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.

UNIMAK Organizes MBA Final Business Idea Competition

By Matthew Kanu

The University of Makeni has organize a Final Business Idea competition for the final year MBA students . The business idea competiton which was held on 21st July 2016 attracted international and local juries . The MBA program is a partnership between the E4Impact ,the University of Milan in Italy and the University of Makeni in Sierra Leone .

Speaking to journalists before the competition the E4impact entrepreneurship West African program manager Martino Ghielmi said the MBA program is set to achieve two goals .” The first one is to make sure that their MBA participants are exposed to external feedback . Each participant has been working for one year on his /her business plan and we want to make sure that he /she receives real feedback some one who has experience and connections “ he said.

Mr. Ghielmi further explained that the second goal is to facilitate the process of investors in the country in order to find good investment opportunities for good ideas that match up with good candidates and eloquent management training . “ An entrepreneur is one who can be a reliable partner for investors “ he mentioned .

This is the first set of 32 MBA hopeful graduates that took part in the competition. Speaking to a group of reporters after the competition an MBA Final Business Idea competitor Moses Sesay said his business plan is growing vegetables using the green house technology .” It is a technology that involves a lot of capital. I am sure of harvesting crops throughout the year to ensure the availability of fresh and affordable vegetables in the market “ he said.

Mr. Sesay further explained that six managerial staff and some support staff will be working on the farm situated in Kateneh in the Safroko Limba Chiefdom Bombali District Northern Sierra Leone . He said there are challenges . These include financial resources, the technology is new, Letting the people knowing exactly what the technology involves ,what you want to bring to them and why you are bringing it is another challenge as well. But he said the University of Makeni MBA program has given the required training to overcome all the challenges ahead . “My impression after going through the MBA training in the University of Makeni is very positive . I am encouraging more people to apply next academic year so that the country will have more entrepreneurs “ he emphasized .

The CEO of Sierratel Sierra Leone Edward Sesay is also an MBA final business idea competitor . “The University of Makeni MBA program is not only based on theory but is a program that seeks to improve the skills of people that want to go into business as entrepreneurs ” he said .

His business plan is a solar panel system that offers power solutions across Sierra Leone .”My business will offer services across the country such as rural areas and institutions .

The challenges will be competitors . I can’t run two institutions so I will hand over the business to my son.What I want to see changing in Sierra Leone is available facilities for people to have funding for people to start up a business . But this MBA course has improved my skills to set up a business with funding solutions. To myself personally I now know advance skills on financial management skills ,marketing and sales and company management “ he noted .

Italian Donor Impressed by UNIMAK

By Emmanuel A.B. Turay  –  22 July 2016

Chiara Zanchi, CEO St. Lawrence Foundation

Chiara Zanchi, CEO St. Lawrence Foundation

The newly appointed CEO of St. Lawrence Foundation says she is impressed so far with what has been achieved by the University of Makeni with funds and support from her foundation.

Madam Chiara Zanchi made this disclosure during her week long visit to Makeni City to assess, evaluate and explore other opportunities in supporting and investing in the country.

Addressing staff and students at UNIMAK’s Great Auditorium, the CEO explained that the friendship and collaboration with Makeni and the University was facilitated by Fr. Victor Bonjovani, aka Pa Alimamy, during the civil war in the country and later with Bishop George Biguzzi (Emeritus) who cemented the partnership. “The good impression my father was given is indeed real from what I have seen myself”, she added.

Chiara interacting with UNIMAK students

Chiara interacting with UNIMAK students

Madam Chiara Zanchi stated that it is based on this background that the foundation has decided to establish a special department at UNIMAK – Social Business Department – to help find a better way to boost local entrepreneurship with local resources available. “My impression about Sierra Leoneans from the feedback I got from our visiting Italian Professors based on their interaction with the students is that they are motivated to learn”, she said. She lauded the effort of UNIMAK administration for what she described as a job well done in implementing their supported programmes.

UNIMAK's Director of HR, Veronica R. Kamara

UNIMAK‘s Director of HR, Veronica R. Kamara

Presenting some of the major funded supports rendered to UNIMAK by St. Lawrence Foundation, the Director of Human Resource Veronica R. Kamara explained that to attain their vision, UNIMAK needed to engage other partners and philanthropists with similar objectives to promote tertiary education in this part of our country. The first reliable and motivated donor that was approached during those trying times after the civil war in this country by Bishop Emeritus George Biguzzi was the father of the now CEO Mr. Franchesco Zanchi of St. Lawrence Foundation who whole heartedly stood by UNIMAK in actualising their dream.

The Foundation provided funding for the construction of the sixteen room female hostel and a staff quarter at the Fatima campus, three commercial buildings (St. Lawrence, St. Chiara and St. Tazana) situated along Azzolini Highway (overlooking the St. Francis Field), the renovation of the current, most admirable and envied general Library now considered the best in the country, the construction of the one storey Agriculture building with five lecture rooms, two labs and three offices. The Foundation also organised many conferences in Italy to show case the work of the University among supporters.

The three man delegation from St. Lawrence Foundation was welcomed with a special song by the university choir.

Chiara Zanchi, C. Prof. Angela Bassol (centre). Eng. Vitali

Chiara Zanchi, C. Prof. Angela Bassol (centre). Eng. Vitali

Members of the delegation include Prof. Angela Bassoli from University of Milan, Engineer Sregio Vitali a specialist Agro-Business and Strategic Management and Madam Chiara Zanchi the CEO St. Lawrence Foundation.

Certificates were awarded to Mr. Franchesco Zanchi the founder of St. Lawrence Foundation and Madam Chiara Zanchi the CEO for the foundation in recognition of their support to UNIMAK.

 Mr. Francesco Zanchi, his wife, Angela Zanchi and daughter, Chiara Zanchi with the certificates presented to them in recognition of the good work of the St Lawrence Foundation.  

Mr. Francesco Zanchi, his wife, Angela Zanchi and daughter, Chiara Zanchi with the certificates presented to them in recognition of the good work of the St Lawrence Foundation.