Makeni Welcomes the Newly Established UNIMAK Centre Of Sierra Leone Studies.

By Matthew Kanu

Residents of Makeni City in Northern Sierra Leone have expressed optimism over the newly established Centre for Sierra Leone Studies. A trader in Makeni Andrew Kamara said most citizens don’t know the history of Sierra Leone. I personally believe that such a centre will bridge the knowledge gap existing within our society” he said.
Like Andrew, Mariatu Bangura is a teacher of the Saint Francis Secondary School in Makeni. She like most residents of Makeni believed that establishing a Centre for Sierra Leone Studies is a step in the right direction. “I personally believe that this will enable us to move from darkness to light” she noted . She further emphasized that an enlighten society is a society that is well informed, transparent and accountable.

Many students here at the university of Makeni hold the view that the establishment of the centre will enhance or make available more learning material to them. Mass Communication final year student Cecelia Karimu said this will make learning easier. She also reiterated that the centre will promote the right to access information and good governance .

According to the Sierra Leone 2015 housing and population census the population of Sierra Leone is over seven million. The majority of this population lives in rural Sierra Leone. A larger population of rural Sierra Leone is uninformed. Chapter 3 subsection 2 of the1991 Sierra Leone Constitution indicate that : (1) Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression, and for the purpose of this section the said freedom includes the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference, freedom from interference with his correspondence, freedom to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions, and academic freedom in institutions of learning:

Provided that no person other than the Government or any person or body authorised by the President shall own, establish or operate a television or wireless broadcasting station for any purpose whatsoever.

(2) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in the contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes provision. Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Right stipulated that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek receive and impart information and ideas though any media and regardless of frontiers.

Speaking in an interview the University of Makeni Vice Chancellor Reverend Father Professor Joe Turay said the centre will be a resource useful not only for students but for Sierra Leoneans and non Sierra Leonean citizens across the globe . He emphasized that the centre will be a research laboratory for various academic disciplines and will be professionally administered. ”In order to commence this ambitious project, we will use all the modern digital tools available to us. We will begin by building both an anthology of materials available in all academic disciplines and providing a detailed bibliography of work stored elsewhere and currently being researched and where this may be viewed and incorporated into the work of scholars studying  and writing on all aspects of Sierra Leone” he mentioned. He further opined that a further source of information will be the respected ‘Journal of Sierra Leone Studies’, which will be based at The Centre and subsequent editions will include both peer-reviewed academic papers and other items of interest and use to those wanting to study and know more about Sierra Leone. ”If anyone has documents, photographs or other items that will be of use to scholars and would like to donate them to us, please send them to the Centre, where they will allow us to build the non-digital section of the materials available to all wanting to study and further their interest in Sierra Leone” he pleaded. Sierra Leone history is widely respected across Africa and beyond. With the establishment of this centre the country’s historical profile will be respected.

Students And Staff Of The Republic Of Guinea King Mo. Roi The Sixth University Visit UNIMAK

By Matthew Kanu

Ten students and two lecturers from the Republic of Guinea King Mo. Roi the Sixth University English Language Department are presently on a 25 days learning tour to the University of Makeni (UNIMAK). The students and lecturers are here to improve on their ability to read and write the English Language and to further strengthen bilateral relationship between UNIMAK and the King Mo. Roi the Sixth University.

King Mo. Roi the Sixth University second year student David Lamah expressed optimism in improving his speaking and writing skills at the end of the 25 days. He said UNIMAK is a wonderful place to be . “The hospitality is so wonderful . The lecturers we met are so wonderful. We hope to learn good English at the end of the 25 days in Sierra Leone” he mentioned .

First year student of the same university Mamadou Saliau Sow said he is very happy to come to Sierra Leone to learn how to speak better English . “Speaking English is my dream but learning English in a French country is very challenging” he noted. Sow is determine to learn a lot and improve on basic speaking and writing skills.

The King Mo. Roi the Sixth University was established in 2007. The present student population is four thousand with two campuses. The university is presently affiliated to universities in France, Morocco and Turkey. UNIMAK is the first university they have visited in the West African sub region.

UNIMAK Deputy Director of Finance and Administration Victoria Iheanacho holds the view that reaching out to institutions within and outside Sierra Leone is very important for the growth of UNIMAK . “The King Mo. Roi the Sixth is one of the universities within the Mano River Union that is presently seeking for partnership with UNIMAK in Sierra Leone” she said. Madam Iheanacho reiterated that the two universities are all within the Geographical location of the Mano River Union which placed them on a better footing for long term partnership.

Speaking in an interview King Mo. Roi the Sixth University English Language Department lecturer Mamadou Bhoye Diallo noted that they are trying to create an inter co operational relationship with UNIMAK. Diallo said within the 25 days period the ten students will take classes from UNIMAK lecturers on public speaking and writing skills that will to help them to be eloquent and be perfect English Language speakers . “We are looking forward to gaining education, knowledge and perfection from UNIMAK that we will take home” he emphasized .

He further stressed that they are thinking of establishing a long term partnership for the common good of the Mano River Union and the African continent in general .

Speaking to journalists in Makeni City ,English Language Head of Department Kamara Mussa said teaching English in a French country is very challenging but to overcome these challenges it is very important for us as lecturers and students from Guinea to learn and share ideas from lecturers and students from UNIMAK who can speak good English. “Teaching English in a French speaking country is very challenging because after classes the students will continue speaking French in the community instead of speaking English but you can speak better English when you are in an English speaking country” he stressed . Kamara said they will jointly implement some project that will not only enable UNIMAK students to learn French or King Mo. Roi the Sixth university students to learn English but one that will address issues of national and international development .


Delegation From The Ministry Of Information And Communication Visits UNIMAK

By Matthew Kanu

A visiting delegation from the Government of Sierra Leone Ministry of Information and Communication has paid a courtesy call to staff and students of the University of Makeni on Friday 26th August 20116.

Addressing staff and students inside the UNIMAK staff room the Ministry of Information and Communication Information Officer Dan Perkinson said they are there to inspect a resource centre provided by the ministry in 2012 .He said part of the visit is to know whether the students are benefiting from the resource centre , resource centre equipment are in proper use and to further strengthen the partnership between UNIMAK and the Ministry of Information and Communication.

UNIMAK Director of Administration Reverend Father Benjamin Sesay informed the delegation that UNIMAK is grateful to the Government of Sierra Leone for supporting it establishment and providing the enabling environment for private public partnership . He said the ministry installed a satellite dish and only supply one motor bike instead of two motor bikes from the ministry in 2012. He further emphasized that no one from the ministry never attempted to come and do some follow up on the project. “We are happy that you are here to follow up on the project and to strengthen our private public partnership. We also want people to know that UNIMAK was established to meaningfully contribute to the human resource development of Sierra Leone ” he noted.

Head of Delegation and Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Collinious Devoux said the ministry was recently informed of the 2012 Ministry of Information and Communication internet connectivity project for UNIMAK. He said the ministry is geared towards developing a public private partnership and UNIMAK is a major partner in the development of Sierra Leone .He also said the ministry will fix the gaps in implementing the project

Minister Devoux further emphasized that the ministry in partnership with the world bank is rolling out a broadband internet connectivity project to promote affordable internet connectivity for ten higher institution across Sierra . “The University of Makeni is a beneficiary of this project . One thousand computers will be available for the project .About fifty or one hundred computers will be given to each institution benefiting from the project” he mentioned. The delegation was taken to a conducted tour of all computer laboratories and the old satellite dish installed by the ministry in 2012

Nine Police Officers Benefit From UNIMAK Short Term Courses

By Matthew Kanu

The University of Makeni (UNIMAK) Education Department has ended a three month ‘English Proficiency for the Police’ short term course that started in May and ended in August. A certification ceremony was organized for nine police officers on Saturday 27th August 2016. The participants were selected from the Criminal Investigation Department, operations office, integrated intelligence service, and legal and justice support department.This is part of its programs since it inception in 2005 to promote public private partnership and reach out to institutions across Sierra Leone

Addressing staff of UNIMAK and colleagues the Makeni Rogbaneh Police Station Detective Inspector Margaret G Marrah said she has personal benefited from the short term course because she can now write and speak simple English in carrying out her daily duties.” As security agents our job is 24 hours round the clock but we are grateful to the department of education and the university as a whole for introducing the English proficiency for the police “ she said.

Inspector Marrah emphasized that they really appreciate what they have learned and the knowledge they have gained . “This is just for the benefit of the nation. We are doing our best, we are not perfect but this new knowledge we have gained will go a long way in improve our job and we will gained more public confidence” she emphasized .

Prosecutor of the Makeni Police legal and justice support department Constable Bai Koroma noted that this course will improve their proficiency in the English Language “.We want to thank you for the generosity and support offered to us as participants for this short time course” he said.

Constable Koroma said as police officers attached to various department of the Sierra Leone Police Force they promise to work hard in the discharge of our duties in order to improve the standard of the Sierra Leone police and to make Sierra Leone a better place to live .

Dean of Faculty of the education Alex Koroma said the Sierra Leone Police Force is a learned institution and that the participants of this short term course have gone through police trainings . “You have the basics as police men and women but this course was geared towards preparing you in the area of speaking and writing a good English Language for the police force” he said.

Mr. Koroma emphasized that Some people can write good English but they can’t speak well. He therefore mentioned that English for the police short term course was introduce in order to advance their knowledge on both written and spoken English they use in the discharge of their duties. “ You have attained a lot of new innovations, new ways of taking statement new ways of interrogating culprit. You have taken a bold step to continue this program. We want to continue this kind of training , to make this country to forge ahead . Every one is looking forward to the police. Your activities , your responsibilities are all geared towards promoting the dignity of the human person and this training will make you a responsible police force” he emphasized.

Head of Department Osman Kamara emphasized that The main objectives of this course is to improve their use of the English language, to know how to speak the English language and to develop their skills in speaking and writing the appropriate language use in the police force . “You have taken a bold step in promoting law and order in Sierra Leone “ he noted.

Mr.Kamara reiterated that the participants have showed that they are a force to reckon with in the various department they are representing but the education department have added new knowledge into what they have learned before . “You have got more of the English language you need to carry out your responsibilities as police men and women” he mentioned.

He said this course is designed to develop the participants vocabulary , expressions use in dealing with issues of crime, drug addiction ,traffic violations and burglary .

The task ahead now is to have more short term courses for officers across Sierra Leone instead of just limiting it in Makeni City.


UNIMAK Student Project Transforms Waste to Wealth

Reporter MATTHEW KANU writes:

Fridoline Neh Sama is a student of the Masters Degree in Sustainable Development at UNIMAK who has developed an initiative that will transform waste to wealth in Sierra Leone. She was inspired by her environmental sustainable development course and her lecturers to engage in a project that will not only generate income but will also create a friendly environment in Sierra Leone and Africa in general. Fridoline, a Cameroonian citizen, has lived in Sierra Leone for the past five years, and started working on this initiative over a month ago.

“This initiative was born out of curiosity about how I can use waste and become wealthy, and how to promote an eco-friendly environment” she said.  “I use just plastics waste to make jewellery and other accessories for women” she said. Fridoline said she was scared at the beginning but later realized that collecting waste plastics in the street is not a crazy or dirty thing to do. She believes that this is the only way help to change society and maintain a clean environment. “It is all about entrepreneurship. It’s creativity. We are looking for a green economy, a great future that everybody can enjoy at the end of the day.”

She stressed the need for young people to put into practice anything they positively have in mind. “Don’t be afraid to take the risk and put ideas into action. Just do it and something will happen one day. I am presently teaming up with colleague students in order to have a business plan that will attract support from donors or partners in sierra Leone and beyond, ” she noted.

A member of the team Alpha Koroma said this initiative will change the way people think about the environment particularly in rural Sierra Leone. “I am with her from a sustainable development and planning point of view, and I strongly believe that people will be interested in what she is doing” he said. The target now is to look for the appropriate technology that will enhance mass production for both male and female jewellery and accessories that will be attractive to the market.

Human Resource Development expert Veronica Kamara emphasized that Fridoline has moved from being a job seeker to a job creator. “The idea is a laudable one and new in this part of the world that will create job opportunities for many people ” she said.