International Trade Centre Applauds MUNAFA Fund

Trade Minister, Dr. Edward Hinga Sandy 

By Mohamed Sheriff, Information Attaché, Geneva, Switzerland

The Honourable Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Edward Hinga Sandy, accompanied by the Chief Director and Professional Head of the Ministry, Mr Emmanuel Konjoh, held a closed-door meeting with the leadership of the International Trade Centre (ITC) and discussed wide range of issues around Trade Governance Architecture and the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AFCFTA) implementation in Serra Leone.

The International Trade Centre is a joint agency of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The meeting was hosted by the ITC. 

The Sierra Leone delegation was welcomed by ITC’s Deputy Executive Director, Madam Dorothy N. Tembo, and the Chief of Africa Division and Programme Manager for EU-funded West Africa Competitiveness Project (WACOMP), Yared Defecado. 

In her remarks, the ITC Deputy Executive Director, Madam Dorothy N. Tembo, commended Sierra Leone for its initiatives in helping businesses grow back better from the COVID -19 pandemic and made a special commendation of the “MUNAFA FUND” launched by His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio, to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) especially those owned by women which account for 70% of beneficiaries. 

The Deputy Executive Director further maintained that the importance of such an innovative financing model is critical to poverty reduction among the ordinary people, and emphasized the ITC would like to closely study, evaluate and learn from Sierra Leone’s ‘’MUNAFA FUND’’ implementation experience and roll it out to other countries for possible programme intervention in future crisis situations.

She assured the Minister of Trade and Industry of her organisation’s commitment to continuing to work with Sierra Leone, and that a New Country Work Programme will be developed for implementation in the near future.

In his response, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Honourable Dr Edward Hinga Sandy, thanked the International Trade Centre Senior Management team for the warm reception accorded to him and his delegation and praised the ITC for its current programme of work in Sierra Leone.

He said the need to build the capacity of MSMEs to becomeexport-ready and market-competitors is critical to the overall private sector development agenda of President Dr Julius Maada Bio’s government. 

Dr Sandy further maintained that the lack of Trade Statistics undermines the design and development of policies and urged the International Trade Centre to work with his Ministry to address this challenge supporting it to roll out the “One Trade Africa Observatory”. 

On the West Africa Competitiveness Project (WACOMP), the Trade Minister noted that the impact is being felt by the beneficiaries within the four (4) value chains identified and that more is urgently needed to enable MSMEs to take advantage of the numerous preferential market opportunities available to them. 

In the end, both parties agreed to continuous engagement to channel necessary support to private sector actors in Sierra Leone and provide them with access to trade supporting institutions around the globe.

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SLAJ Prexy Urges Media Owners to Comply with NASSIT & NRA Regulations

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

The President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, has urged media owners to comply with the regulations of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) and National Revenue Authority (NRA).

He made this call during his speech at SLAJ’s Triennial General Meeting in Makeni on the theme: “Towards an Economically Viable and Independent Media”.

“How do we ensure the welfare of our reporters? This is an age-old problem of the media industry in this country”, he said, adding that When media houses become economically viable entities, it should naturally reflect in the welfare of reporters or journalists. “That is why we are urging all media owners to adopt new and innovative approaches to their operations.

“We also urge us all to be compliant with NASSIT and NRA regulations, and for the IMC to be robust in ensuring compliance.

“In the meantime, we are also working with the Sierra Leone Reporters Union (SLRU), probably the largest affiliate body of SLAJ and the most affected by what we have repeatedly described as poverty of the media, in their engagement with the Ministry of Labour to acquire a bargaining certificate that will help to address their welfare situation,” he remarked.

On the significance of his call, President Nasralla said the welfare of journalists is so close to the heart of his administration that in the ongoing AGM, they want to begin discussion on financial inclusion of journalists. “We have invited Mr. Solomon Mwongyere, General Manager ILCUF Ltd to talk to our members about managing personal finances using the credit union model where journalists will be encouraged to own, use, control and benefit from credit unions. Journalists can save and take credit at low interest rates”, the President noted.

Speaking on self-regulation, Mr. Nasralla said public interest journalism depends on economic viability, independence and professionalism of the media, calling on all journalists to take that route now.

“To support this path, the Disciplinary Committee (DC) is now very active in promoting adherence to the SLAJ Code of Ethics. Under the NED project to promote professionalism in the media sector in Sierra Leone, the DC is now supported to do its work with the help of District Media Monitors across the country. The DC recently embarked on provincial trips to appraise the work of the monitors and to hear cases of professional misconduct and threats against the work of the media. They are expected to submit a report to the general body during this conference.

“On Friday night, we will continue with our Annual National Media Awards which also seeks to recognize excellence and promote professionalism in the media sector,” he explained.

He ended by thanking Government for fulfilling its promise in giving SLAJ One Billion Leones as subvention for 2021 and 2022.

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New Leones Take Effect 1st July 2022.

New Leones Take Effect 1st July 2022

The Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) says Redenomination starts on 1st July 2022 with the New Leones used side by side with the Old Leones until 30th Sept. 2022, and use of Old Leones will stop on 1st Oct. 2022 but can still be exchanged at BSL from 1st Oct. till 15th Nov. 2022 when it will cease to be legal tender. 

According to a Public Notice signed by the Bank Governor, Professor Kelfala M. Kallon, the redenominated currency shall become legal tender on 1st July, 2022, pursuant to Section 1 (3) of the Redenomination of the Leone (Characteristics) Regulations 2021. 

“The existing currency shall continue to be legal tender (concurrently with the redenominated currency) for a transition period 1st October, 2022”, the notice states.

It adds “The existing currency shall cease to be legal tender effective 1st October, 2022”.

The notice also says “Notwithstanding [the above], from 1stOctober to 15th November, 2022, the public may exchange the existing currency for the redenominated currency free of charge at the Bank or such other places designated by the Bank.”

“The Bank shall cease to exchange the existing currency for the redenominated currency after 15th November, 2022, subject to the provisions of section 30 (3) of the Bank of Sierra Leone Act 2019.”

The notice ends by saying that all provisions herein shall remain in force unless otherwise stated in a subsequent Public Notice issued by the Bank and published in the Gazette.

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Parliament Passes The National Electronic Communication Act 2022.

The Parliament of Sierra Leone has on Wednesday 22/06/2022 passed into law with some amendments the bill entitled, “The National Electronic Communication Act 2022”, after committing it to the Legislative Committee for further scrutiny.

The bill seeks to establish the National Communications Authority and to provide for the licensing and regulation of electronic communication operators and other related matters.

Earlier, the bill has been debated intensively by Members of Parliament, outlining its positive effects on the development of information and technology for the nation.

The Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Solomon Jamiru Esq. piloted the enactment of the said bill.

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SLRSA Cautions Scrap Metal Dealers.

By Hassan Nelson Barrie, SLRSA Outreach & Communications

Executive members of the Sierra Leone Scrap Metal Dealers Association on Wednesday June 22, 2022 met with the Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority [SLRSA] at the Authority’s headquarters Kissy Road, Freetown.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss some key issues identified by the Authority relating to the business of scrap metals in the Country.

Addressing the meeting, the Executive Director, Rev. Smart Kelson Senesie expressed appreciation to the Executive members of the Association for responding to the call of the Authority. He disclosed that, scrap metal was a very important business as they provide employment and pay taxes to the government. The E.D advised the Association to operate within the confines of the law.

The Executive Director highlighted some key concerns which he requested both the scrap metal dealers and the Authority to jointly address some of these concerns were: sale of vehicles as scrap and the disposal of Vehicle Number Plates without reference to the Authority. He said vehicle number plates were the property of the SLRSA therefore, they must be returned to the Authority before the sale of any vehicle as scrap.

He informed the meeting that, the Authority had a mandate to keep data of all vehicles in the country and added that, for a vehicle to be sold as scrap without the return of the registration plate will distort the data of vehicles in the country. Rev. Smart admonished the Association to collaborate with the Authority in order to address the concerns raised.

The President of the Association, Abdulai Daboh informed the meeting that, the Association had a membership of over 29,000 people. He said they deal in Brass, Copper, Aluminum, Plastic and Batteries. He however, noted that, as an Executive they had cautioned their membership to always do legal business and also to desist from buying government assets without going through due process.

Acting Director of Transport SLRSA, Daniel C. Kaitibie said the SLRSA was the government agency responsible for the regulation of the road transport industry with a responsibility to keep data of all registered vehicles in the country and warned against the disposal of vehicles as scraps without the approval of the Authority.

Public Relations Manager SLRSA, Mr. Abdul Karim Dumbuyanoted that, the storage of scrap metals in certain environments and movement through push carts “omolankay” was a challenge to Road Safety as pedestrians were often exposed to danger.

He called for the development of policies and regulations to guide the disposal of vehicles as scraps.

Other notable contributions were made by the Planning Manager Mr. James Stevens and Research and Development Manager Mr. Ambrose Tucker.

The meeting was chaired by the SLRSA company secretary Mr. Abu Bakarr Sheriff who reminded the scrap metal dealers that, rights go with responsibility and appealed to them to always be mindful of their rights and responsibilities when plying their trade.

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Our Goal is to Achieve Zero Out-Of-School-Children in Sierra Leone, President Bio Says.

By Cyril Barnes, Information Attaché, Sierra Leone Embassy, State of Kuwait

Sierra Leone’s President, His Excellency Dr Julius Maada Bio, has re-echoed his government’s objective to achieve zero Out-of-School Children by continuing to invest in the Free Quality Education programme for Sierra Leone.

His Excellency Dr Julius Maada Bio made this disclosure during his meeting with the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development in Doha. 

He thanked the Foundation for the opportunity to meet and speak about shared interests in education. Recalling four months into his presidency, the President prioritized education and launched the Free Quality Education programme, realizing that investing in human capital was pivotal to developing the nation. 

He added that the primary objective of the Free Quality Education was to cater for free tuition; however, the scope was broadened to provide school feeding, free transportation, core textbook, teaching and learning materials and radical inclusion to break the barriers to children acquiring quality education. 

“My government identified education as the key to inclusive and sustainable national development; we have initiated radical inclusion to provide access to education for pregnant girls, learners with disabilities and the poor to go to school. 

“Our goal is to achieve the zero Out -Of-School-Children. My government has conducted a study on Out-of-School children and will launch a strategy to handle the problem. The strategy will inform how, as a nation, we tackle this crisis and further work to 100% access to education for all learners,” the President said. 

He ended by calling for partnerships to ensure access to quality education globally. 

Speaking about her role in boosting the self-esteem of the girl child, Her Excellency the First Lady, Madam Fatima Maada Bio, disclosed that her duty during these four years has been primarily to encourage the girl child to acquire education despite the posing challenges. She furthered that the objective was to inspire them to contribute to nation-building. 

Responding to the His Excellency the President’s inspirational presentation, Dr Mazen Jassim Jaidah of Qatar Foundation noted that Sierra Leone and the State of Qatar had shared aspirations of providing quality education for all. He revealed that Qatar Foundation created the foundations for education, research, development, and innovation; and would continue its journey to make a positive impact, locally and internationally. 

Mr. Fahad Al-Sulaiti, CEO of Education Above All Foundation, thanked the President for providing the political will to support quality education, adding that they had been working with Sierra Leone’s Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education to provide support for approximately 45,000 Out-Of-School-Children (OOSC) in Sierra Leone at an estimated cost of $4 million. He also pointed out that the two governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the commencement of the project during the Doha Forum in March 2022. 

He assured the President of their commitment to ensuring Sierra Leone achieve the zero Out-Of-School-Children goal in partnership with the World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF and other development partners.

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SLCA, PALS Engage 150 Participants on Softball and Baseball.

To bolster the work of batsmen and to improve overall cricket performance, the Sierra Leone Cricket Association (SLCA) partnered with the Philadelphia Adults League Softball (PALS) to engage over one hundred and fifty participants drawn from different backgrounds and age brackets on the basics of softball and baseball.

Early this week at the Kingtom Oval, the SLCA received 18 officials from PALS of which 15 come from America and 3 from Bolivia to conduct joint training on softball and baseball.

The delegation donated cricket equipment to SLCA to enhance the Association’s preparation ahead of four cross-border tournaments and to strengthen the existing ties between the two institutions.

Speaking during the training, the Chairman of SLCA, Francis Trevor Samura, said holding exercises on the basics of softball and baseball serves to introduce a new sport in Sierra Leone. “And for us in cricket, the baseball is very important. Once one is able to play baseball, one should be able to be a better batsman. The difference between the cricket bat and that of the baseball bat is that the baseball bat is round whilst the cricket one is flat, so one needs high concentration, timing and good sight to hit the baseball.  Once one is able to get these skills right, one should be able to be a better cricketer,” he explained.

Thrilled by its novelty and its skill-packed movements, the enthralled attendees vowed to keep the games playing even after the departure of the strangers.

Addressing participants,  PALS Directors, Kelly O’ Connor and Steve O’Connor, promise to give their all to see Softball and Baseball play in order to contribute positively to the development and empowerment of youths in the country.

“ We run a Softball league in the United States, and we are here partnering with different organizations to roll out the Softball and Baseball programmes for young people to first get involved by having fun trying a new sport and learning something new, but also to teach them more about Softball and Baseball. The goal is to have it as a long term programme, so we are working with the Sierra Leone Cricket Association and some football clubs. We will be providing training resources and equipment so that these programmes will be sustainable, “ Kelly O’Connor said. 

The programme climaxed with donations of cricket equipment and school materials for kids.

© SLCA Media and IT Department

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ACC Partner with Advocate for Social Justice in Kono.

ACC and ASJD staff after the engagement

In its drive to enhance integrity in the management of public funds and public procurement processes, the Kono Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has engaged staff of the Advocate for Social Justice and Development(ASJD), a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Kono, on anti-corruption laws and best practices in the management of public and donor funds. The event took place at the ASJD conference room in Koidu on 21st June, 2022.

 

The customized meeting, according to the ACC Regional Manager, Hawanatu Omotayo Kamara, was to engage and educate the ASJD staff on various issues of corruption and to ensure best practices in their operations. She also noted that the engagement will serve as a platform to map out areas of collaboration in identifying corruption risks and vulnerabilities as well as mitigating same. The Manager stated that corruption is a sensitive issue in the NGO world, something that requires a clear understanding to determine its true scale, nature, effects on service delivery and ways to prevent it.

Explaining the mandate of the Commission in the fight against corruption, Senior Public Education Officer Sam P Gogra,expressed dismay that most times NGOs, contractors and suppliers are often reluctant to talk about corruption for fear that it will lead to bad publicity, unavailability of contracts, and consequent  loss of funds. According to him, such funds secured for and on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone are public funds and by extension their activities and operations are covered by the ACC laws. 

Mr Gogra stated that the fight against graft is not done in a fire brigade manner and it therefore requires the need to engagethem on various issues of corruption and for them to institute anti-corruption measures whiles implementing donor projects. 

Commenting on key corruption issues in public procurement and activities of his organisation, the Executive Director of ASJD Arthur Kargbo, thanked the ACC for partnering with them to fight corruption. According to him, their office has codes and anti-corruption policies in their internal operations. He said that their partnership with the ACC will give credence to their activities in the district and can also help them act as whistleblowers for corruption activities within their operational areas.

Mr Kargbo said that their activities are based on development and they have been operating in Kono District and beyond on education, health and mining, to ensure transparency and accountability in service delivery. He said that they often follow best practices to procure goods and services. He registered his office’s support to the activities of the ACC.

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ACC Convey Integrity Messages to School Pupils on Day of African Child.

Pupils from various schools at the engagement

By Alex A. Bah – Communications Officer, ACC

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on 16th June, 2022, engaged over pupils from various schools in the Western Area in commemoration of the Day of the African Child. The engagement took place at the Cathedral Hall in Freetown and it brought together members of Integrity Clubs set up by the ACC in schools, teachers and school authorities to discuss issues of integrity, examination malpractices, among others

Giving the welcome address, Deputy Commissioner of the ACC, Augustine Foday Ngobie, gave a brief history of the day, noting that the children of South Africa were very instrumental in taking action against injustice and bad governance, which are the upshot of corruption. “You are expected to stand up for what is right, no matter the consequence,” he said whilst encouraging the pupils to support the anti-corruption cause. 

Chairing the occasion, Director of Public Education and External Outreach, Patrick Sandi, encouraged the pupils to commit themselves to the cause of fighting corruption. He noted that poverty is never an incentive to engage in corruption, and that a person can be rich and still be corrupt.

There was a panel discussion on the topic ‘The Impact of Examination Malpractices on the Attainment of Quality Education: Ways Forward’ moderated by journalist Samuel Wise Bangura of the AYV Television. 

During the panel discussion, Jammie Victoria Sankoh, Public Relations Manager of the Teaching Service Commission, described integrity as a personal value, adding that low salaries should never be an incentive for corruption. “We have grown up seeing teachers that earn way less than what most teachers earn now, yet they prided themselves in upholding integrity, while at the same time they respected the code that guides their profession,” she added.

“If we uphold the values of integrity, then we can eliminate examination malpractices,” Tamba Deen Kamara, Head of Communications, Civil Rights Coalition, also noted whilst underscoring the dangers of examination malpractice and the importance of sanitizing the education sector. 

A question and answer session climaxed the engagement.

L-R: Tamaba Deen Kamara, Head of Communications, Civil Rights Coalition; Jammie Victoria Sankoh, Public Relations Manager, Teaching Service Commission; Antoniette Horton, Principal, JSS, Annie Walsh Memorial School; Augustine Foday Ngobie, Deputy Commissioner, ACC; Patrick Sandi, Director, PEOD, ACC; Samuel Wise Bangura, of AYV Television

 

Deputy Commissioner, ACC, Augustine Foday Ngobie, giving the welcome address

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29 Early Childhood Development Centres to be Constructed in two Districts.

By Augustine Sankoh, Strategic Communications Analyst, MBSSE

The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) with support from the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will be constructing twenty-nine (29) Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres in Karene and Moyamba Districts.

According to Mr. Emmanuel Alie, the National Coordinator Global Partnership for Education, 20 0f these centres will be constructed in Karene and the remaining 9 in Moyamba District.

He said evaluation and assessment of bids is in progress by UNICEF which is the grant agent.

He said last year in September, MBSSE completed the construction of 30 new ECD centres in three districts (Bombali, Pujehun and Kambia) in Sierra Leone which according to him open doors to an estimated 2,100 children that benefitted. 

The ECD landscape in Sierra Leone has been fraught with challenges and poor outcomes. Sierra Leone has one of the highest maternal, new-born and under five mortality rates, stunting, high rates of poverty, and poor learning outcomes globally. 

The current government’s commitment to human capital development, enables the country to achieve middle income status by 2035; it is necessary for governments to prioritizeinvestment in ECD. The development of a clear policy framework to provide directions and guidance for structuring equitable access to quality ECD cannot be overemphasized.

This national Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) policy provides an overarching framework with shared vision, mission, goals, and objectives for the delivery of holistic ECD interventions and services for all children ages 0 to 8 years; and ensures that all Sierra Leonean children have the best start in life and are able to achieve their full potential.

Early Childhood Development is about the overall wellbeing and welfare of a child as it encompasses the child’s cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor development. Early Childhood Development (ECD) is recognized as a critical foundation for fostering positive lifelong outcomes, human capital development and sustainable national development.

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MBSSE, Stakeholders meet on the guidelines for school approval and use of school subsidies.

By Augustine Sankoh, Strategic Communications Analyst, MBSSE

The Leadership of the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) has held a day meeting with MBSSE personnel in the districts, the Teaching Service Commission, Paramount Chiefs, Parliamentarians, Local Council authorities, Sierra Leone Police, Anti-Corruption Commission and other stakeholders in education to discuss the guidelines on the approval of schools and the use of school subsidies.

The meeting took place on Tuesday, 21st June 2022 at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown.

“We want judicious use of the school subsidies. Over the past four years, the subsidy paid per term has risen significantly from Le 30.1 Billion to about Le 60 Billion in the last term. We think that some of these monies have not been going for the purpose they are meant; that is why we call people so tell them how the subsidy should be spent,” according to the Free Quality School Education (FQSE) Coordinator Mr. Amara Sowa.

He said after the workshop, school authorities should not have any excuse for the misuse of school subsidies, noting that that is why they invited the ACC, Audit Service Sierra Leone, Ministry of Finance and the Sierra Leone Police because these are institutions that normally hold them (Ministry of Education) to account and they should be part of the rolling out of the guidelines.

The Director of Planning and Policy in the MBSSE Mrs. AdamaMomoh corroborated what was said by Mr. Sowa, adding that some schools are using almost all the subsidies to give allowances to board members and paying of teachers that are not on payroll.

She said there are also schools that are claiming to have a certain number of pupils which is not true, just so that they can have more subsidies.

In her keynote address, the Deputy Minister l Mrs. Emily K. Gogra calls on her audience and every Sierra Leone to prioritize the education of their children, adding that regular visitation of schools will keep the teachers on their toes and also increase learning outcomes.

He commended stakeholders present for the gains made in education thus far and called on them to keep working hard.

According to the School Approval Guideline, there are two levels of School Approvals: level One approval which is authorized to operate as a school which is required for all schools and all school types, and level two approval which are eligible to receive financial support.

Schools must have Level One Approval before applying for level two.

A Level One Approved school becomes eligible to submit a Level Two Approval application after one full school year of being a Level One Approved school.

Private schools are not eligible to receive Level Two Approval, and would have to change ownership type.

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Day Break Column

Thursday 9th June, 2022 there was fuel shortage across Freetown. 100s of commercial vehicles, kekeh and commercial motorbikes (okadas) were in queues at various filling stations finding ways to get their tanks filled. 

Some concerned citizens told this medium that fuel regulators are planning to increase fuel products to either Le 18,000 or Le 20,000.

Kekeh and commercial motorbike riders are not helping the situation; they have been overloading and over pricing commuters.

Some commuters especially WASSCE candidates who were rushing to exams hall for Mathematic, and average business persons did not have a choice but to succumb to the new price from the Kekeh riders and motorbike riders.

Barracks old Road motorbike riders have been demanding Le 7000 from Sierra Leoneans to take them from Shell Old Road to Upgun, and Kekeh riders are demanding same for the same destination.

Only few Poda podas were on the road yesterday morning. 

100s of other commuters in Waterloo and Jui junctions werepatiently waiting for vehicles to take them to their various destinations. 

On the flip side, the few Poda podas on the road had been engaging in overloading and exploiting commuters. They were asking them to Le 5000 from Jui junction to Texaco and Shell. The current government price from Jui junction to town is Le 3,500 and from Bombay Street to Waterloo Le 5,500 but unfortunately majority of the drivers and conductors (apprentice) were demanding Le 6000 yesterday. Vehicles plying Water to Bombay were stopping halfway (Jui), charging Le 5000. They always take advantage of the situation, exploiting poor citizens. 

The reason for the closure of some filling stations across Freetown was not clear but it is believed it’s because of the imminent increase in fuel price.

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Internews School- Female Teachers and Pupils on Digital Safety

 

 

By Moses Kay Fembeh

The Safe Sisters Fellowship (Internews) in collaboration with the Women and Girls Initiative in Sierra Leone, has held a training session on digital safety for female teachers and pupils on digital safety at Baptist Convention Primary School,Gloucester village, Freetown. 

Four primary schools with a total number of 28 people attended the first ever digital safety training.

Ms. Christiana Sagba is a member of Internews- Safe Sisters Salone. She is also the Founder and Director of Women and Girls Initiative Sierra Leone, established on 11 October, 2018 with the aim of giving every girl and young woman an opportunity to be strong, confident and physically fit for socioeconomic drive and other empower benefits. 

Delivering her keynote address, Sagba urged teachers and pupils to serve as agents of positive change, saying they should put into practice every information giving to them to keep them safer from internet fraudsters who come around pretending to be lovers.

She further spoke on the reason for the digital safety training for female teachers and pupils: “Our Sierra Leonean women and other women in Africa are sometimes bullied by the men in society and therefore, if any man or stranger sends a friend request and eventually message to date you, you have to be extra careful”.

The Founder and Director of Women and Girls Initiative Sierra Leone told this medium that the digital safety drive will not only be limited to the Gloucester community but will be taken to other parts of the country. “We are seeking for fund to foster this initiative nationwide”, she said.

She continued by saying that women and girls must be careful not to send their naked pictures to social media boyfriends and not to give their passwords to others for recharge or megabytes, adding that women and girls should not use simple password numbers or letters. “The essence of doing this is to save you and your personal information including bank details and private conversations”, she noted.

Head teacher of Baptist Convention Primary School in Gloucester Village, Mrs. Safinatu appreciated the digital safety initiative, thanking Ms. Christiana for her philanthropic ambition. She promised that they as Community stakeholders will work together to make sure the initiative continues in the community where pupils and teachers would serve as ambassadors. 

Felicia Moseray a class six thanks Ms. Sagba for the digital training and also promised that she will help sensitize her peer group on the positive and negative use of the internet. 

One of the participants from Church of Christ Primary School,Janet Dumbuya promised that she will deliver what she has leartn during the program to her fellow teachers and pupils to help spread the good news.

Admonishing parents, Ms. Sagba said parents should be best friends to their kids. “There must be open communication among them, and parents/guidance must stop letting their kids watch Nigerian & Ghanaian movies”.

She recommended cartoon and other kids’ movies, adding that “kids must be kids, our kids should use the internet for educational materials, not for pornography or other harmful things that have the tendency to endanger their future”, she ended.

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HRCSL Staff Trained on Gender Sensitive Dimensions

HRCSL Staff trained on Gender Sensitive Dimensions 

With support from the United Nations Development Programme and Irish Aid, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) has trained new staff in gender sensitive dimensionsof the United Nation’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The training at the Civil Service Training College, Tower Hill on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th June, 2022 was spearheaded by the Directorates of Gender and Children’s Affairs and Business and Human Rights and Labour Relations. The aim was to strengthen the capacity and knowledge of staff to handle gender issues in business and human rights.

Director of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Madam Gloria Bayoh, described the training as timely and important as new staff were able to understand what the United Nation’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, especially in relation to gender sensitive issues is all about.

She urged participants to make good use of the training by putting into practice the knowledge gained.

 

Also, Deputy Director and Head of Business and Human Rights and Labour Relations, Abdulai Yollah Bangura said it is the first time the Commission is organizing training for staff on business and human rights in relation to gender issues and therefore urged staff to take it seriously.

“This training is to make us understand the trending things in the regions, especially those connected to businesses,” he said.  

Presentations during the second session include; Women’s Rights and SGBV in Companies and Host Communities by the Chairperson; Madam Patricia Narsu Ndanema, Understanding the Business and Human Rights Ahenda and UNGPs by Head of Business and Human Rights Directorate; Abdulai Yollah Bangura, Mechanisms for Monitoring Business andHuman Rights in Sierra Leone by the Executive Secretary; Joseph Kamara and Categories of Rights Affected by Business Operations by Moses Massquoi.

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Sumaila Town Resident blast EDSA

Energy Minister, Alhaji Kanja Sesay

The residents of Sumaila Town have expressed their utter dissatisfaction regarding the manner in which the Electricity and Distribution Authority (EDSA) is distributing electricity. 

Reports say the community has gone 14 days without electricity with no one saying anything about it.

Residents say they last had electricity on May 28th, 2022. Since then, they say the community has been dwelling in complete darkness, leaving them in deplorable conditions.

Momoh Kamara, one of the residents, expressed his disappointment over the current situation, calling on EDSA to act like a sober institution.

“Why is EDSA behaving like this? For two complete weeks they have deprived us from electricity. Aren’t we citizens of Sierra Leone? Why have they chosen to treat us this way? We are honestly not happy with them. All our food go bad because of this annoying blackout,” he said.

This medium has learnt that residents of Sumaila Town have suffered from attacks by thieves at night; some even lost their personal effects as a result. They say the entire community is unsafe at night because of the consistent blackout. 

Marian Senesie, a mother of two, told this press that her children find it difficult to study at night because of the blackout. “The one who’s currently taking the WASSCE Exams uses candle to study, which is not healthy for his eyes,” she explained.

She called on EDSA to step up by doing the needful. “I believe EDSA are just too wicked. Why are they not giving us light? Why are they not saying anything to us? They are not doing us any favour because we are paying for it. This is the worst institution in Sierra Leone”, angry Marian lamented.

Councillor Augustine L. Bangura has on several occasions called on authorities to solve the electricity challenge his community is facing but to no avail. 

Sumaila Town, situated back of Winners Chapel Church, has been deprived of constant electricity for several years and residents have been asking, but they haven’t been given any answers.

We reached out to the EDSA Public Relations Officer, Sahr Nepor, for response but has refused to comment on this very important issue.

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UN Resident Coordinator calls for reflection on conditions of detention.

 

 

 

United Nations Resident Coordinator Babatunde Ahonsi has encouraged senior-level staff of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service (SLCS) to reflect on the conditions of detention and the complaint mechanisms available for the detainees in corrections centres across the country.

 

Mr Ahonsi made the call on Wednesday at the opening of a three-day training for senior-level staff of the SLCS on Conditions of Detention and Human Rights at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Freetown.

 

The RC said that during his various engagements with the highest authorities of the country, including the office of the Vice-President, the need for the UN to support the capacity building of the staff of the SLCS often emerged. Therefore, he described the training as timely and hoped that it would contribute to staff development and the reform of the correctional service that the government is undertaking.

 

According to the UN Resident Coordinator, “the programme of the training is adequate as is the calibre of the facilitators involved, from the SLCS, the UN, the Human Rights Commission of SL, the Legal Aid Board and civil society organizations”. He noted that participants would also discuss issues including the rights of persons deprived of liberty, roles, and responsibilities of correction officers and, security and management of correctional centres.

 

The RC underscored the UN’s belief that all people, regardless of their backgrounds, have rights and responsibilities to fulfil their potential in life and lead decent, dignified, and rewarding lives in a healthy environment. 

 

“None should be left behind in this journey to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said Mr Ahonsi, adding that the training will contribute to the achievement of various sustainable development goals (SDGs), specifically SDG 16 – promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.

 

In his welcome remarks, Acting SLSC Director-General, Mr Ahmed Turay, said he was deeply honoured that 30 senior officers of the SLCS were partaking in the training. He said this would strengthen the knowledge and skills of officers to perform their duties with the human rights of inmates in mind.

 

The Acting DG said the SLCS Act of 2014 lays a premium on the recognition of the rights of inmates irrespective of the crimes they have committed. Noting that human rights are directly reflected in the SLSC’s mission statement, he assured partners that the Correctional Service is willing, ready, and able to utilize the training opportunity as it will enhance his officers’ ability to effectively and efficiently manage correctional facilities.

 

Delivering the keynote address on behalf of the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, Minister of Internal Affairs Mr David Maurice Panda-Noah said that it was fitting that such training is organized for Corrections officers to remind them once more that they are under obligation to uphold human rights principles, especially in the dispensation of their duties.

 

Minister Panda-Noah underscored the importance of Human Rights for Correction Officers when one takes into consideration the value it will add to the SLCS and the country. “It will provide them with the psychological tools, the requisite knowledge and skills, and the right attitude to perform their duties in accordance with national and international laws on the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty,” he emphasized.

 

United Nations Country Team in Sierra Leone Senior Human Rights Advisor, Christian Mukosa, said the training aims to enhance the knowledge and skills of senior staff of the SLCS on the rights of the detainees with a focus on prisoners with specific needs, including women, juveniles, persons with disabilities and foreigners. He added that participants would discuss and produce an action plan to implement the various human rights principles and recommendations from the training during these three days. 

 

Over the next three days, senior-level Corrections Officers will be exposed to human rights principles of good prison management, prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment, women in detention, and prevention of gender-based violence in correctional settings, and pre-trial prisoners and legal assistance to persons in detention, among others.

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