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.