The purpose of the MoU is to foster cooperation between NU and SLMA for the development of maritime education in Sierra Leone by strengthening institutional capabilities of the parties in the discharge of their legal mandate and responsibilities.
The areas of cooperation between the two entities according to the MoU are: Plan and conduct detailed feasibility study to establish the School of Maritime Studies at Njala University; Establish and deliver approved and internationally accredited training courses targeting international certification of seafarers in accordance with the STWC Convention requirements and other maritime personnel; Facilitate professional training activities designed for students through sea-time placement for students in training; Collaborate with other establishments and sectors in the wider maritime industry to develop and deliver training courses and programmes that serve their specific needs; Promote capacity building activities for staff of NU and SLMA through in-house and external training courses and educational tours; Mobilize resources for development activities that will benefit the immediate and long-term interests of the maritime industry; Conduct joint scientific research through development and design of projects, including mutual exchange of research findings, scientific and technical support, information and documentation; Provide technical assistance and cooperation in the development of the Sierra Leone Maritime Policy and marine pollution matters; and Support increased participation and retention of women in the marine industry and actively promote gender equality.
Earlier before the signing of the MoU done by SLMA Executive Director and NU Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Ken Philip Sondai and Prof. Abdullah Mansaray respectively, a number of speakers including the Chairman Parliamentary Oversight Committee Hon. Dixon Rogers, Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation Sadiq Sillah, among others spoke saliently on empowering women in the maritime community and the economic benefits that would follow.
A message from Kitack Lim, Secretary General, International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, was displayed via power-point. He stated among other things that: “Empowering women is not just a concept. It is a necessity that requires strong, positive action to address deep-seated structural, institutional and cultural barriers.” He added that shipping has always been a male-dominated industry and the same applies to many of the associated jobs and professions in the maritime community. He said gender equality has recognized as one of the key platforms on which people can build a sustainable future and that it is one of the 17 goals that underpin the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Agenda.
According to Mr. Lim, “The maritime community itself is missing out on a huge talent pool if it fails to properly empower women in the workplace. Gender-diverse teams are more productive than male dominated teams and gender-diverse workplaces promote better job satisfaction, employee engagement and retention. Having more women in the workplace is beneficial for organizations as a whole, for men and for women.”