UNIMAK Signs Memorandum Of Understanding With Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science And Technology (KNUST)

The ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding

By Matthew Kanu

On the 5th December 2018 a team from the University of Makeni headed by the Vice Chancellor travelled to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana to signed a Memorandum of Understanding .

On his return to Sierra Leone the Vice chancellor informed staff and management of UNIMAK that the Memorandum of Understanding covers long and short term training, curriculum development, staff and students exchange. Professor Turay thanked the leadership of KNUST for the hospitality accorded to them in Ghana as this shows that KNUST is committed in promoting tertiary education within the West African Sub region.

UNIMAK Project Director William Alpha accompanied the Vice Chancellor in Ghana. He like other staff of UNIMAK was very impressed with commitment of KNUST to help UNIMAK in Human Resource Development. Many staff were happy to receive the positive news from KNUST. Human Resource Director Veronica Kamara welcomed the initiative to partner with KNUST. “This is a step in the right direction for the development of Higher Education in Sierra Leone and the Human Resource development of UNIMAK” she said. A lecturer of the Mass Communication Department Paul Kamara said the decision to partner with KNUST will enable UNIMAK to maintain standards in the pursuit of higher education in Sierra Leone.

This is the second Memorandum of Understanding within the West African sub region since the inception of UNIMAK in 2009.

UNIMAK Matriculates 803 New Students

By Matthew Kanu

Chancellor Bishop Natalio Paganelli and Vice-chancellor Professor Joseph Turay.

On the 15th December 2018 the University of Makeni held its annual matriculation ceremony for the 2018/2019 academic year. This year’s matriculation number, 803 students, was the biggest in the history of the University.

Addressing matriculants Chancellor of UNIMAK Bishop Natalio Paganelli said “We want a strong university that will produce real professionals for a better Sierra Leone”. In officially welcoming the new students he reminded them that the fees at UNIMAK are at the level they are because there is no support from the Government. He further admonished the student to work hard and achieve academic excellence.

In his address to the new students the UNIMAK Vice Chancellor Professor Joseph Turay asked the students to support the University, to resist any kind of corruption and violence, and not to waste their time. He advised the students to use their brains and to stand up for what they believed. “Study every day, study everything and be competitive, be creative and help transform Sierra Leone.  Don’t compromise for anything. Do not compromise for grades and do not compromise for hand out” he said.

He emphasized that UNIMAK must get it right because the emphasis today is on integrity. “We don’t compromise with exams. Integrity for exams and avoiding harassment at all level is key for the growth of Higher Education in Sierra Leone” he said.

Students of the Mass Communication Department signing the register after the matriculation.

UNIMAK Launches Centre For Political Formation

By Matthew Kanu

Fulbright Scholar Gloria Braxton addressing her audience during the launching

On 7th November 2018 UNIMAK‘s Department of Political Science and International Relations officially launched the University of Makeni Centre for Political Formation .

Fulbright Scholar Dr.Gloria Braxton spent weeks putting together a new curriculum for the Department, which is a new Department under the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities, and worked tirelessly with staff of the Department to put together details relating to the Centre before the launching ceremony. Addressing her audience Dr. Braxton said the Centre will add value into the political development of Sierra Leone. “It is about promoting democracy and good governance” she said. Dr. Gloria Braxton was contacted by the United States Embassy in Sierra Leone after the department forwarded a request for assistance to the Embassy. The launching attracted hundreds of students, academic and administrative Staff, and invited guest from Government and the private sector.

UNIMAK Vice Chancellor Professor Joseph Turay expressed gratitude to the Department for such a laudable initiative to have a new Centre in the University. “The Centre will prepare future politicians, uphold the tenet of democracy and social inclusion” said Professor Turay.

Speaking to local reporters after the launch Political Science and International Relations Head of Department Foday Augustine Bangura said the Centre would work with all Sierra Leone 7 million people and beyond to work towards a political transformation in the country. “The presence of the Centre will enable Sierra Leone to move from being a fragile state to a peaceful state” said Mr. Bangura.

Minister of Technical and Higher Education Professsor Aiah Gbakima officially launching the Centre.

The University of Makeni was established in 2009 to address issues that caused the decade long civil conflict and promote tertiary education in Sierra Leone. Before reaching university status in 2009 it was known as the Fatima Institute, established in 2005. This is the first private University in the History of Tertiary Education in Sierra Leone.

The Chairman of all Local Councils in Sierra Leone Joseph Bindi appreciated the effort of the University of Makeni towards decentralization in Sierra Leone. “Councils will work closely with the Centre for Political Transformation for long and short term trainings for councillors and Council staff in the area of democratic governance and decentralization” Mr. Bindi said.

Officially launching the Centre ,the Government of Sierra Leone Minister of Technical and Higher Education Aiah Gbakima said the decision to launch the Centre is a step in the right direction for the opening of democratic space and political tolerance in Sierra Leone .

Discovery of Marburg Virus in Fruit-Eating Bats in Sierra Leone

Marburg virus has been found in five cave-dwelling fruit-eating bats in three districts in Sierra Leone (Moyamba, Koinadugu, and Kono).The infected bats were sampled near caves in Moyamba (Fakunya Chiefdom), Koinadugu (Wara Wara Bafodia Chiefdom), and Kono (Lei Chiefdom).

This discovery was made and reported simultaneously to the Government of Sierra Leone by Njala University with funding from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the PREDICT project led by the University of Makeni and University of California, Davis with funding from USAID.

read the full PRESS RELEASE here

Dr. Sheka Bangura Delivers Public Lecture On Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP4) to UNIMAK Masters Students.

By Matthew Kanu. .

Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development Dr. Robert Chakanda

The Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development and the Director of Planning and Economic Development delivered this year’s induction lecture to more than 50 UNIMAK masters students on designing the country’s 4th Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP4).

Vice Chancellor of UNIMAK welcomed the Deputy Minister Dr. Robert T. Chakanda and the Director of Planning and Development Unit of the same Ministry, Dr. Sheka Bangura. Professor Turay said the presence of the two most senior personnel of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development at UNIMAK shows that the Ministry is decentralizing the process of designing the development plan of the country. “This means the people in rural Sierra Leone are becoming part of the process of their own development” Professor Turay opined. He suggested that the District and City Council development plan be cascaded into wards, chiefdoms, districts and the regions of the country.

This is the third time economic development practitioner Dr.Sheka Bangura has delivered a public lecture marking the beginning of the academic year for the Masters in Sustainable Development students.

Many of the students that attended this year’s lecture raised concerns and asked the Deputy Minister and the lecturer many questions. Like most of the students Steven Bockarie Mansaray praised the effort of the ministry to come down to their level but raised some concerns on the poor road network that is debarring the transportation of agricultural goods from the villages to the bigger cities. Some of these villages close to the Guinean border are using the Guinean currency instead of the Leones. The New Direction PRSP 4 should therefore consider improving Agriculture and focus more on industrialization.

Hassan A Sesay suggested that the PRSP 4 should make rural Sierra Leone very attractive with social amenities that will discourage urban migration . “Sierra Leone is still referred to as a fragile state because the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are not implemented and the things that brought about the decade long civil conflict in the country are still visible” said Mr. Sesay.