In the last few weeks, I have been travelling across West Africa, speaking to more than 100 people ranging from academics, journalists, lawyers, activists, survivors and victims of conflicts and human rights violations, politicians and policy makers. In fact, I am writing this piece from Banjul, The Gambia where I intend to continue my consultation on what kind of support is needed to help countries in transition cope with their transitional challenges. It’s our fourth country in as many weeks. My colleague and I have been consulting in advance of our grant-making support to civil society and community-based organisations in seven West Africa countries (more on that below). In all these countries I have been to so far, my interactions with people has led to two major revelations for me.
President Julius Maada Bio's led Cabinet will soon approve three (3) cash crops policies so as for them to meet not only regional and international standards but to provide the expected income for rural farmers and the country.
Agriculture is said to be the backbone of Sierra Leone's economy. The sector employs at least 70% of the national labour force and contributes about 40% of the gross domestic product. The government recognises the important role of agriculture in the economy and the great potential in the sector to alleviate poverty and promote economic growth.
Minister of Water Resources Dr. Jonathan Bonopha Tengbe, has confirmed to AYV that he has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Chinese engineering firm – China Gezhouba Group Company Limited (CGGC) to construct and manage the Orugu and the Congo Dams and Water Treatment Plants project.
He said the signing is important as it is consistent with the Bio-led government priority to increase access to water supply in the capital Freetown.
First Lady of Sierra Leone Mrs. Fatima Maada Bio payed an unannounced visit to the emergency hospital where she visited her 5 years old friend who was raped, as she fell in love with her brilliance and affectionate personality right from the first visit.
Few months before the ‘Hands Off Our Girls Campaign, the 5 years old girl was brutally raped and doctors diagnosed a damaged spine, which will prevent her from walking.
She is currently in a wheel chair and going through medical procedures at the emergency hospital.
A team of Air Cote D’Voire led by the Deputy Ministers of Finance and Transport and Aviation and Senior Officials from the Ministry of Transport paid a courtesy call on the Chief Minister in his office at State House past weekend.
Introducing the team, the Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation Mr. Sadiq Silla informed the Hon. Chief Minister that the team arrived yesterday to work with the Ministry to resume air transportation in Sierra Leone and that all meetings held were very fruitful.
A high-level delegation from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, led by its Regional Director, Ydo Yao, has met with His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio at State House to pledge their support to Government’s Free Quality Education Programme.
UNESCO is a UN body that seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, Science and Culture. It develops educational tools to help people live as global citizens, free of hate and intolerance. The UN body also works so that each child and citizen has access to quality education.
Staff of CRS, TCS & staff of one of the schools in front of the waiting park
The Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary (TCS), in collaboration with the Catholic Relief Services (CRC), on Tuesday 11th June 2019 commissioned and handed over the waiting area at the Logus Academy, SS Camp where there was no place for parents and visitors to wait as well as the furnished one classroom at the Saio Elementary Community School, Regent with 20 tables and 20 benches to seat between 40-60 pupils.
The Ombudsman of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Leon Jenkins-Johnston has paid an unannounced visit to institutions of higher learning in Makeni. The visit is part of the ongoing sensitisation and awareness raising drive which he started upon assumption of office in December.
Section (b) of the short title of the ombudsman’s acts states that one of the functions of the ombudsman is to investigate any action taken or omitted to be taken on behalf of “any statutory corporation or institutions of higher learning setup entirely of partly out of public funds.
Hundreds of blood donor volunteers and aspiring blood donors on Friday 14th June, 2019 gathered at the Miatta Conference Center to commemorate World Blood Donor and to sensitize would-be blood donors on the importance of donating blood in order to save lives.
The Monuments and Relics Commission (MRC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and other stakeholders, on Thursday 13th June 2019 proclaimed the gravesite of the hero of the 1898 uprising in Sierra Leone, Bai Bureh as a National Monument at a solemn and auspicious ceremony in Kassei Chiefdom in the Port Loko District at which event the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt, disclosed in her keynote address that President Julius Maada Bio is determined to make all Sierra Leoneans proud of tourism as one of the growth sectors.
Obedience is better than sacrifice! This truth was aphorized by the storied prophet Samuel in the Bible when he confronted King Saul after the latter had defied God’s explicit instruction. Consequently, God appointed David to replace King Saul. This story like many other narrations in the Bible reveals God’s character about observance of His divine instructions. I have shared previously that many Pentecostal Christians had prophesied that God had anointed His own (a born-again Christian) for the exacting task of delivering judicial justice from the hands of the oppressor and his cohorts in darkness. I certainly did not hear the voice of the Holy Spirit myself in those terms, but I associated with the desire for a new direction revival of the judiciary.
When ordinary people work together, they can change history. That core belief guides the Obama Foundation, and resonates strongly with the justice innovation philosophy that drives us at HiiL.
Of course, we can continue now with a formal text, all well meant and heartfelt. But what we really want to say, Funkola and Sorieba, a very big congrats on your Obama Fellowships!
Your selection – as two justice innovators – by the Obama Foundation fills us with joy, because we know how hard you have worked to get where you are now with your justice innovations. Like the Foundation says: ordinary people working together can change history. Well, you both have already achieved something amazing.
By David Moinina Sengeh Chief Innovation Officer at Government of Sierra-Leone, Senior TED Fellow, Nat Geo Emerging Explore, Obama Africa Leader.
There are two things people often say about invention and entrepreneurship: i) scarcity is the mother of invention, and ii) the strategy that's guaranteed to fail is one that does not involve taking risks.
Sierra Leone (and Africa) has lots of embedded scarcity and an abundance of challenges for its youth, who are either mostly unemployed or underemployed, to solve. They are young and poor enough to in fact take lots of risks. These two reasons are why we see lots of stories of (mostly young) creative "geniuses" spread across the continent.
Emmanuel B. Osho Coker - Secretary to former President Koroma
Commission 64 witness Emmanuel B. Osho Coker, Secretary to former President Ernest Bai Koroma, yesterday Thursday 13th June, 2019 explained how his former boss (the latter), approved a total of $550,000 for his property to be rented by the Petroleum Directorate in 2014.
Led in evidence by State Counsel, Khadija Zainab Bangura, the former secretary to the president said he was reluctant initially to rent his property to any government entity, but that the former president convinced him to relax his position.
Minister of Lands, Housing and the Environment, Dr. Dennis Sandy has missed 2 marks and grabbed 15, as he underwent a driving test for the Quinquennial renewal of his driver's license.
The minister, who drove to the Headquarters of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) on Kissy Road in the east of Freetown, took the practical, theoretical and eyesight tests in the presence of the Executive Director, David Panda Noah.
The Transport Manager, DC Kaitibi, Public Relations Manager, Abdul Karim Dumbuya and a host of other staff of the all-important government's institution were also present.
Lack of adequate health facilities has been one serious challenge faced by residents in rural communities and Hamilton village has been one of such health deprived communities. As a way of boosting its community health post, Pikin Bizness and Daystar Adopt-A-Village donated cartoons of Vitamins for women and children in the community and its surrounding villages.
Dr. Adonis Abboud is Chairman Pikin Bizness, an organization working to support children with health related assistance, economic and educational supports, he said Pikin Bizness was touched by the disappointing fact that a whole populated community like Hamilton has just a small health post instead of a hospital that will cater for its population.
Voluntarily donate blood today and save a life you do not know
By Aruna Turay (Voluntary Blood Donor)
Voluntary Blood Donors in Sierra Leone will today join millions of their counterparts across the world to celebrate World Blood Donor Day 2019.
As part of today’s celebration, Voluntary Blood Donors will assemble at Congo Cross in the west and Cotton Tree in central Freetown and march to the Miatta Conference Hall where they will be celebrated and appreciated by the public. The event will also be marked with a certification and recognition awards ceremony to Voluntary Blood Donors.
The Mayor of Kingston-upon-Hull in the United Kingdom, Steven Wilson, has paid a courtesy call on His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio at his State Lodge residence, Hill Station in Freetown.
Mayor of the Freetown City Council (FCC) Yvonne Aki Sawyer, who presented the visiting team to President Bio, said that the Mayor from the UK was in the country as part of the celebration of forty years of twinning between the FCC and the City of Hull. She said the twinning relationship started back in 1979 by a female Mayor.
According to a spokesman for the Ahmad Tejan Kabbah Foundation, the former President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and wife, Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma have consented to attend the formal launching ceremony of the Ahmad Tejan Kabbah Foundation at the prestigious Bintumani Conference Centre in Freetown on Sunday 16th June, 2019.
The former President and wife received a high- power delegation from the Ahmad Tejan Kabbah Foundation in Makeni yesterday.
In an effort to promote good governance in Sierra Leone, the West African Civil Society Forum has held a capacity and knowledge building on the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance for thirty (30) civil society organizations (CSOs) in Sierra Leone on their role to question the work of parliamentarians. The program took place at Bintumani Hotel in Freetown.
The West African Civil Society Forum (WACSoF), is the umbrella network of civil society organizations (CSOs) from the fifteen member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). WACSoF is a civil society membership organization and a partner and advisor to ECOWAS.
(MFAIC Press Office Freetown: Thursday 13th June 2019): The Sierra Leone Diaspora Union on Thursday 13th June, 2019 briefed the Hon. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Solomon J. Jamiru Esq on issues ranging from migration to investment at his Tower Hill office in Freetown.
Moderating the meeting, Maada Ansumana Kamara, the Secretary General of the Sierra Leone National Union in The Gambia, briefed the Hon. Deputy Minister about the deliberations at the just concluded diaspora Policy Workshop on Migration and other issues.
Information reaching this press indicates that the life of a well-known Sahn Malen youth and human rights activist, Mohamed Dumbuya formerly residing in Kenema, southern Sierra Leone is in danger after he was attacked by an irate mob accusing him of double standards in the Sahn Malen crisis that resulted in the loss of at least one life.
Our investigations reveal that prior to the Sahn Malen crisis involving residents and owners of the Sahn Malen Oil Palm;
District Operational Officer Moyamba District David Swarray
Moyamba District Operational Officer, in charge of Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), David Swarray disclosed to journalists observing the Measles / Rubella vaccination campaign in the district that Ribbi Chiefdom in Moyamba district that boarder with Mabang in the Portloko district Western Area Rural have denied their children the right to access the vaccines.
He said prior to campaign the DHMT embarked on different messages in order to raise awareness and benefit of the vaccine to children.
The EPI boss also commended the District Medical Officer for the Moyamba district as he too was on the ground to talk with parents in the affected villages.
He said the recent shortage of fuel in district also hinders mobility of health workers in remote communities, noting that most health workers were unable to get fuel quota in the early stages of the campaign.
Eleven accused persons who were recently arrested in Freetown and charged to court for their alleged involvement in committing multiple offences, have been re-arraigned before Magistrate Hannah Bonnie adjudicating over the Freetown Magistrate Court No.1 at Pademba Road.
The eleven accused persons are charged with offences ranging from Riotous Conduct, Disorderly Behavior to Throwing Missiles, which violate certain core sections of the Public Order Act of 1965.
Sierra Leone is known as a destination for teenage pregnancy and early marriage and the effect has been worrisome in society, especially in regard to women and girls’ empowerment.
In support of government’s development priorities, Marie Stopes - Sierra Leone (MSSL) has launched the second edition of its ‘Rain Season Koba Klos 2019’ promotion. The launch took place at Marie Stopes head office conference hall, Ahmed Drive, Aberdeen, west of Freetown.
Around 300 investors gathered in London for the UK-Sierra Leone Trade and Investment Conference jointly supported by the UK and Sierra Leone governments. In his statement, President Julius Maada Bio made some commitments.
“As a government, we are committed to doing more trade and investment. Development assistance is fine but what we need to do in Sierra Leone is to urgently create thousands of jobs for our young population while expanding and diversifying our economy in order to make it more resilient. We believe it takes private capital to do that and lots of it too.
The Independent Police Complaints Board has held a capacity building and training session on basic investigation skills for civilian oversight practitioners in Sierra Leone. The training took place at their office at New England Ville in Freetown.
The mandate of the Independent Police Complaints Board is to receive, investigate and monitor complaints from civilians about the Sierra Leone Police, in order to protect people from abusive police practices as well as serve as a conduit for the public to hold the police accountable for any misconduct or violation of human rights.
The Board receives and examines all complaints that fall within its mandate and should ensure that citizens have access to prompt and transparent process for handling and investigating complaints. The Board will self-direct investigations and convey the public’s interest in addressing organizational and systemic challenges facing the Sierra Leone Police.
In an interview with Richard Shealton Freeman who is the Executive Chairman, Independent Police Complaints Board he said the training is for IPCB investigators to learn how to carry out investigations involving police officers as offenders and also for them to be able to write reports.
He mentioned that the Independent Police Complaints Board investigates cases of police causing injury to civilians by shooting or through some other way that is not expected of a police officer whose constitutional mandate is to save lives and property.
He added that currently the IPCB is investigating a total of fifty cases involving police as offenders. He lamented however that adequate funding is a challenge which hampers the work of the Board. He used the opportunity to urge the government to come to their aid as the work of the Board is a contributing factor to peace and national cohesion.
He encouraged the public to have trust in the IPCB as they are ready to listen to the public and build confidence.