives forum, Roman Catholic Church, Ministry of Environment and Energy, social affairs department, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Industry.

Meeting with more PTA members of different zones

So far the response has been encouraging and positive from the ministries and organisations that have taken part. Many recognise the necessity of the plan and its timeliness. All see that they have a role to play. Slowly but surely, organisations that are not direct stakeholders are becoming more convinced of their role. Fewer and fewer people are asking what the plan or social renaissance has to do with them.

This process of education is the first crucial step in bringing about long-term change. Once people understand why they need to be concerned and be part of the process of change, it will be an easier task to bring the social renaissance we all want for Seychelles.

Contributed

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