Matthew Kanu contributes this story:
Victoria Koroma is a former student of the University of Makeni Law Department. She graduated in 2016 with a first class in LLB and did extremely well at Law School (with a class 2:2) and emerged as the best student in her Bar Class. A few months after her call to the bar she won a Commonwealth Scholarship to the United Kingdom for an LLM Program in Gender, Conflict and Human Rights Law at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. The one year course is a jointly funded programme with funds from both Commonwealth and Ulster University described as ‘Commonwealth Shared Scholarship’.
This Shared Scholarship is highly competitive as it is open to all Commonwealth citizens in the world. However, she was very lucky to get it especially in a University with a single award (nomination candidate). It is a fully funded scholarship with travel, tuition and living expenses fully taken care of. This course will end in September 2017 when she will have submitted her dissertation. However, her visa will last till January 2018. At the moment, she is searching for a PhD scholarship opportunity as the Shared Scholarship does not fund PhDs.
The course started on the 29th September after a two week orientation. Coming from a post war country as well as her experience in human rights activities in Sierra Leone means that some of the contents of the course are not new. One thing she is very appreciative of and which has helped her got a foundation is the basis she learnt from her Human Rights Law class at UNIMAK. Also, the rigors she went through in writing her dissertation and getting to learn how to reference work to avoid the ‘almighty’ plagiarism check at UNIMAK has greatly helped her with the basis to do a better Oscola referencing. Assessment grades have started coming out and she is up to expectation.
Commonwealth Scholarships are amazing with no expenses left unfunded. Students who have completed their degrees with excellent results can go get this opportunity even without the help of the national nominating body (Ministry of Education). All that is required is to visit their website, check their criteria, put relevant documents together be ready to give you time and get started. You will be surprised when you realize that it works.
She is in a special way thankful to Father Joseph Turay (Vice Chancellor of UNIMAK), Adam Goguen (Former Registrar of UNIMAK) and Joseph Kobba (a lecturer of the UNIMAK Law Department) for their support in making this dream a success. She is grateful to Bishop Natalio Paganelli (Bishop of Makeni Diocese ) and the entire Diocese of Makeni for their generosity all through her university studies.
By Matthew Kanu
70 Public Health students of the University of Makeni visited the Adax Bioenergy and Sun Bird Bioenergy Company in December to have first hand information on the administrative management, waste management and operations of the factory. In 2016 the Adax Bioenergy Company sold about 75% of the company to Sun Bird Bioenergy Company. The two companies, located in three Chiefdoms in Tonkolili District and Bombali District, will be producing ethanol and electricity in Sierra Leone. The trip which ended with Question and Answer sessions was an eye opener for the students because they were able to learn directly about the operations of the company and how they control waste .
Admin Officer of Adax Bioenergy and Sunbird Companies, Andel Mark William, addressing UNIMAK Public Health students
Distillery Manager Dr. Joe Lahai Sumana addressing students in front of the factory
Public Health students observing and taking notes on their findings
By Matthew Kanu:
UNIMAK‘S 2016-17 academic year Matriculating Students
The 2016-2017 academic year matriculation of students was held at the Fatima Campus on the 3rd December 2016. 434 new students attended the matriculation ceremony with parents, staff and senior management of the university. Addressing the students Vice-Chancellor Professor Joe Turay said that this was the beginning of the journey into the university. He invited them to enjoy the culture and experience of UNIMAK, and encouraged them not to exploit, or be exploited by, others.
Vice Chancellor of UNIMAK delivers the welcome address to students
Professor Turay emphasized that the University of Makeni is a unique local brand made in Sierra Leone because it is the first catholic and private university in Sierra Leone. At UNIMAK students can enjoy the experience of having a free and secure environment, an open minded environment with public lectures, and the willingness to work in communities. He said knowledge is transforming society, liberating people from poverty, respecting the dignity of the human person and driving social transformation.
The students and parents attending this year’s matriculation ceremony said they are happy to be part of the UNIMAK family because of the commitment of UNIMAK‘s staff and management to the promotion of quality education in Sierra Leone.
By Matthew Kanu:
Professor Monty Jones
The 12th Foundation Day Lecture was held on 22nd November 2016 at the Fatima Campus . Foundation Day Lectures have become traditional for the University of Makeni marking the beginning of every academic year . The university invites people that have contributed in shaping society or contributed in the development of Sierra Leone. The topic for this year’s Foundation Day Lecture was “Which is the way forward for a New Sierra Leone: Agriculture or Mining ?” The speaker for the lecture was the Sierra Leone’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Professor Monty Jones. The lecture attracted people from all walks of life including students and staff of the University of Makeni who enjoyed an educative interactive lecture.
Staff ask questions of the lecturer, Professor Monty Jones
Group discussions during the retreat
By Matthew Kanu:
The University of Makeni (UNIMAK) has concluded this years annual staff retreat at the Sylvanus Koroma campus situated at Yoni Village. During the retreat check lists for all fourteen departments and and seven faculties were discussed. The check lists included evaluations of the teaching staff, the students and of the facilities and premises of the university.
Exams Officer Mustapha Ishmael and Registrar Fr Francis
These are all focussed towards the strategic plan and improving teaching, research and community engagement at the university.