Former Irish Ambassador To Sierra Leone Launches Book “Getting To Zero”

By Matthew Kanu in Makeni.

On Tuesday 2nd April 2019 Dr Sinead Walsh, the former Irish Ambassador to Sierra Leone, launched her book “Getting to Zero” which addresses issues of the Ebola Outbreak in Sierra Leone. In her presentation during the launching she said the key questions were: What lessons have we learned? What lessons have we not learned? How do we use the experiences of Ebola?

Dr Sinead Walsh

Her book covers the areas that were very critical to the Ebola response, and these include community engagement, leadership and coordination, politics, accountability and corruption, working with existing government assistance and the importance of individuals during the response. Following the outbreak in Sierra Leone a lot has been done to strengthen the health system. Presently the Ministry of Health and Sanitation now has a strong disease surveillance system.

 

Ambassador Walsh said there were a lot of mistakes made during the outbreak. “We want to write down the mistakes that led to over 3000 people losing their lives.  A lot of people built their opinions on the conspiracy theory. Because of this we experienced something that was extraordinary and we don’t want the lessons of the outbreak to be forgotten” she said.

The book has been launched in UK, Ireland, South Africa, United State of America and also planned to be launched  in South Sudan.

Dr Sinead Walsh is currently the EU Ambassador to South Sudan. She has worked for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade since 2009. She was a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in 2016/17. Prior to this, she served as the Ambassador of Ireland to Sierra Leone and Liberia and the Head of Irish Aid in the two countries, based in Freetown from 2011 to 2016. 

Hundreds of people from the from the public and private sector witnessed the book launch. Notable among the people that attended the launch was the University of Makeni Representative Professor Sarah Koroma. Professor Koroma said launching Getting to Zero is the first source of history, and praised Ambassador Walsh for her relentless effort in putting together such a good book that generations yet unborn would read and comprehend.

UNIMAK Open Day Academic and Career Exhibition

By Matthew Kanu in Makeni.

An Open Day academic and career exhibition held on 2nd April attracted hundreds of people from all sectors of development across the country. Delivering her remarks the chairperson of the event, Veronica Kamara, said the University of Makeni was established to address issues that led to the decade long civil conflict and to equitably contribute to the development of the country’s human resource. She said the exhibition marked the 10th anniversary celebrations.

Explaining the purpose of the gathering, the Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences, Chernor Benedict Jalloh, said the University has a series of events marking the 10th anniversary this year, and the open day academic and career exhibition is just one of them. He expressed gratitude to the distinguished personalities and students from various secondary schools that attended the event, adding: “We are bringing the University closer to the people .We want the people of Sierra Leone to know what we can offer as a University and how important is the university to the country”

Historically the University of Makeni started in 2005 as the Fatima Institute. The University gained full recognition in 2009 from the Government of Sierra Leone through the Sierra Leone Tertiary Education Commission . To enter for any degree program students must have five credits in WASCE including English Language and to enter for diploma students must have 4 credits in WASCE including English Language.

A student of the Saint Joseph Secondary School, Kadiatu Mansaray, explained in an interview that she is grateful to the University of Makeni for exhibiting the various departments of the university. She says she would like to study Mass Communication when she finish her WASCE exams this year.

All Faculties of the University showcased their departments to the parents and students waiting to take their WASCE exams later this year. Andrew Jabati is a parents of 3 students taking the WASCE in April this year in Bo City, Southern Province. He like many parents that attended the event expressed satisfaction on the information received from the various department and faculties.

UNIMAK Graduate 240 students

By Matthew Kanu in Makeni

On 16th February 2019 240 students graduated from The University of Makeni in the 7th Graduation Ceremony held at the Fatima Campus .

After spending four years in the University Emma Tholley graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Development Studies. Like most of her colleagues Emma was looking forward to contributing to national development .Happily, she described her stay in the University as one that has broadened her horizons and widened her experience in issues of national and international development. “It takes a lot of determination, hard work and sacrifice to reach this goal”, Emma said after graduation.

Mabinty Tholley raises Emma as a single parent. Like most parents that attended this year’s congregation, Mrs Tholley is a petty trader in Freetown that said she sacrificed a lot for her daughter to complete her studies. “It takes the grace of God to pay her fees annually and send money for her feeding every month” Mrs Tholley explained in an interview after the graduation.

All seven faculties prepared students for graduation in various disciplines. 6 graduated with Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Food Sciences, 38 graduated with Bachelor in Law, 9 graduated with a Diploma in Law, 7 graduated with a Bachelor in Public Administration, 50 graduated with a Bachelor of Art in Development Studies, 24 graduated with Bachelor of Science in Public Health, 3 graduated with a Bachelor of Art in Mass Communication, 10 graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, 30 graduated with Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management , 28 graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management, 22 graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance, 5 graduated with Bachelor of Science in Banking and Finance, 29 graduated in Certificate in Leadership, 3 graduated with a Higher Teachers Certificate in Science, 44 graduated in Higher Teachers Certificate in Special Needs Education and 1 graduated in Higher Teachers Certificate in Mathematics .

Hundreds of people including parents and dignitaries witnessed the graduation ceremony. Guest Speaker Professor Aiah Gbakima described the graduation as a land mark in the History of Tertiary Education in Sierra Leone. In his capacity as the Sierra Leone Government Minister of Technical and Higher Education Professor Gbakima called on the University of Makeni to continue to uphold standards in education , and to work towards research and innovations .

In his message to graduands and parents University of Makeni Vice Chancellor Professor Joseph Turay said UNIMAK is a rich multi-cultural environment that has been in existence for the past 10 years and the students are part of this History. Professor Turay called on them to maintain national cohesion for the development of Sierra Leone.

This year’s graduation was remarkable because the University is celebrating its 10th anniversary since it inception in 2009.

While graduation can be fun and memorable, it can also be sad moment. For Emma Tholley it is a time to say good bye to good friends and great teachers , and a moment to reflect on her life after graduation. She said her dream is to create a job that would address problems in her community. “I would not be looking for a job but to create one that would find solution to societal problems”  Emma said.

Visit by San Pablo University Communications Team

By Matthew Kanu

 

 

 

Staff and students from UNIMAK and San Pablo University

At the end of January the University of Makeni Administration staff and students of the Mass Communication Department welcomed a Communication Team from the University of San Pablo (CEU), Spain. During a busy week of meetings in Makeni and Freetown, discussions were held about the making of a documentary, communications with public media, and the development  of a CEU-UNIMAK doctoral programme. 

Follow this link for a full report of the visit.