By Abubakarr Harding
During a meeting with top management staff of the Milton Margai Technical University (MMTU) and the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) that took place on Monday 19th December, 2022 at the Great Hall of the Goderich campus in Freetown, the Director-General of NDMA, retired Lieutenant-General Brima Sesay informed the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Milton Margai Technical University (MMTU) about plans to construct a Center of Excellence for Disaster Management at the MMTU Goderich campus if the land is made available.
Retired Lieutenant-General Brima Sesay commended the administration of MMTU for the new status which he attributed to hard work further revealing how Sierra Leone is prone to disasters which was why the President created the Agency and that it was established by an Act of Parliament on 19th November 2021.
He went on to reveal that the $2,100 grant Sierra Leone Urban Resilience Project funded by the World Bank is to build an Emergency Operations Center (EOC), that the project is time bound to be implemented between 2021-2025 and appealed to the college administration to provide land for this all-important project.
Retired Lieutenant-General Brima Sesay pointed out that the land for the construction of the EOC must be centrally located, that it would offer a lot of opportunities including capacity building for MMTU and nationwide, also intimating how they have formed a partnership with Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom to help in the teaching and development of a curriculum in Disaster Management in Sierra Leone recalling that the same University recently conducted a research on the issue in the country.
He assured the staff of MMTU that the advantages of offering the land to NDMA for the construction of the Center of Excellence cannot be quantified.
On his part, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of MMTU, Dr. Philip John Kanu said he is pleased to welcome the team from NDMA, that the MMTU would take advantage of the opportunity for NDMA to use its land as there are other institutions of higher learning in the country asserting that it is a lucky moment for the MMTU.
Dr. Kanu also recalled that the institution used to produce the best teachers in the country and highlighted its various transformations from a college, polytechnic and now Technical University underscoring that the institution must address societal problems.
According to the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of MMTU, disaster issues are for all, citing massive sand mining, cutting down of trees, building of houses on hilltops and suggested that a course in Disaster Management at MMTU would help address the issue for which he reiterated that MMTU is ready to support the process underlining that MMTU wants to produce entrepreneurs and business-minded people.
Highlights of the meeting were the presentation of books/reports/materials to MMTU by NDMA while the vote of thanks was given by the Vice Principal and Director of Studies, Dr. Mohamed Alie Jalloh.