Orange Connects 1,170 New Localities

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Orange Connects 1,170 New

Localities   

Since 2016, our focus has been to be in touch and to connect what is essential in people’s lives.

Our ambition is to deliver an unmatched customers experience.

In order to improve on our quality of service, orange has invested a total of ($ 114.4) one hundred and fourteen Million four hundred thousand Dollars in excess;

  • Modernizing our passive infrastructure by replacing
  • 105 generators
  • Replacing 282 DC power systems
  • Modernized our active RAN equipment
  • Launched our world class data centre and changed our core equipment’s.
    •  CS (MSC) core node which handle voice traffic.
    •  PS core nodes which handle data traffic to the internet.

  Expand our rural connectivity, we built

  • 45  new sites in 2017,
    • 42 new sites in 2018 and
    • Committed to construct additional 55 new sites in 2019.

To achieve this,we were met with several challanges such as ;

  • Site accessibility
  • Heavy rains
  • Core node migration impact on voice and data services
  • Localized service availability during equipment replacement
  • Shipment delays and
  • Grid availability

Amidst all of these challanges, Orange continues to pursue a strong industrial project in Sierra Leone that is geared towards covering most of the country with telecoms services, that will improve rural connectivity and also our quality of service.

Today, they are proud to inform you that we have completed 55sites committed in 2019, thereby connecting more than 1,170 new localities, with thousands of Sierra Leoneans now accessing data, voice and financial services for the first time.

Orange is now a proud owner of 391 sites across the country

 .Today, we can comfortably boast of the widest network coverage in Sierra Leone covering about 74% of the country’s population

Life at Burmeh is Tough

By Mustapha Dumbuya

The major courses of illness within the country are preventable with modern technology and medical advances.

Most deaths within the country are attributed to nutritional deficiencies, lack of access to clean water, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, anemia, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS.

Maligie Burmeh Kamara, vice chairman clean Sierra  Leone  said  he has been managing the  burmeh  dumping  site for over 15 years  adding  that  life  at  burmeh  is  miserable  and they  are  only sacrifices  their  life.

Kamara, said   government  did  not add any value to their job because they  have be calling on the Freetown City Council (FCC) to fulfills all what they requested, like good  water  facilities and even toilet facilities and many more.  

“We have  groomed our children here, some of them have started attending  school even though life is  difficult  because we have faced  with different  types of  disease  and  sometimes fill  like we  are not belong to  the society”. He said.

He revealed that people  came  from  different communities to  buy  some  of  the items  they  extracted  such as  silver, gold, phones and  man y more  which they  always  sell  for  survival.

He pointed  to one  side  of  the  fence that has been broken    down  and made the complain to Council but nothing yet have  be done  to  fix  it  adding  that as  the place is too open for the  public   he have  no  control over the  site.

He ended by calling on the Sierra Leone government and the Freetown City Country (FCC) to always adhere to their  complains and try hard to solve  them.

Tenneh Sesay, a plastic picker said she had been in the job for over  5 years since the end of  the Ebola  virus  in sierra  Leone when  she  finally decided to join her  colleagues in the  dumping site.

“I have  lost my husband during the Ebola epidemic,  with 3 children  to take care of  especially those  going to school and I  have  no source of  income that pressed me  to join the  job”. She said with tears on her face.
Tenneh, said most  time  they have  been faced  with disease because the  environment is  not  conducive for  them especially  at this time  when smoke is all over the  place  suffocating  and exposing them  to health  hazards.

She  ended  by  castigating  the  Government  of  Sierra  Leone for being  left  out with her kids of  the post  Ebola  founds and  calling on  the  humanitarian  organization  to  aid  her.

Mariatu Bangura, a plastic picker at the Burmeh dumping site said this is one of the most successful jobs ever in her life because ever since she migrated in the capital city Freetown this is the only job she  has associated herself  with.

Mariatu also said being a breadwinner in Sierra Leone especially in Freetown is not an easy task adding that she is grateful to God as for now.

“I am a breadwinner with 4 children, I have been working here for over 15 years and have nowhere to get income to feed my children , only by plastic picking  makes me to survive.” she said.

She also said that one day she will like to quit from the job if only government will able to provide her rent and financial support for her children.

Salaiman Parker, Environment and Social Officer Freetown City Council (FCC) said the Freetown waste management was in charge with MAZADA not until last year when they handed over to Council.

Mr. Parker revealved MAZADA lost the contract because they could not fulfill their promises   to transform the Freetown waste to energy project.

They could not also give the road map for the waste energy project, employing over 1000 youth within a year and provide 100 trucks. 

He added that they were aware of the complains  channeled to them but it was a great challenge   and very soon they will  solve those issues.

He noted that because Council did not have a Bulldozer machine to do the work faster that makes the dumping site sometimes over flow.

Police Suspension Affects LUC and Others

By Foday Jalloh

The local unit commander central division, Freetown west with some senior and junior officers have been suspended from office.

Their suspensions according to reports from police headquarters, is as a result of negligence in the execution of their lawful duties over last weekend

It will be recalled that on Sunday January 28th there was heavy riot within the central business area in Freetown involving some groups claiming to be SLPP members and others also claiming to be members of the main opposition, APC

 The riot lasted for hours resulting in massive damages and brought business actives in the area to a halt.

A number of SLPP members were alleged to have sustained serious injuries.    

Innocent passersby and   business people around the community also suffered  in addition to burning of vehicles and business places.

 Twenty seven   victims are said to be currently hospitalized while accusing fingers are pointing at the police for negligence.

It was alleged that the police officers abandoned the station

The suspended officers on that very day left the station without any human or capital resource  in case of any emergency situation like the Sunday unexpected riot.

 All the police over fifty    that were on duty that day is to be investigated men have to be investigated. Meanwhile, a new

 unit commander Supt.Kallon has been appointed to handle the A division

In snap interview said   he will do his utmost to combat crime within the A. division and If possible beyond           

Ministry Partners To End Drugs Intake.

The Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs, Hon. Lusine Kallon, has joined the entertainment industry and other line agencies to campaign against drug abuse and other substance misuse among young people.

He said medical researchers have opined that the exact cause of substance abuse is not clear as some are either a genetic disposition which is learned from others, or a habit which if addiction develops, manifests itself as a chronic debilitating disease.

He said they inherited a challenging situation with the youth facing the brunt, noting that it is time to act and change the ugly story but they cannot do it in isolation, hence the need for the partnership with key stakeholders.

According to him, the recent risk assessment conducted with the United Nations team from New York gave a clear picture of the exact situation of the youths in terms of vulnerability. He stressed that the assessment was to prepare them in addressing the problems of drug abuse and substance misuse among young people.

The Deputy Youth Minister assured that such a partnership will yield positive result in disorientating the negative mindset of the youth to make them responsible citizens in society.

In her address, the head of Henrietta Mbawah Foundation said the purpose of the press conference was to premiere a movie titled “Crip Town” which was produced after a visibility study on the current situation of young people.

“Our study alluded to the fact that the system has cracked and we needed to find a prompt solution,” said Ms. Mbawah.

She said what has worsened the situation is those manufacturing Indian companies that are largely producing alcohol at a very cheap price. She therefore encouraged the Government to intervene as many are not using Brewery products because they are expensive.

She also called on the parents to stop protecting a bad child that is a menace in society. She commended President Bio for given the opportunity to young people to serve at national level in all governance structures of the New Direction administration.

The Deputy Commissioner, National Youth Commission (NAYCOM), Emerson Kamara said drug and substance abuse is a national concern that needs action.

He said, “We have made a lot of commitments and what we are looking forward to now is real action.” He added that “in moving into real action you identify the key players so that a sustainable solution will be enforced.

Langumba Kelli- Director of Planning, Interagency Relations and Strategic Communications, Office of National Security said youth indiscipline and lawlessness have become an existential issue in the country and therefore recommended for a national conversation on youth issues.

He said 2020 is meant to develop a cohesive strategy and programs for the country. A strategy that will reverse such an ugly development.

He described the current crop of young people as ‘lost generation’ and declined that they are future leaders of Sierra Leone.

“Our political leaders have not been able to help the situation,” he said, whilst stressing that they used our youth during elections and later glamorized them for doing their dirty work.

Legal Aid Board Executive Director, Mrs. Fatmata Claire Carlton Hanciles called on her audience to applaud the Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs for his untiring role to address the problems of young people and “his heart is really in reforming this country.”

“Minister Kallon has done more and he is a household name because he sees himself as one of them.”

She pledged her institution’s support to promote the movie to sensitize the youth.

Chief Superintendent of the Sierra Leone Police, Mira Dumbuya, said they are on track but have limited personnel to man the entire country as according to her, we have porous borders that are serving as a gate for illicit drug importation. She said they have raided cartel and ghettos to destabilize them. She recommended a multispectral approach to addressing this problem.

SLAJ Urges Minister of Lands 

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has urged the Minister of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, Dr. Dennis Sandy, to speak to the public to respond to the many concerns being raised by citizens and non-citizens regarding his handling of land matters in the country.

During a courtesy call on the Minister on Wednesday 29th January  at his Youyi Building office, Brookfield’s, Freetown, to follow up on progress in relation to allocation of State land to SLAJ, the Association’s President, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, took the opportunity to encourage the Minister to throw light on these concerns, especially the naming of Pa-O-Pa Town.

Dr. Sandy responded by describing the Ministry of Lands as a whole industry that has been plagued by all kinds of criminal activities and conspiracies over the years. And to free the ministry from such negative situation and give it a new direction, he said they have to employ aggressive measures.

“Everybody wants land; it’s a whole industry. It’s challenging, it’s chaotic and dirty. The land space in the Western Area has been squeezed over time. Our approach has been aggressive. Sometimes we have to behave abnormally for the benefit of the country and its citizens,” Dr. Sandy explained, adding that under his leadership there’s not going to be business as usual.

Regarding his recent naming of a settlement at Grafton as Pa-O-Pa Town, Dr. Sandy said he has authority to do so under many laws including the Freetown Improvement Act (Cap 66 of 1966).

He said it was the same powers that former Minister of Lands, Bobson Sesay, used to name the settlement around the US Embassy in Freetown as South Ridge, areas around Hill Station as Plums Heath, IMATT and SS Camp; and other areas such as Angola Town and Gbangbayilla.

Furthermore, he explained that the settlement in question at Grafton was named Gibo Town or APC Corner by settlers on their own, which he described as illegal.

“We went there and found out they were state lands which were not properly acquired. So we reclaimed them and re-allocated the lands in a structured in an orderly manner, and we are monitoring every construction on that land and every other settlement that we have identified, reclaimed and re-allocated for that matter. We called the key settlers, including Gibo, to a meeting at my office and we all agreed to rename the area Pa-O-Pa Town,” explained Dr. Sandy, adding that there are many All People’s Congress (APC) supporters in the area whose land documents the Ministry has now authenticated.

He explained further: “It seems as if it is the name some people are unhappy about. When it was called APC Corner nobody raised concern. Pa-O-Pa is not SLPP. Pa-O-Pa means for the good of the country.”

The Lands Minister assured that whatever action he’s taking is supported by evidence and statutory authority of the ministry. He mentioned briefly about families historically claiming 80 to 100 acres of land without proper documentation, people with documents but no land and non-citizens acquiring huge portions of land to the disadvantage of citizens among others, but assured SLAJ he would explain all of these in detail to the public very soon.

He said on Tuesday, he would be on Radio Democracy 98.1 FM’s popular ‘Good Morning Salone’program to explain to the public and respond to further concerns and questions.

Meanwhile, SLAJ requested for state land within the central business district to construct a convention center and in the provinces for its regional bodies in the North, South and East. The SLAJ President lamented the challenge of paying rent for their headquarters in Freetown and the regions against the background of struggling times for the country’s media industry.

Dr. Dennis said it would be historic, and a big legacy for him, for the Ministry to allocate land to SLAJ and its regional bodies, but advised the Association to follow due process and procedures by putting in an application formally.

202O RALLY ENDS IN S/LEONE

Sierra Leone will be the end destination for the 2020 Budapest-Bamako-Freetown Rally involving 227 vehicles that commenced in Hungary on Saturday. 

The event will attract about 700 participants which will include international journalists, tour operators, travel writers, philanthropists, etc. from over 80 countries.

The team will travel through five (5) European countries across the Sahara onto the Guinea/Kambia border and will proceed to Masiaka where they will be received by the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs alongside local authorities.

The fleet will anchor at the Siaka Stevens Stadium where President Dr. Julius Maada Bio will deliver the keynote address to officially welcome the guests on Sunday 16th February, 2020.

As part of their tour, they are expected to also donate relief packages and plant approximately 2000 trees across the country in support of responsible tourism towards climate change.

According to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Joseph T. Kanu, Sierra Leone is being ranked high in the international global peace and security index, ahead of major leading tourism destinations in the world. As a result, the country has been chosen as the end destination.

It could be recalled that the Budapest Rally which has been organized in Hungary since 2005 and later extended to Africa, is one of the world’s biggest amateur vehicular event which serves as a humanitarian adventure to promote inter-cultural and social linkages across nations. Because it originated from Budapest to Mali as end destination, it was referred to as the Budapest-Bamako Rally.

The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs in collaboration with Visit Sierra Leone (VSL), a reputable local tour operating institution are facilitating the conclusion of the 2020 Budapest-Bamako-Freetown Rally.

SLFA-UEFA ASSIST  on leadership training

The Sierra Leone Football Association in partnership with UEFA ASSIST has at a press conference held at Home Suites Hotel Aberdeen Freetown announced a collaborative program (UEFA ASSIST Program -SLFA 2020) on leadership training, capacity building and youth football development in Sierra Leone.

UEFA ASSIST an international programme under the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) that addresses the needs of national associations and confederations outside Europe was represented in Sierra Leone by four of its experts; Eva Pasquier, Steward Regem, Kenneth Macleod and Roger Neichtry on a five-day working visit.

The team of experts from UEFA ASSIST had interactive sessions with

In her statement at the press conference, the leader of delegation Eva Pasquier said the main purpose of their visit is to engage SLFA and other development partners, including the Ministry of Sports, to identify areas of priority for assistance and support.

“This visit is the first phase of the SLFA-UEFA ASSIST program and it has given us a clear understanding on how to assist football development in Sierra Leone,” Eva maintained.

When she was making a statement at the press conference, the SLFA President Madam Isha Johansen expressed great delight over the establishment of a partnership between SLFA and UEFA ASSIST Program, adding that “the past six days has been an intense soul searching experience with the UEFA ASSIST team, addressing our present challenges in order to embark into the future.”

By way of bidding farewell to her guests, Madam Johansen presented to each of the UEFA ASSIST experts a pair of locally made clothes designed in the colors of the Sierra Leone flag (green, white and blue) as gifts.

AHEAD OF   CONGRESS, SLFA BOSS GETS WARM RECEPTION.

The President of the Sierra Leone Football Association Madam Isha Johansen was today warmly received by hundreds of youth at the Kenema City Field ahead of the SLFA Extra-Ordinary Congress tomorrow at the Albertson Multi Purpose Hall in Kenema.

The SLFA Boss was accompanied by her Executive Committee Members to witness the opening match of the Kenema District Football Association Division One tournament between Kenema FC Kallon and Rendezvous Foundation FC at the Kenema City playing field. The match ended 1-0 in favour of Kenema FC Kallon.

Speaking to the Kenema football fans at the end of the match, Johansen assured the people that the Kenema City Field Artificial Turf Project will soon resume. ”The state of the art diamond blade turf should be ready for use before the rains,” she added.

 President Bio Calls for Transformation and Innovation in Learning

  President Dr Julius Maada Bio has engaged stakeholders from the education sector in the country on his human capital development drive and called for more transformation and innovation in the country’s education sector.

Speaking earlier, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr Moinina David Sengeh, thanked the President for inviting them to the brainstorming meeting on the future of education in the country. He recalled that the President had mandated them to challenge themselves by thinking outside the box.

Having set up and run the country’s first-ever Directorate of Science Technology and Innovation in the Office of the President before he was appointed minister, the US-trained scientist said that they had put together some of best minds in education and that they were exploring different solutions to the problems the sector. He also noted that the free quality education was a great way of setting the foundation for development, adding that since the introduction of the programme in 2018, parents had been confident in sending their kids to school, which significantly increased attendance in schools.

On his part, President Bio said that he was continuing the dialogue with different stakeholders in the sector as part of his government’s human capital development agenda. He said that they were working to better position their children for the direction in which the world was headed. He stated that there was a need to think about what was needed for the children, which should also start by getting them the right education from the early stage.

“Our children are going to be living in a highly digital and interconnected world. So, we have to set the foundation and empower them now with the required skills to be useful. I think we need to be transformational and innovative. We have to think now about how our children can be meaningful and can be able to contribute to national development,” he said.

 BABYSITTING PRESIDENT

 can he act tough?

By Augustine Sorie-sengbe Marrah

Last weekend, the President and his cabinet converged again for the third cabinet retreat. Several media outlets reported that the President without mincing words berated the general shortage of satisfactory performance by cabinet members since he assumed the reins of government. In his own very words, he says that he has been babysitting them for so long and that 2020 is a year of action!

Pensive

Now, this really got me pensive. 2018 was when I first made the decision to vote in Sierra Leone despite being born and having lived all my life in Sierra Leone save for a year-long study hiatus. By the twilight of their second term in office, APC had outdone themselves on every political mischief or shenanigans and so the sweet-sounding promises of the New Direction manifesto entranced the people of Sierra Leone. The 2018 run-off was the very first time to cast a vote in my life and I was already over 30 by then. I was swayed by the tale of bravery of a twenty-something year who was at the frontlines of the civil war defending our nation against internal strife. Charmed by that military bravado, I envisioned a leadership with the audacity to enforce the laws even against his own. I was convinced beyond doubt that a man who pulled the trigger in his 20’s would certainly be aggressively bold to trigger laws to curb corruption, policies to stimulate economic growth and fiery action against lawlessness in Sierra Leone once and for all. I was convinced that he was the man of the moment so were the over-a-million Sierra Leoneans who voted for him on the basis of his manifesto.

Babysitting

So livid I was when I listened to sound bite of the President confessing that he had been babysitting the ministers. I felt disappointed for three reasons.

To start with, there is nowhere in the New Direction manifesto that the President would babysit for the first two years in office. Our nation has been left behind on almost everything in life except the fact of our existence. We are in need of almost everything but certainly babysitting ministers is not one of them.

Technocrats vs. Lackeys

Secondly, the admission by the President is telling about the competence of his team. Babies don’t run a nation; technocrats do. You see when you ignore technocrats and appoint lackeys (yes-men) you sure have a lot of tending to do to with the latter.

Distraction

Lastly, the President’s babysitting duty has just added to his huge responsibilities to lead and govern. This certainly is distracting and saps him of the energy required to focus on the tasks which he was voted to discharge.

No breastfeeding or babysitting

Now my point is that Sierra Leoneans did not vote for the President to breastfeed and babysit. He was voted to lead…to hire the right hands, minds and skills….and to fire them but not to babysit them. To babysit ministers and heads of statutory entities is nurturing incompetence and mediocrity.

Governance is not about babysitting; it is for people who have shown expertise and character in their career or work and are fully ready for the vagaries of leadership.

Appointing a baby at the ministry of lands would mean that there would just be more land disputes, abuse and misuse of office but no policies to address perennial land problems.

Giving the energy sector to an inexpert partisan would only graduate blackout to another level. Entrusting the health sector into the wrong hands would fester our health crisis. The worse is committing the economy of the nation to folks who are only au fait with textbook solutions.

Now more than ever before we seek for that man who held a rifle in defense of our nation in his youth and assumed power at 29. The man who rose to the rank of Brigadier not for babysitting but for his bravery of heart and steel will to take action. That is the man who was voted in office and not a babysitter. We hope the promises would re-echo and the gallantry of the President would arise from slumber. Give us what you promised us: a new direction in governance; a new direction in land and country planning; a new direction in electricity and water supply; a new direction in the economy; a new direction in the distribution of wealth just like you are doing in corruption and education.

How Society gave up its Role.

By,Moinina David Sengeh  

Yesterday I spent some time at municipal schools as part of an official function. We visited several classes from primary to secondary school. In each, I engaged with a couple learners directly. I took their books and flipped through to see and understand their learning. Below are some take always on how parents, teachers and administrators have absolved themselves of the responsibility for the individual learner in the system.

. A girl in class 6- taking a transition exam in a couple months had opened a mathematics book. I flipped through and was surprised she had a big red X on a basic addition problem. I did the calculations in my head and she had gotten it correct actually. So i wrote down the problem again and asked her to do it. She did. Same answer. I asked her why then it was marked wrong. She said she didn’t know. I called the teacher, showed him and he said he didn’t know how. He said that maybe during group marking someone (another pupil) marked it incorrectly. I reminded him it was his responsibility.

Now, the issue here is the potential damage this has on that child. 1. Her continuous assessment that just counts number of red x marks will be wrong; 2. Her self confidence is affected by staring at the red strikes in her book; and 3. She questions her own abilities… thereby not learning the fundamentals.

The teacher failed her by not reviewing her work. The parents failed her by not reviewing her work. The school management failed her by not reviewing the teacher. We are failing our children systematically.

B. In a secondary class, i flipped through a boy’s book who spelled the word “robbery” incorrectly. The teacher had marked it with a big red check/correct mark and written “seen”. Yet, there were several fundamental typos in this work. I again called the teacher and she said oh, she had not “seen” that section yet. Here again, the learner does not get the fundamentals right, and I am assuming his parents may not have “seen” his books either.

C. I met a learner who had done several activities in maths yet, she didn’t have any indication of feedback. I asked her teacher who then said oh, it was a new homework from the previous day. Unlucky for him, I see the details. I noted the date and that he in fact wasn’t saying the truth. But did the parent check the book to see that their child had in fact done homework a week ago that wasnt reviewed? Did the parent check the homework?

Note, the school principal was with me in each of these conversations. She said she’ll talk to the teachers. But everyone had a reason and explanation that never said it was their fault.

Fine, as Minister of Education, it’s my fault. I take the blame but you all have to help us reverse these trends.

There’s always joy in meeting young learners. They represent the future and they remain full of curiosity. But until we as society accept that we had given up on education and take back the responsibility, this task will be hard.

So, if you are a parent, here’s a simple thing you can do today and this week. 

1. Ask your child if they had homework today.

2. Give them 30 mins or however you can afford to do the homework.

3. Ask them to show you the completed homework.

4. Ask them in two days if the teacher had marked it and review.

If you are a teacher;

1. Review the work of your pupils (each) and give them feedback this week.

2. Compliment as many as possible including the ones who get 0. Promise yourself that they must get at least 10% next time.

If you are a school leader;

1. Visit a classroom and observe at least once this week and at least once every week.

2. Ask your teacher if they are ok and see if there’s anything you can do to help them. Maybe extra chalk.

If you are just like me, give a high five to a learner this week and remind them that they are a leader!

Ps- if you do any of the above please let me know below.

Pps- when you have done all of this :), ask your neighbor, workmate, friend if they have

NASSITS Thanksgiving

The National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) on Friday observed their Muslim Annual Thanksgiving Service at Mende Mosque, Circular Road in Freetown.

Delivering the Sermon, Imam Alhaji Abdul G. Koroma explained the background of NASSIT; a way to cater for old and retired workers who can no longer afford to fend for themselves but rely on the Trust for their livelihood.

Alhaji Koroma said the Trust was established by late President *Ahmed Tenjan Kabba who thought it wise to take good care of retired workers and old people.

He called on the Director General, Mohamed Fuaad Daboh, and all his staff to have respect for one another as this will help them perform their various duties amicably and responsibly.

“God sent you to that office to help this country; so please work together with your staff in the interest of the people of Sierra Leone,” he admonished.

The Director General assured the Imam and the public that he will make sure the Trust works for each and every Sierra Leonean, because it belongs to them.

He called on staff of NASSIT to take into consideration the message from Iman Koroma with regards respect for one another and to be patriotic in performing their duties at their various departments.

The DG urged all and sundry to join NASSIT as the only hope after retirement, disclosing to the Muslim Jamaat at Mende Mosque that the Trust has branches across the country for everyone, whether employed or not.

He described the celebration as ‘very important’ because as he puts it “government has increased pensions from Le 10,000 to 250,000 monthly’; which is one of the biggest achievements since he took over as DG of NASSIT a year ago.

The thanksgiving service continued on Sunday at the St. Luke Catholic Church, Wilberforce, Freetown.

The NASSIT DG reiterated the importance of giving thanks to God at all times and admonished his staff to have a clear mindset with the fear of God and geared toward efficient service delivery.

BONDO WITHOUT CUTTING: Building a healthier generation

With support from Purposeful, feminist leaders in Sierra Leone reinterpret Bondo without cutting

A growing grassroots movement in Sierra Leone, working to preserve the solidarity and significance of the Bondo Society while ending the harmful practice of Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation (FGC/FGM), has partnered with Purposeful – the feminist movement-building hub for adolescent girls and successfully organised the first ‘Bondo without cutting’ ceremony.

Despite signing up to the 2005 Maputo protocol which supports women’s rights including the eradication of FGC, there is no law in Sierra Leone that prohibits FGC. Around 90% of Sierra Leonean women have undergone the procedure, 40 percent were cut between the ages of 10 to 14 years and, until recently it was an integral part of initiation into the Bondo Society – the important and influential Sierra Leonean women’s secret society.

For most women in Sierra Leone, joining Bondo is an essential step in the transition from girl to womanhood. The secret society passes knowledge and skills from one generation to the next, strengthens solidarity among local women and promotes their social, economic and leadership interests. In order to support the growing local movement that challenges the values, narratives and institutions that perpetuate FGC in Sierra Leone, Purposeful has partnered with grassroots organisations including Amazonia Initiative Movement (AIM) and Girlz Empowered to reimagine Bondo – without cutting.

This has involved engaging “Sowies”- the Bondo leaders who perform the cutting, to understand their perspective, support them to consider an alternative without cutting, and then test the concept in practice.

Between the 14th – 29th December 2019, the first grassroots led “Bondo Without Cutting” ceremony was held in Port Loko District – Northern Region Sierra Leone. It was organised by Rugiatu Neneh Koroma, a local woman and anti FGC advocate, who shares an intimate relationship with the local community and is a Bondo member.

The ceremony kicked off on the 14th December, in Mafoki Chiefdom – Port Loko District, with a public declaration from 40 “Sowies” who voluntarily pledged to protect girls’ rights while upholding the positive aspect of their Bondo traditions. These brave “Sowies” symbolically put down their knives, blades, and their red and white Enkincha (head wrap) to wear blue and yellow Enkincha, showing their commitment to a harm-free rite of passage for initiates. They became the first set of Bondo leaders in Port Loko District to officiate the “Bondo without Cutting “ceremony.

They led 70 girls, all over 18, through the alternative initiation ceremony. In the following days, the girls learned about their cultural heritage and traditional medicine. They were also taught personal hygiene and domestic skills. On the 29th of December, the official exit ceremony was held and the uncut “Shammers” (new initiates) emerged from the bush to dance around the village in beautiful dresses.

This bold initiative has proven that another world is indeed possible. At the ceremony, Rugiatu Neneh Koroma’s said, “I am seeing a Sierra Leone free from FGM. Yes! I see that. We are building a healthier generation and all the women and girls you see here, will take an active part in educating other people in other parts of the country. We will not relent.”

Purposeful has a fundamental belief in the power of female only spaces where bonds of sisterhood and solidarity can be formed. As such, the Bondo Society is potentially critical, and the organisation is committed to working with and through partners to understand what a feminist re-imagination of these spaces – full of inter-generational solidarity and free from cutting – could look like. 

Purposeful is a feminist movement-building hub focused on amplifying girls’ voices, resourcing their resistance, building solidarity between and across girls’ movements, catalyzing collaborative philanthropy and supporting innovation in grassroots programming with and for girls.

Amazonia Initiative Movement is a local organization working to end FGM in Sierra Leone. The Founder Rugiatu Neneh Koroma believes that FGM can be eradicated by empowering women and girls to be able to make their own decisions about their bodies and well-being.

AIM is the only organization that has celebrated four public declarations of FGM practitioners to say no to FGM by putting down their knives and blades.

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A FUTURE SHOCK:

 MENTAL STATE OF YOUTHs

By Syl Juxon-Smith

DRUG ADDICTION, POLITICAL ABUSE, VIOLENCE, VIGILANTISM, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT.

THE LAW, DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHT

The Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) articulates this right to adequate health in Article 25: … It recognizes food, clothing, housing, health care and social services as essential components of a standard of living adequate for health and well-being.

DRUG SUBSTANCE ABUSE

2020 TRENDING OBSESSION WITH SANITARY PADS, TRAMADOL, SMOKING   FAECES MIXED WITH CANNABIS

There is serious cause for alarm as the general public expressed worry about some youth who now adopting a new trending using tramadol, smoking dried faces, soak used sanitary pads to drink.

This is really madness manifesting in the evolving mindset pattern of the present youth generation engulfing African society. It is not only in Sierra Leone but in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa as well just to name a few.

There is a new trend in which the youths are dangerously abusing drugs. They mix dried faces with other substances like marijuana and smoking it while others also boil either new or used sanitary pads, sieve the water and drink has become worrying development for stability and national security.

The abuse of traditional drugs such as marijuana among the youth had reduced partly due to the new trend of other cocktail drugs discovered.

Government including the security agencies must be proactive rather than the usual stance of been reactive. There are really serious challenges and government’s intervention in the sector must be to improve the welfare of the youths, human resource personnel and to boost the security situation in the country.

It is difficult to fight the new trend behaviors of youths in the society because they are a product of political abuse abandoning them to a state of hopelessness. There is lack of a legal rehabilitation regime alternative other than putting youths in adult prisons sentencing them harshly worsening the situation.

Government must update its laws dealing with youth affairs and its modern challenging problems as well as to fight the new trend of substance abuse in the society.

The society needs currently sensitization and education rather than confrontation on the dangers of drug abuse including; the smoking of faces and drinking of water from sanitary pads to help end the menace.

Government must conduct forensic research to determine the chemical composition of the sanitary pads to enable them carry out an informed sensitization to the public facilitating broad base discussions.

There is no effective program in schools curriculum dealing with youths behavior which can also be helpful helping the youths already in school not to fall victims.

Government must facilitate the enactment of a law on the holistic approach to fighting all forms of drug abuse and growing youth violence in the country.

The youths must also be counsel and advised not to be carried away by substances that were purported to make them “feel high” committing violence’s and crime that may send them to jail as they were vital in the national development drive.

Parents also must punish their children who abuse drugs and also counsel and advise them. You cannot be fighting a course without knowing what it is.

All cultures see menstrual discharge as unclean, even in the bible it is clearly stated. Some families will not even allow a woman in her period to cook for the family.

Diluting SANITARY PAD and drinking the water sieved is a diminishing mental behavior.

I won’t be surprised if such behavior is influenced by occultism and ritualistic groups.

Today youths will do anything crazy for getting rich, successful or to be recognized amongst its peers or manipulators from religion to politics under control from evil forces to ascertain allegiance.

Today we see much unacceptable behaviour from so called men of God, prophets and ritualizes going to extreme. it’s only mentally derailed individuals who will do such a disgusting thing and that is now prevailing in many African societies.

Africa is not the first continent to face the SANITARY PAD get high drug cocktail syndrome.

We all know that the practice of using cannabis or other mind-altering substances is growing in popularity day by day. The instances of teenage addiction and teenagers trying to get high are at an all-time high.

In a bid to attain an induced high, kids across the globe are exploring avenues no one could have ever imagined. Recently the news of teenagers in Indonesia using an unexpected product to get high will leave you in a state of disgust and shock.

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Indonesian Kids Are Drinking Boiled Sanitary Pad Water To Get High

As far back as 2018 Youths in Indonesia are boiling up sanitary products and drinking the resulting fluid in an attempt to get high.

Several police forces in Indonesia have reported kids having taken to this bizarre practice in an attempt to catch a buzz. They’re certainly in danger of catching something – it sounds very unhygienic.

Apparently, the resulting broth that you get from boiling up used tampons and sanitary pads offers the drinker a feeling of flying and has hallucinogenic properties.

A representative from the National Narcotics Agency, Senior Commander Suprinarto, said that the presence of chlorine in the mixture is what gives it the effects that it possesses.

These are the effect of the influence of cultural social transmission infections and diseases into Africa just like music, style and transnational crime.

National security must be very active at borders and the airport in their activities.

The borders were the first point of contact for any person coming into the country and also responsible for presenting positive image of the country.

Government security agencies, customs, immigration are the first individual’s people and visitors to the country will meet. Be professional, first impression is very important and the key imperative.

The present violent behaviors of the youths are affecting potential business investments trade and development posing threats to stability and national security.

A youth sensitization awareness boot camps must be set up to foster dialogue and mapping a way forward as a priority. A reactive posture using high handed force will only lead to greater response that may lead to social breakdown and anarchy.

A KID, YOUTH OR TEENAGER WAS NEVER BORN A DRUG ADDICT OR CRIMINAL. IT IS SOCIETY THAT MAKES THEM WHAT THEY HAVE BECOME.

POLITICIANS, GOVERNMENTS MUST OWN UP BEARING GREATEST RESPONSIBILITY TO THE TASK AND CHALLENGES.

We cannot give up now on the youths just like how we have forgiven, been tolerant and compassionate with our leaders and politicians including those who have wronged and hurt us in life.

Once there is life there is hope. Everyone deserves an opportunity and a second chance. These youths could have been your child, family member or friend.

 DG OUT LINES ACHIEVEMENTS 

The national minerals agency has updated the public on it key achievements in the mining sector.

 Briefing journalists at a press conference at the ministry of information, the Director Genera Mr., JULIUS Mattai revealed that the agency has     embarked on an exercise to review all mining contracts to ensure favorable terms for the people of Sierra Leone;

 The country  disclosed is losing hundreds of millions of  dollars on royalties and taxes from mining companies, he added  could have been  spent on tackling poverty and creating more employments for  people .

To achieve such some mainlining contracts have to be reviewed whiles others have to be terminated.

 The deputy minister of information and communication said there were rumors on social media that one of the affected mining companies has taken the government to court and won resulting to the payment of huge money by government   as compensation to the company

According to the minister of mines Foday Rado Yokie   the people of Sierra Leone should benefit from the wealth of their minerals and expressed the need to review the mining contacts

He informed the press and they have done a drop metric which they have sent to the attorney general’s office.

  The Minister said they need to review the mines and minerals act t enacted in 2009

, which he noted had a lot of inconsistencies when it comes to implementation.

 The entire essence of that act he added was to realize what they expect from the minerals but will not be realized if the policies are not correct.

 He strongly believes that the people of Sierra Leone are not benefiting from their mineral wealth’s which is oblivious, he said.

He refuted rumors on social media   that SL mining company has won a case against the government and informed that the case is still going on in court.

They display a press release from the office of the attorney general and minister of justice to prove that the rumor on social media is completely false and misleading.

The government of Sierra Leone he added has lost no case against Shandong and Sierra Leone mining companies in an international tribunal and fined $800 million.

 On the minerals sector update and achievements of the agency outlined by the director general Julius Daniel Mattai. he revealed they have ensured steady improvement in the number of licensing in the mining sector.

The number of artisanal mining licensing he said has increased from 1, 170 in 2018 to 1, and 495 in 2019, representing 28% increase.

 In 2020 they expect the artisanal mining licensing to move up to 1,600 which will increase productivity and employment in the artisanal mining areas.

 He said that in term of mining revenue they have to basically double t from ten percent to twenty percent.

The contribution of mining revenue to domestic  revenue collected he said even have a higher bar that contributions  the mining sector is making in the GDP  have  improve   from 5% percent in 2017 to 20 meaning that they have a lot of work to do.

Mr. mattai also said they have a population of 7.5 million people but still living in abject poverty which means that the mining sector has a lot to do on the improvement of the welfare of the citizens.

‘’ we are just a regulating agency responsible for implementation of those policies interrelated by the minerals sector’’ the director general said.

He said they currently have thirteen active small scale mining licensing with the NMA projecting an increase of this number in 2020 that will increase strong participation of sierra Leonean in the mining sector.

Moreover, the national minerals agency he noted had made more improvement in revenue generation

 In 2017 the agency  he  said generated non tax revenue of USD 19.9 million, USD 23 million in 2018 and USD 24 million in 2019,

The combined mining sector revenue reported recorded approximately USD 40million.

     . According to the DG. in 2020 they plan to effectively implement the use of technology to improve the monitoring and compliance of exploration and mining activities. ‘’we have already developed a prototype webapp to monitor and provide capacity building training to our compliance officer he said,.

The UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020: what does it mean for Salone?

Over the past few weeks Sierra Leones newspapers have been ablaze with reports of the UK-Africa Investment summit and the outcome for Sierra Leone. According to the UK government statement on the Summit it was focused on enabling clean energy, education and mobilisingfinancing for Africa. There were several success stories from the Summit for example a reported £326m in total in investment in infrastructure projects agreed with Ghanaian firms and £315m agreed in acquisition and investment of ingas assets in Nigeria.

Following the summit several news outlets in Sierra Leone have questioned the Sierra Leonean government over not encouraging investment at the UK-Africa Investment Summit. However, each paper failed to clearly identify which sectors they held expectations for investment. I don’t believe that its fair for Salone’s reporting of the UK- Africa Summit to measure the competence of the current government by its ability to return home with masses of goody bags worth of investments.

Now that the dust has settled it’s a great time to assess the outcomes of the UK Africa summit with the longstanding relationship Sierra Leone has maintained with the United Kingdom in mind. In the energy and education sectors Sierra Leone has received significant support through innovation funding from the UK government. In education Sierra Leone received a total of £41,696,501 for the ‘Leh we learn’ project which accounts for 66.71% percent of the total project budget of £62,499,996 a project. The project funding started on the 18th May 2016 and has a planned end date of 01 March 2021. The aim of the project is to‘establish and enable an environment for secondary school students, especially girls, to be safe, learn and achieve. The project impact evaluation is measured on improvements in the West Africa regional secondary school examinations, with the expectation that a minimum of 14,000 would Math’s and English test at the senior level.

The British Council has made its contribution to our shared prosperity and development through funding projects aimed at supporting improvements in education, increasing collaboration in higher educations, research and promote the development of arts and culture. These projects have received £2,588,503 since 01 April 2016 a total 81.76% of the project budget of £3,127,677 with a planned end date of 31 March 2020. On healthcare for adolescent girls Sierra Leone has received £710,657 with a total budget of £6,543,487 from the UK Department For International Development for a project to Support Adolescent Girls Empowerment in Sierra Leone. The project funding start date was 5th September 2016 with a planned end date of 31st March 2023. In June 2019 the current government managed to secure $70m USD from the World Bank for the government’s flagship free education with a funding period of June 2019 to June 2024.

In energy Sierra Leone on May 10th 2016, Sierra Leone’s initial commitments to the Energy Africa compact agreement part of the Energy Africa Access Campaign lead by DFID were announced at a major national Energy Revolution event in Sierra Leone. The target of the agreement where to provide modern power to 1 million people by 2020 and power for all by 2025 and increasing the number of homes with Solar power energy to 250,000 by 2017. The UK governments continued commitment to facilitating access to clean energy was demonstrated in the UK Africa Investment Summit press release. The UK will support transition to clean energy in Sierra Leone through the clean energy Pacesetter initiative.

One can understand the drive of the several news outlets to compare Sierra Leone with its neighbouring countries, however we must remember that our small but mighty Sierra Leone is only populated with roughly 7.7 million people. The UK Africa Investment Summit was a celebration of what Africa has to offer, and the extension of investment in our rainbow continent made during the summit were the starting points for successful relationships aimed at kick starting prosperity all over the rainbow continent. For the current projects in Sierra Leone that are currently receiving funding 2020 presents a great opportunity for us to look inward and demonstrate to the world that the funding that has been received has been impactful or that a difference is currently being madeto the lives of the people the funding was intended to reach through the production of accurate and opensource data. The responsibility of ‘looking inward’ is not just limited to our legislature government and non- governmental bodies it is universal.

As the old saying goes it takes a village to raise a child. Hence, it’s the responsibility of every Sierra Leonean at home and in the diaspora to ensure that education attainment targets are currently in line with funding targets. This means taking practical steps such as encouraging young children to do all it takes to attain certification in Maths and English at basic and senior level. Reporting bribery for school places in education, using social support and current legal powers to rehabilitate teachers that have engaged in bribery to ensure it does not re-occur. For those that live in the Diaspora, celebrating our education success stories from young people in Sierra Leone.

For Sierra Leone media it means disseminating positive success stories where they exist. Ensuring that education and healthcare treatment funded under SAGE -SL are truly inclusive and not discriminatory. That every child has the opportunity to achieve their full potential regardless of their gender, physical or mental ability and that our commitments to a cleaner environment are being met. It means holding each other ourselves accountable as well as our parliamentary representatives and governmental organisations by encouraging parents to make use of the free education. Meeting our responsibility all the time is challenging and it can be met with setbacks, but we must remember that the standards of success that we achieve today will determine the level of development that we attain tomorrow.

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