By Mohamed Sankoh
Chosen Generation Sierra Leone in collaboration with Marie Gold Initiative on Wednesday 17th April, 2024 launched its “Third National Annual Debate and Championship Competition for Senior Secondary Schools girls” with the theme: “Amplifying Our Voice Young Girls in the Arena of Ideas” at Africell America Corner, Bathurst Street in Freetown.
The importance of this year’s debate focuses on providing support for pupils and women in all spheres of life as they have been marginalized in society. Twenty-four Senior Secondary Schools will be participating in this year’s debate.
The topic of this debate will be sent to schools and their participants before the debate in order for them to have pre-knowledge and research about the debate.
Speaking to the pupils, Tracy Jac-During of Chosen Generation Sierra Leone emphasized the importance of the debate which he said grooms young girls and give them the platform to speak and network with people on critical issues that affect women and girls.
She said the debate will further help to identify talent among young girls and at the same time give mentorship to girls and monitor their progress.
Tracy Jac-During said the debate competition has a package of NLe15, 000 for the winner and NLe10,000 for the runners-up with mentorship and capacity opportunities to ensure young girls are confident in raising critical issues that affect them.
She also emphasized that the ideas of young girls in the debate competition cannot be over emphasized, while she called on all to support her organization as they are constrained in terms of financial support.
Launching the debate, the President of Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WIMSAL), Millicent Kargbo, encouraged young girls to participate in public debates to increase their knowledge, skills, problem solving, building confidence and overcoming fear, thereby expressing their opinion and making informed and critical decisions.
The defending champions of last year’s debate from the International School shared their experience with their colleagues and posited that the debate will help them improve, foster critical thinking skills and build self-confidence..

By Mohamed Sankoh
The Catholic Relief Service (CRS) through the support of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), United States Embassy, Caritas Sierra Leone and the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) has renovated the Roman Catholic Community Primary School at ‘Bendukoro, Dian Chiefdom, and the Wesleyan Catholic Primary School at Bafodia in Wara Wara Chiefdom, Koinadugu District.

The schools, which were renovated under the project (Fiscal Year 2022-2025) “All Pekin for Lan”, were the 5th phase of the McGovern-Dole programme as Sierra Leone aims to improve literacy of school-age children and increase the use of health and dietary practices by building teachers and school administrators’ skills and knowledge.

It also improves teachers’ attendance and access to teaching and learning materials, provides school infrastructure with Wash facilities, and reduces illness related absenteeism in schools. The project also focuses on pupils’ attendance and completion by providing meal to reduce hunger and inattentiveness so as to improve nutritional status.

The phase 5 of this project further seeks to building on sustainable gains from previous phases and strengthening the capacity of National School Feeding Secretariat at national and community levels with focus on structures such as the Mothers Support Groups, School Management Committee, Teachers and School Administrators thereby ensuring that community members, especially women, adopt the habit of savings to support their children’s education.

The project has also supported the review and adoption of a school feeding policy and feasibility study on ‘’Home grown school feeding’’ thereby developing a school garden that will support the school feeding programme.

Expressing her impression about the two communities visited, the Vice President of Catholic Relief Service (CRS), Michele Gilfillan, said she was impressed by the two communities for owning the school feeding programme and showing solidarity with CRS and its partners. She ensured that part of their goals is to inculcate the centre system sustainability and partnership in communities and the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL), and are willing to be part of the “Feed Salone” programme.

The Head Teacher of RC Primary School in Bendukoro, Dian Chiefdom, Charles Alie Kamara, said since the intervention of CRS in 2019, the school started benefitting from the nutritious School Feeding programme. He averred that CRS has rehabilitated the school structure and constructed a food store to enhance safe storage space for food items and that the school enrollment increased from 75 to 178 pupils with 6 teachers.

The Head Teacher furthered that there has been great improvement in the National Primary School Examination (NPSE) as 8 out of 9 pupils that wrote the exam came out with flying colours.

Mr. Kamara concluded that through the CRS ‘Teach for Sierra Leone’ programme, community teachers were capacitated with the diagnostic teaching methodology package to strengthen their teaching methodology and technique.

That a team of Chinese Agricultural Experts arrived in Sierra Leone on Tuesday 1st August, 2023 to play a pivotal role in advancing Sierra Leone’s agricultural sector in line with one of the five key thematic areas of the SLPP Manifesto 2023 has demonstrated convincingly that His Excellency President Brig. (Rtd) Dr. Julius Maada Bio’s priority in his second inning is for Sierra Leone to be food self-sufficient.

This key thematic area FEED SALONE, according to the Manifesto, is an initiative to boost agricultural productivity to ensure food security and inclusive economic growth. The next SLPP Government will boost agricultural productivity by increasing investment, which will fuel inclusive economic growth, boost food production, reduce hunger and poverty, create jobs, boost export earnings and build our resilience in the face of climate change.

When launching the SLPP Manifesto 2023 in Freetown, President Bio assured Sierra Leoneans that if re-elected, he would prioritize agriculture in his next Government like he has done to the Free Quality Education (FQE), his flagship programme. So, with the arrival of a team of Chinese Agricultural Experts to play a pivotal role in advancing our agricultural sector, in addition to the early provision of agricultural equipment and other implements worth millions of United States Dollars offered to Sierra Leone by the People’s Republic of China for the establishment of Agricultural Training Centres at Gbere Junction for the Northern Region and in Bo City for the Southern Regions, Sierra Leoneans can now be rest assured of President Bio’s determination to revolutionize the agricultural sector of Sierra Leone with emphasis on high-yield rice and corn breeding, providing local farm training at the two Agricultural Training Centres, and implementing modern farming techniques to enhance productivity and efficiency.

We understand that the Chinese Agricultural Experts are here to help with high-yielding rice and corn breeding, as well as provide local farmers training in those Agricultural Training Centres in the North and South as a way of contributing to the success of FEED SALONE, the President’s initiative.

These are seasoned professionals in agriculture and agribusiness and they will collaborate closely with local farmers and agricultural institutions respectively.

While we commend the President for making tremendous efforts to ensure that FEED SALONE succeeds, he should ensure that his initiative becomes sustainable at any cost for Sierra Leone to once again become food self-sufficient as she had during the early days of our independence, when our country generated enough foreign earnings from agricultural produce like rice, cocoa, coffee, ginger, piassava, you name it. And now that the stage has been set for the full implementation of FEED SALONE initiative, we should be very optimistic as a people that the journey has begun for agricultural transformation and progress towards achieving food security and economic prosperity under the indefatigable leadership of His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio. With the prioritization of FEED SALONE by a much determined and caring President who loves his people and country, we are very certain that only the sky will be his limit in successfully transforming the agricultural landscape of this country through food security and economic prosperity.

Orange Money Sierra Leone (OSL) on Thursday announced the forming of a partnership with the Sierra Leone Insurance Association (SLIA) comprising the National Insurance Company, Staco digi Insurance Company, International Insurance Company, and many others.

The Acting Auditor General, Mr. Abdul Aziz, last Friday 17th February, 2023 entreated the technical female staff of Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) to be committed to their jobs and take advantage of emerging opportunities relating to the audit work during a meeting on the 12th Floor of the Freetown City Council Building.

The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Wang Quing, has paid a courtesy call on the new Minister of Information and Civic Education, Chernor Bah, at his Youyi Building office in Freetown. The visit marks the first high level visit to the Minister and can be viewed as an expression of China’s eagerness to continue to work in very close collaboration with the government and specifically the new Ministry of Information and Civic Education.