Journalists Trained on Climate Reporting

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

Catholic Relief Service (CRS) in partnership with the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has concluded a two-day training on Climate Reporting for about 15 journalists in Freetown.

The exercise focused on CRS’ programming in Sierra Leone, Effective Communications in Climate Change, Fundamentals Climate Science and Climate Change, Climate Change and Sustainable and Development and Field Visit. 

Addressing participants, CRS’ Technical Partnership Advisor, Dennis Momoh said they believe in partnership hence the reason for the training together with SLAJ. “We’ll continue to strengthen our relation with the media”, he added. 

Mr. Momoh noted that the Fourth Estate has the power to influence decision, and can report issues around climate change for a better world. 

“Sometimes last year, we had an engagement with the media and this is just a continuation of what we started in 2021”

“I want to recognise your role towards nation building. I assure you of CRS’ commitment towards the media. We’ll continue working with journalists all the time”.

Financial Secretary of SLAJ, Mohamed Konneh thanked CRS for the partnership to organize a training on Climate Change for the media.

He pointed out that climate change is a major problem in the world today, stressing the increase in heat wave in Sierra Leone and the world at large. 

“SLAJ supports this training because the environment is key to our existence. So I urge colleagues to take the training seriously”, he admonished adding “Be an environment journalist today and help save the environment tomorrow”. 

Climate Change Consultant, Amara Salami Kanu was the facilitator for the two-day exercise. 

CRS started work in Sierra Leone in 1963 carrying out the commitment of the Catholic Bishops and the Catholic community of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas.

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“Vote me as President of UNIMAK Law Society” -Abass Mamud Sesay

“Vote me as President of UNIMAK Law Society”-AbassMamud Sesay

Abass Mamud Sesay who hailed from the Northern part of Sierra Leone, Makeni Town started and completed his primary and secondary education at the St. Francis Secondary School, Makeni. 

During his secondary school days, Abass served in many leadership capacities as school prefect, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Information and Communication. He also made countless representations for his school in many debating competitions across the country.

Upon completion of his secondary school education, he gained admission into the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology-Freetown Campus where he read Architectural Technology before he travelled to the United State of America to Study Leadership and Civic Engagement at Kansas State University. Currently, Abass is a third year student at Limkokwing University pursuing his Bachelor in InteriorArchitecture and also a third year Law student at the University of Makeni (UNIMAK).

Abass brings on board 6 years of Civic Society leadership,gleaned from NGOs including AANSL, UNICEF, CDC, and Plan International. As a Youth Advocate, the perfect Law student has earned distinguished career in youth and women’s empowerment, youth leadership with domestic, PublicSpeaking and capacity-building in both national and international platforms. 

As a community development activist, Abass is the founder and current CEO of Active Ambassadors Network Sierra Leone (AANSL), a non-profit NGO that works towards promoting climate change, girl-child education, youth and women’s empowerment and youth leadership training. 

Through his organization and lobby prowess, over 10,000 youths especially women and children have benefited from his projects with support from IREX, United State Department of State, US Embassy in Freetown, Elliot School of Communication, Wichita State University and Kansas Leadership Center all in the US. 

Abass has achieved several international recognitions and to date, he is one of Sierra Leone’s finest young leader. In 2016, he was the recipient of the Queen’s Commonwealth Youth Excellent Award on Sustainable Development (The Queens Award for Youth), a recognition that was recommended by the Ministry of Youth Affairs. Abass is a 2015 cohort Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Alumni, a U.S. government signature effort by former President Barrack Obama to invest in the next generation of African leaders and to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across sub-Saharan Africa, he is also a 2019 Mandela Washington Fellow, one of the biggest Youth Leadership platforms in the world that trains future African Leaders, a fellow of the most prestigious Obama Foundation Fellow for African Leaders-a recognition that he received together with the current ACC Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala as the two qualifying fellows in 2018/2019. Also, Abass is Young World Ambassador, a recognition he received together with the former member of Parliament Hon. Osman Timbo(Youngest) as the only two qualifying Sierra Leoneans. In 2015, Abass was appointed by YALI management in Ghana to represent YALI in the MO Ibrahim Foundation award program where all African Presidents meet annually to celebrate leadership and good governance. He has been recognised as the most Influential young leader in Sierra Leone by Student without Boarders in Cotonou, Benin, at their Africa Youth Leadership Summit in 2015. Abass is also a 2016 UN Asia Model United Nations Ambassador, a YALI Network Influencer and the current PRO for West Africa Young Leaders Association, a 2015 TedX Speaker, a writer, mentor and a public speaker who has mentored and inspired thousands of youths in the country.

Abass has remained a true gender activist and someone who believes in inclusiveness. 

His leadership experience and exposure speaks volumes of him as a true definition of leadership and thus, the most suitable person for the position of PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY.

In his recent engagements with LLB1&2 students in their various classes, these were the words of Abass: “I know that the world needs more women who are skilled, problem solvers and leaders, and our law society too needs them if we are to make progress as a department”. “My vision is to ensure that I provide a safe and a level playing field for all women in the law department to unleash and exhibit their expertise (s) and develop new skills in which they can be used in their career, classrooms, businesses and organizations in addressing perennial problems”. 

He further adds: “His goal for the department is to ensure that we bolster our credibility, trust, and professional leadership skills amongst women, and to see more women excelling in diverse fields and thus, have the exuberance and confidence in adding their voices to contemporary issues in our department. It’s undisputed fact that the success of the society hinges largely on our women as they’re the movers and shakers of development in all folds”.

In demonstrating true leadership, Abass cited examples of his goodwill he has undertaken in and outside the ambiances of UNIMAK:

The provision of a new i5 Desktop Computer for students to be using in undertaking myriad of research, Electrical Fans for the classrooms, a multi-task printer and photocopier and cleaning sanitizers and sprayers for our Law students hostel dwellers. 

Notably, during the past Law Society Executive, he had helped them in diverse ways like lobbying for materials and finance in setting up the Law Resource Center, assisted in the creation of the Law Garden, sponsored the moot court competition and that of the most successful law tour in which he singlehandedly fuelled one of the busses. 

Notwithstanding the current Law Society Executive, Abasshas been an active supporter of the society in all activities undertaken by the current executive such as financially supporting the Executive on the just concluded Mooting Competition, assisting the society team in-kind and financially as well as providing snacks for all Law students that attended the just concluded Law Tour by the current Law Society Executive. Notably Abass financially supported the just concluded inter classes football competition and that of the just concluded inter departmental competition. 

To the General Students Body, Abass has over the years assisted many Law students on one-on-one tutorials and had organized group tutorials at the hostel from which the current LLB 2 students benefited from that. To many, it is not a novelty that Abass has been tirelessly helping students with reading materials as well as making notes for them on key modules including the current LLB1 students who have also benefited from that. 

Abbas’s ambition for the society was born out of the fact that the law society is one of the biggest at UNIMAK, however, he does not believe it has necessarily fulfilled its responsibilities to its students fully over the past two years. Whilst it has put on some memorable events, he wishes to continue on that path If elected as President to do more and better for society. Abbas’s agenda will focus on robust advocacy for all law students, ensure that students’ welfare is his top priority, lobby for more support to be provided to students especially those that are extremely challenged financially, develop and launch a leadership and mentorship scheme to empower students at the department, organize conferences to inspire students to speak up and provide leadership training as well as expose more students on international conferences to develop their skills through State department programs, develop an all-inclusive programme of events that tailor to the diversity of students at the law department, reform the system of personal tutors and the departmental study aid for academic excellence as well as expand student welfare provision. “I am ready to serve, listen and learn from you all as a humble servant and leader by putting the interest of the student first in all I do”.

The change is now, vote me in as your president of the Law Society for effective leadership, fearless advocacy, accountability, competency, Inclusiveness and Students Welfare.

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