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Sierra Leone News: LAB Opens Child Maintenance Account

The Sierra Leone Legal Aid Board has opened the first child maintenance account at the Siaka Stevens Street Branch of the Rokel Commercial Bank.

The Human Resource Manager of the Board, Ms. Audrey Williams oversaw the opening of the account. According to Ms. Williams, the accounts will be opened at the Rokel Commercial Bank and the Union Trust Bank. The Board will open accounts in other banks in areas of the country where Rokel Commercial Bank and the Union Trust Bank do not have a branch.
The Board and the Banks agreed that Savings Accounts will be opened for Child Maintenance. Also, a minimum balance of Le20,000 ( twenty thousand Leones) will be allowed for each account.

‘In the coming weeks, we will open accounts for over 500 women and caregivers whose children have been awarded child maintenance by the Board,’ she said. ‘At the end of the day, we will ensure we open accounts for all child maintenance awarded by the Board.’

With the opening of the account, Fatmata will no longer have to come to the Finance Office of the Board to collect child maintenance money of Le 200,000 (two hundred thousand Leones). She will now have to go to the bank to withdraw money deposited into her account by the Board. According to the settlement reached by the Board’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Department the amount will increase to Le 250,000 (two hundred and fifty thousand Leones) after three months.

The opening of the child maintenance account comes as a huge relief to the Board which has been struggling to cope with the increasing number of mothers and caregivers coming to the office at the end of the month to collect monies received from fathers of their children.
This is because child maintenance matters account for the majority of cases mediated by the Board’s ADR. Also, the fact that the Board has been securing court orders for maintenance cases has increase compliance with settlement reached.

‘We have been able to achieve this much because of the support of the Chair of the Board, Justice Miatta Samba, who had pushed for court orders for all settlements reach for maintenance matters by the Board’s ADR Department,’ the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles said.

Sierra Leone News: Development Minister Attends G7+ Meeting in Portugal

The Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai has over the weekend concluded series of meetings in his capacity as Chair of the G7+ Group of Countries and Co-Chair of the International Dialogue on Peace building and State building (IDPS) in Lisbon, Portugal.

The theme of this year’s 5th Ministerial Meeting of the G7+ was: “Leading the change in Consolidating Peace and Development; G7+ perspective” which seeks to promote and advocate for country-led peacebuilding and state-building as the basis for any development framework and promoting effective institutions through assisting members in improvements in the spheres of politics, public administration, national resources, economics and finance.

In his welcome remarks, Dr. Kai-Kai reminded the meeting of the significant role that the G7+ Group plays in shaping global thinking about the fragility and the group’s objective of ending conflicts and poverty in fragile states. He said, “I want to recall the critical role the G7+ group played in successfully negotiating the inclusion of goal 16 on Peace, justice and strong institutions in the 2030 Agenda. The global community should pay special attention to countries in fragile situations in the implementation of Agenda 2030 due to the peculiarity of their circumstances”.

In a communique signed at the end of the meeting, the member states committed to adopting an introspective approach to tackling challenges that hinder peace and economic resilience in their respective countries; agreed on milestones in consolidating the G7+ as a group for making, building and sustaining peace and development and concretise advocacy and Peer learning to achieve agreed measurable benchmarks.

Sierra Leone was re-elected by consensus to continue as Chair of G7+ Group, which comprises twenty (20) low income countries grappling with mainly (post) conflict and governance related fragility and development challenges.

Speaking at the opening of the Steering Group Meeting of the IDPS, The Minister assured the Group of Sierra Leone’s commitment to continue providing political leadership to the platform and conveyed His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio’s desire to see that development works for the people out there and creates the much needed impact in their lives so that no one is left behind.

Sierra Leone will also continue to Co-Chair with Canada the IDPS, which is a tripartite arrangement between the G7+ countries, national and International NGO’s, and a network of bi-lateral and multi-lateral development partners.



Sierra Leone News: Kenema Magistrate Court Refuses Bail To 16 Accused Persons

The Kenema Magistrate Court under the Jurisdiction of Magistrate Toby on Monday 1/7/2019 refused Bail to Sixteen out of the Eighteen Bike riders who allegedly attacked and damaged the office of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority in Kenema.

Refusing the application for bail earlier submitted by the defense counsel, D. S Ansumana, Magistrate Toby said application for bail can only be entertained after listening to key prosecution witnesses on the matter.

The Eighteen accused Persons are facing several counts of Riotous conduct, malicious damage to property, wounding, throwing missiles etc.

The Prosecution led by Police Inspector Alimu Koroma, informed the court that he has several prosecution witnesses that are ready to testify to prove the case against the accused Persons. The first Prosecution witness Ibrahim S Kamara, a senior Road Marshal in Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority informed the court that he was on duty on Thursday 20/6/2019 at SLRSA office in Kenema when the accused Persons invaded the offices, damaged the gate, forcefully entered the  compound and damaged property worth tens of millions of Leone’s including vehicles. The witness also intimated the court that he was wounded by one of the accused Persons.

The matter was adjourned to Thursday 4/7/2019. Two of the accused Persons (9th and 15th) were granted bail .The 9th accused was granted bail on medical grounds while the 15th accused was granted bail on the grounds of being a teacher.

The sixteen accused persons are;
Sheku Kanu                    
Mohamed Soko                          
Vandy Kallon
Hassan Kamara               
Lasanana Kallon          
Sorieba Momodu                      
Yokie Boima
Vandy Swarray
Chernor Barrie
Sheku Salieu
Alhaji Jalloh
Mohamed Foday
Abdul Kallon
Lansana Bawoh
Mohamed Jalloh
Jessie Msnsaray
Ibrahim Msnsaray
Osman Sesay

Incidents of attacks on personnel and premises of the Authority are very common in the Kenema and Kambia Districts. Many observers have expressed concern on this state of affairs and are calling for concerted effort to address this crude method by bike riders to halt the operations of the Authority.

Meanwhile, in the North-eastern District of Kambia, three commercial bike riders who violently attacked personnel of the Authority, have been found guilty by Magistrate Abdul Carew .The three accused Persons were sentenced to three months in prison with no option.


Sierra Leone News: LAB Boss Admonishes Young Women

The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles has told 300 aspiring young women to believe in themselves, believe they have something to offer, strive for a good education and always be at their best regardless of the situation they find themselves.

She made these remarks while serving as a motivational speaker on the topic ‘The Role of Young Women in Achieving Gender Equality’ at the first edition of ‘Her Lead Summit 2019’ organized by Initiative for Creative Women – Sierra Leone at Radisson Blu, Mammy Yoko Hotel on Thursday, 27 June 2019.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles encouraged the women to set high goals and never settle for less. ‘If your goals are low, you will remain at the bottom,’ she said. She then took them through her humble background which saw her proceed to the St. Edwards Secondary School and then Fourah Bay College where she studied Law. ‘I was Principal Defender at the Special Court for Sierra Leone,’ she said, adding: ‘I was the first and only Sierra Leonean to hold that position and I am currently the first Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board. You can achieve as much or even better.’

She warned against allowing themselves to be defined by their past. She also warned that they should never put themselves in a situation in which they will have to depend on others. ‘As women you can perform equally or even better than men,’ she said. ‘Do not decide to be lazy, instead identify your talent and improve on it.’

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles urged them to be assertive and confident without being disrespectful. Also, they should not look down on people. ‘You should be the kind of person everybody would feel comfortable talking to or confiding in,’ she said. ‘If you approach anger with anger and violence with violence, you will be seen as a bad person and people will shy away from you,’ she added.

She said they should stay away from abusive people and should not be party to a quarrel because people close to them are involved in it. She lamented the fact that these days young women find it normal to copy bad examples than the good ones.

To those without a college degree, she said they can make it even without one. She encouraged them to be sure of themselves and also importantly be in control of what they do. Also, they should always be at their best because people are looking at you.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles encouraged them to take time to study and understand people. She added that they should not get stuck to a relationship which does not work for them. ‘Some partners frown at your development and will not support your efforts at developing yourself,’ she said. ‘Some will do everything at their disposal to stop you.’


Sierra Leone News: Sierra Leone Engineers Want Better Deal

SLIE President, Professor Jonas Redwood-Sawyerr

The Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers (SLIE) on Saturday 29th June 2019 ended its Annual General Meeting and launch of its 50th Anniversary Special Program at the Samuel Beccles-Davies Memorial Hall, Gloucester Street in Freetown at which event the President of SLIE, Engineer Professor Jonas Abioseh Sylvanus Redwood-Sawyerr, who also chaired the event, asserted that members should use the occasion for reflection and how each member in his/her various discipline and engagement can influence the engineering practice in Sierra Leone for the next decades

He furthered that the Council has brainstormed on engineering as seen by the older generation and also through the lenses of the younger engineers underscoring that the social media platforms created by the latter group of engineers are awash with comments, criticisms and great ideas on how to provide a watershed in the fortunes of the profession as well as the way to do business.
Engineer Professor Jonas Redwood-Sawyerr went on to enlighten that he has encouraged the younger engineers to be more visible and active in the programs of the Committees, revealing that SLIE has seen the largest number of young engineers as well as female engineers as Council members in recent times and that an increase from 16% to 32% female representation in SLIE Council has been noted from 2015 to date.

According to the SLIE President, Council is also active in partnership projects such as the Royal Academy for Engineers for Higher Education, Innovation and Reform project among others and affirmed that they look forward to greater collaboration with all engineers, both national and international, as they move towards Council’s 50th Year Anniversary.

In his keynote address and officially launching the 50th anniversary celebrations, Engineer Andrew Keili articulated that after 50 years they should look ahead of the mountains to climb, that SLIE has made a mark in the country and underscored that with steadfastness and commitment, they would forge ahead.

He went on to state that SLIE is now a resource-driven organization, that Council is represented in various Boards, that their policies are very apolitical, that they also publish position papers on various national issues and affiliated with member organizations, revealing that membership has increased from 130 -669.

According to Engineer Andrew Keili, since 2011 the new Act has not been passed into law underscoring that professional organizations can go a long way to advance Sierra Leone by speaking fearlessly on national issues and called on members to make SLIE visible in the next 50 years.

The chairman of the Professional Engineers Registration Council (PERC), Engineer Tani Pratt disclosed that the Institution has made significant strides since its founding 50 years ago and that now is the time to rebrand and equip it for the challenging times ahead, asserting that the PERC has grown from a membership of 130 professional engineers in 2009 to the current membership of 665, representing at annual growth of 20%.

He affirmed that the institution would not make the required progress if local institutions do not have projects that can be used to continue the training and experience of young graduates adding that it is in this vein that he is pleading with the Ministry of Works and Public Assets, the supervisory Ministry,  to address the recommendations SLIE and PERC made starting in 2011 regarding improvements in the PERC Act, one of which would result in the strengthening of the provisions  of the Local Content Act and was delighted to report that the proposal is now in the Cabinet Office awaiting consideration and approval.

Some of the achievements of SLIE are enactment of the Professional Engineers Registration Council (PERC) Act of 1990 for the regulation of the practice of engineering in Sierra Leone, representation in the Boards of most engineering parastatals, regularly invited to participate in policy issues related to engineering by the Government of Sierra Leone and regularly publishing position papers on engineering issues that threaten public safety such as defective buildings, bridges, poor construction methods and specifications.

Other achievements are establishing strong ties with sister institutions in Ghana and Nigeria for over a decade, who regularly send delegations to each other’s Annual General Meetings and Conferences, won a competition (49 African Sub-Saharan Countries) funding of 35 Pounds Sterling for the African Catalysts award under the auspices of the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund.

The pilot project was carried out from mid-December 2016 to mid-June 2017.

The pilot project was successfully validated at a workshop held at the British Council Hall in Freetown in June 2017 and was attended by various stakeholders including the Secretary to the President, a representative from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, a representative of the Sierra Leone Bar Association, United Nations Office for Procurement Services (UNOPS) and students of the Engineering Faculty at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.

The Council has also established a functional website (www.slie-sl.org) which is regularly updated, has an increased presence on social media in various Engineering fore and has regularly published its newsletter, “The Engineering Forum,” since August 2016.

Highlights of the AGM were statements by Canon Engineer Ivan Gordon, Engineer Ambassador Dr. Yvette Stevens, Franklyn George-Williams, N’Delei Sam and the grand launching of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations by Engineer Andrew Keili.

Reports were also presented by the Secretary General, Treasurer, Audited Accounts 2018, salary survey results and discussions.




Sierra Leone News: Govt. Pays Le3.4B to Affected Property Owners

Government of Sierra Leone, through the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), has paid the sum of 3.4 billion Leones to 210 affected property owners along the Moyamba junction-Moyamba Road, which is under construction.

The above disclosure was made by SLRA’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Sorie Ibrahim Kanu, at his    Kissy office in Freetown on Monday, 1st July, 2019.

He said the name of the project is “Moyamba junction-Moyamba Road and Four Bridges”, noting that the bridges include Magbele, Mabang, Gbagbama, and Moyamba.

“Two weeks ago, SLRA’s Board of Directors, inspected ongoing road works in Bo and Kenema cities and those in Bonthe Sherbro Island. The government also paid compensation of over one billion Leones to 120 affected property owners in these communities,” he disclosed.

He noted that over the weekend, one of the funding partners of the Kenema-Pendembu Road-the Islamic Development Bank (IDB)-did an inspection on the progress made so far on the road, adding that plans are underway for road works on the Kailahun-Koindu road.

He said IDB has shown commitment to fund the Koindu-Liberia and Koindu-Guinea roads.

Already, he said, bids have been opened for spots improvements and pre-mix patching and that of Third Street in Bo city.

Asked about the progress of the ongoing Magbele Bridge, he stated that contractors have almost finished the pillars, while awaiting the beams to arrive in the country.

He expressed optimism that by next year, substantial work would have been done on the Magbele Bridge.

With regards the Mabang Bridge, he said drilling is ongoing on the bridge and the government is making efforts to ensure that that bridge is constructed so as to ease the transport constraint of the inhabitants of Mabang and its environs.



Sierra Leone News: ECOWAS States Adopt ECO as Single Currency

Beginning in January 2020, countries within the West African sub-region will be able to use a single currency called ECO.

The currency was adopted by the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Saturday in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.

The West African leaders endorsed the currency at their 55th Ordinary Session and approved a road map towards the currency’s issuance in January 2020.

There was a roadmap to ensure that all member countries meet three primary criteria for the adoption of the currency.

That includes member countries having a budget deficit of not more than 3 percent; average annual inflation of less than 10 percent with a long-term goal of not more than 5 percent by 2019. Countries were expected to also have gross reserves that can finance at least three months of imports.

The other convergence criteria that have been adopted by ECOWAS are public debt or Gross Domestic Product of not more than 70 percent.

There is also the issue of central banks financing budget deficit not more than 10 percent of previous year’s tax revenue, and nominal exchange rate variation of plus or minus 10 percent.

At the end of the Abuja meeting a communiqué read by Nigeria’s Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mustapha Suleiman noted that the regional leaders instructed the ECOWAS Commission to work in collaboration with West African Monetary Agency.

The commission is also expected to work with West African Monetary Institute and all central banks to settle on a symbol for the single currency.

The ECOWAS Chairman President Issoufou Mahamadou has said that the revised roadmap does not affect the date for the issuance of the single currency in January 2020.

Speaking about the deadline for adoption, Mahamadou said “We have not changed that but we will continue with assessment between now and then.

“We are of the view that countries that are ready will launch the single currency and countries that are not yet ready will join the programme as they comply with all six convergence criteria.”

ECOWAS has a combined population of 385 million and was set up in 1975.

It comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

Eight of these countries use one currency called the CFA franc. Those are Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

The current decision to adopt one currency is similar to the move made by the European Union to adopt the single currency called Euro.


Sierra Leone News: Orange SL Continues to Rise & Shine

Globally renowned telcom Orange has been present in Sierra Leone for just three years, yet it has already firmly stamped an innovative footprint on the country and its telecoms industry.

The telecommunications tide is shifting in Sierra Leone.

Owing to the country’s 2018 democratic elections which were followed by a change in government, and in turn a new administrative team behind the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), sweeping changes have arisen across the industry, from the emergence of a fairer, more accommodating regulatory environment to a number of beneficial tax changes and a review of the Telecoms Act.

Against this prosperous backdrop, Orange Sierra Leone (SL) Limited, the country’s leading telecommunications company, is thriving.

Having acquired Airtel’s national operations in July 2016, the three years since have seen the company invest in excess of $55 million in a major network overhaul. The result has seen a multitude of upgrades including the replacement of 180 generators and 282 DC power modernisation of 250 sites for single RAN mode; launch of a new data centre; implementation of a new network platform for prepaid billing and management; and a new switch to handle voice traffic changing all core equipment.

Further, the firm expanded the network by launching 45 and 42 new sites in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

And while only half of 2019 has passed us by so far, the enterprise has made similar monumental strides in the latest six months, namely through the inception of its Digital Revolution programme in February 2019 and the launch of its 4G service one month later.
“We’re pursuing a strong industrial project in Sierra Leone that is geared towards covering most of the country with telecom services, services that will improve rural connectivity and also our quality of service,” states Aminata Kane Ndiaye, Orange SL’s CEO.

Meeting a marked milestone after landmark progression, the company has already drastically transformed the national landscape and socioeconomic status quo and is poised to continue leading the change in enabling new-era connectivity.

“What we’re offering is truly high-speed broadband mobile internet – an unmatched, life-changing experience that puts digital communication completely within the control of the consumer, affecting and adding value to every facet of their lives,” Ndiaye adds.

Creating sustainable opportunities
It is this statement from the Chief Executive that best explains the monumental role that mobile broadband, and indeed Orange, will have to play on a much broader level.

Looking at the African continent as a whole, for example, research from GSMA has shown that mobiles aren’t just considered to be communication devices. They are equally the primary channel for many people in getting online and accessing vital tools such as digital education, digital healthcare and mobile banking.

In the knowledge of this, Orange SL is empowering digital transformation across a multitude of verticals to bring sustainable benefits to all Sierra Leoneans, one of the company’s core emphasis is centred on connecting rural areas.

“Currently, approximately  50 percent of Sierra Leoneans do not use mobile phones, while the main countries of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) are close to 100 percent,” states Ndiaye. “We’re proud that our strategic drivers are changing this, already having connected to well over 900 new localities with thousands of Sierra Leoneans now able to access data, voice and financial services for the first time.”

The company’s influence goes far beyond this, however. Its Orange Money services, for example, have been a key driver of financial inclusion, providing people with the platform to access banking solutions, from money transfers and salary payments to bills and merchants’ payments.

“There was an enormous appetite for mobile money services,” reveals Ndiaye. “The ability to transfer funds, pay bills, save, borrow and so on has been inclusively transforming the lives of all individuals and businesses, be it women, farmers or those living in remote areas.

“Being the first to bring mobile money to Sierra Leone has given people the ability to access funds anywhere, anytime, saving time, improving security and providing a means for saving and managing money more effectively.”

Equally, Orange SL’s up and coming B2B services is a secondary flagship for progression, helping to introduce national businesses to the abundance of benefits that come with digital solutions and expertise.

“This is crucial to our portfolio,” Ndiaye adds, “because we want to be the first-choice partner for digital transformation in Sierra Leone.”

Aid for all
Coupled with the organisation’s endeavours to bolster socioeconomic sustainability are its wider social responsibility practices, initiatives that Ndiaye herself is particularly passionate about.

“We’re still the only operator in Sierra Leone to contribute to the government’s Free Quality Education Agenda,” she states, calling upon a particular example that invokes such pride. “This support package includes the provision of hygiene packs for girls, our Super Coder Academy, inter-secondary school competition, the open classroom and solar kits for school children.”

In total, the aforementioned is set to cost of $1.5 million in total over a period of five years, with a further $12 million earmarked for bolstering high quality connectivity through the expansion of 3G and 4G capabilities across the country.

“We are committed to doing business in an ethical manner and contribute heavily to the development of our countries of presence,” Ndiaye adds.

“We have tried to understand the needs and values of Sierra Leoneans and how we can connect them with the Orange brand. Our aim is to give people what is really essential in their lives and relevant to their locality with international standards, providing them with an unmatched experience and the platform to grow.”

Orange SL in total spent some LE2 billion ($238,000) on CSR during 2017 and 2018.


Furthering the agenda
Looking ahead, Ndiaye makes it clear that the buck doesn’t stop here for Orange SL. Rather, she expresses confidence that progress made over the past three years has merely laid out the foundations for the firm’s wider ambitions.

Whether it’s the education, energy or agricultural sectors, the CEO has outlined the organisation’s goals of introducing and implementing new technologies for businesses of all kinds across Sierra Leone.

Equally, Orange SL is being provided with the ideal environment in which it can achieve these goals, owed to the ongoing regulatory changes and reviews undertaken by the government that will serve to aid industry operations.

Ndiaye concludes, citing her optimism for the future: “We’ll be turning our attentions to investing $24 million this year in our network in support of the government’s efforts to increase ICT, and provide leading 4G services.

“In turn, we’re hopeful that the government will continue to help us. We are grateful for the recent review on mobile termination rates (MTR), resulting in the removal of the $0.02 tax on local interconnect call and the coming reduction of the MTR to $0.025.

“We are also hopeful that the removal of $0.01 tax on international outgoing calls and the removal of price cap on international voice and SMS tariffs will be given consideration. I’m optimistic that feedback from stakeholders in the telecoms industry will be given consideration during the final review of the draft National Communications Act due to be enacted in 2019.

“The aforementioned will be accompanied by our launch of new mobile financial services such as micro loans, efforts to become a digital transformation partner of choice, and continued CSR programmes – it’s undeniably exciting times for our company, this country and its people.”

Sierra Leone News: Maritau Kargbo Bags Most Influential People Of African Descent Award

Sierra Leone Cultural Ambassador to China who is also a philanthropist, Mariatu Kargbo popular known as Maria has been recognized as one of the Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD).

MIPAD identifies high achievers of African descent in public and private sectors from all around the world as a progressive network of relevant actors to join together in the spirit of recognition, justice and development of Africa, its people on the continent and across its diaspora.

MIPAD is a global list that identifies, in total, 200 outstanding individuals under 40 years of age, with 100 inside Africa, 100 outside Africa in the diaspora across 4 categories; Politics and Governance, Business and Entrepreneurship, Media and Culture, Humanitarian and Religious.

Maria who is the founder of Mariatu Kargbo Foundation was recognized this year as one of the Most Influential People of African Descent in the media and culture category.

Speaking to this medium after receiving the award in China, Maria expressed delight upon receiving such an accolade as she said that this is a sign of appreciation in relation to the various charity works that she has been embarking on in Sierra Leone, China and other part of the world.

“I felt good for such award because I worked for it”.

This is not the first international award received by Maria. In 2009, Maria participated in the biggest contest in the world Miss World 2009 and her record is still intact as she won two awards out of the five in that competition. Maria is the first Sierra Leonean to be recognised in the Guinness Book of Record.  She also break the world record for raising the highest donation during the Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia Ebola crisis.

Maria said that such an award should have come earlier than this but she thanked God for the organisers to have recognised her good work at this time.

Maria promised to continue her charity work in and out of Sierra Leone so that she will continue to impact positively the lives of people.

“I believe in giving back. This is how it was for me when I was growing up and I will continue to do that.”

As her foundation, Mariatu Kargbo Foundation continues its drive of supporting the less privileged in Sierra Leone.

Maria raised the standard of children, mostly disabled ones, at the school named after her, due to her constant support to the teachers and pupils of that school, Maria Primary School, Polio Community Grafton in the east end of Freetown.

In supporting the government’s free quality education project in the country, Maria recently provided learning and teaching materials to over four hundred pupils of that school.

She has provided support to the youth of Lakka, Devil Hole and Waterloo. She is supporting developmental projects in and out of Freetown.

Maria was among other Sierra Leoneans like the first lady Fatima Bio and Akon that received the awards.


Sierra Leone News: DHS Helping to Improve Sierra Leone’s Health Indicators

The Chief Health Education Officer and Programme Manager Health Education Division, in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Lansana Alex Conteh has said that the ongoing Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) gathers data on key health indicators of the country which he noted will be useful for effective planning by government and  implementation of health interventions across the country,

He was speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation at a regional advocacy meeting held for paramount chiefs in the North East and North West Regions in Makeni City and Port Loko City on the ongoing Demographic and Health Survey over the weekend.

Pointing out the health benefits of the DHS to the Health Sector, Mr Conteh noted that they need credible and accurate date to improve the health indicators of the country for effective planning and implementation of health interventions across the country.

He reiterated that they are in dire need of high quality date on the following health conditions: fertility levels and preferences, the utilization of contraceptives, Infant, Child and Neonatal Mortality levels, nutritional status, and the level of awareness on HIV/AIDS.

Mr Conteh continued that they also need data to measure maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity and associated causes, information on Family Planning, the prevalence of HIV in men and women in the country and behavioural risk factors related to HIV and also to provide information on the access and use of mosquito treated bed nets.

Mr. Conteh ended by urging paramount chiefs to enlighten their people, as a little prick of blood is demanded by the enumerators in the field to ascertain data on people’s health and that the test is done on the presence of both the enumerators and the individual.

Statistician General, Prof. Osman Sankoh at Statistics Sierra Leone said that though we are trying as a nation, the country is being rated as one of the least developed countries in the world because we cannot provide accurate date on certain development indicators which have to do with the development and health of our people. He further noted that the Demographic and Health Survey will look into these indicators which will help government, Non-Governmental and International Organisations.

Mr.  Sankoh further said that Sierra Leone is competing with countries in the Manor River Union, ECOWAS, Africa and the World for which we need accuracy and quality to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and now Sustainable Development Goals as per international standards.

Acting Director Demography, Health and Social Statistics, Sonnia-Magba Bu-Buakei Jabbi stated that they were craving for high quality data as they were using Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) like smart phones and electronic tablets to gather credible and accurate data for which the enumerators were trained and tools pretested.

Ms Bu-Buakei Jabbi reiterated that they were now doing the 3rd Demographic and Health Survey and the 2019 DHS will populate, update or improve the Sierra Leone Demographic and Health Surveys of 2008 & 2013. He continued that the Statistics Sierra Leone which is the body mandated to provide credible data in Sierra Leone, is poised to provide data to monitor the demography (people) and health situation of people in Sierra Leone.