The Milton Margai Technical University has donated the sum of Fifty Thousand Leones (Old notes fifty Million Leones), a research grant to the Metchkem women Stone Breakers Association.
The event which took place at the Mechcan community was to give out grant money to the stone breakers as a help for them to start small businesses.
The research was done by Dr. Juta, a lecturer at the university, she looked at the Livelihoods and Women Economic empowerment: a case study of stone breakers in Post-War Sierra Leone, its effects, and ways how to transform the lives of the miners.
The project started with the research class led by the American Fulbright Scholar at the University, Professor Brown. He encouraged the lecturers to research issues affecting the community around the University.
Dr. Juta decided to research stone miners around Goderich Campus. With the help of the Chairman of the stone miners’ association, she was able to talk to the women and men stone breakers. Realizing their predicament, she decided to contact SowHope for assistance.
SowHope is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt, non-profit, international, charitable organization based in Michigan USA whose mission is “To inspire women around the world by promoting wellness, education, and economic opportunities”. It is one of the few global organizations focusing exclusively on the holistic needs of women living in extreme poverty. The organization has partners in 23 countries,” the grant given was to be used to start a microcredit group among the women stone breakers.
This move is an example of the work of Universities around the world to help solve the needs of communities through research.
On behalf of the Vice Chancellor and Principal at the Milton Margai Technical University, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Director of Academic Affairs, Alhaji Dr. Mohamed Ali Jalloh noted that, the institution is moving away from the other traditional universities whose purpose is largely banked on training professionals rather than impacting the lives of the ordinary people, noting that, with all these professionals we are still as a country struggling to solve our problems, so we think if this country is to develop; we have to pay attention to the middle-level manpower, those young women and men without formal education have skills which can tap in for development, we hold the view that everyone is important, he added.
“As an institution, we are focusing more on research that solves societal problems, and if these problems are not addressed that means we have failed as a Technical University, we believe we should create an impact in the lives of everyone,” Alhaji Jalloh registered.
He advised the beneficiaries to protect the grant and work towards sustainability; he thanked Dr. Juta, Dr. Sankoh, Prof. Brown and Mr. Papa N’jai for working very hard towards the progress of the institution.
The community people expressed thankfulness for the gesture noting that, this is the first time a university has come to the community to address their problems practically, and they promised to work hard to sustain it.
The university is also working on other research areas like “Investigating the use of strategic Human Resource Management in Hospitality Industry in Sierra Leone, the Impact of customer service on guest satisfaction in selected hotels in the Western District of Sierra Leone, Sand Mining in Coastal Areas: A threat to the sustainability of Beach Tourism in Sierra Leone, Food Safety and Hygiene practices among street food (“Cookery”) sellers in Freetown, The use of Aphrodisiac and its health effect from the perspective of Tourists and Locals, and the impact of Micro Credit on small and medium enterprises operated by women in Sierra Leone.