Friday, November 30, 2007

Kadie Kandeh on the Conference on the Status of the Implementation of TRC- Truth & Reconciliation Commission Recommendations

My Role as Member of Technical Committee in Planning for Truth Reconciliation Commission Recommendations.

I represented MARWOPNET at meeting to plan for a Stakeholders Conference on the Status of Implementation of Truth and Conciliation Commission (TRC) Recommendation on the 5th October 2007, at Human Rights Commission Sierra Leone (HRSL).

The Human Rights Commission in collaboration with United Nations Integrated Office Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) planned for a Stakeholder Conference in implementing TRC recommendations which was held on the 19th and 20th November 2007 at the Bank Complex Kingtom, Freetown.

I represented MARWOPNET together with Civil Society Organizations in planning for the Conference. In planning for this day, various sub-committees were formed like; Secretarial committee, Media and Publicity Committee, Printing and Distribution committee, Catering Committee, and Budget committee. Since my organization was in the secretarial committee, below is our duties we performed for the planning of the conference.
Secretariat Committee – Members- Amnesty International, UNIOSIL, FAWE and MARWOPNET – responsibilities – Participants in putting together a budget proposal for the conference; Source funding that is required to facilitate the program; Monitors to ensure proper accountability and transparency with regards to funds deposited in the conference basked fund are used for the intended purpose; and provide the conference working documents like invitation letters, minutes taking and preparing report after the conference.

We held series of meetings in planning for conference, the original date for the conference was the 14th and 15th November 2007, but for the Inauguration of the President, it was shifted to 19th and 20th 2007, at the Bank Complex Kingtom. We were working relentlessly to meet this day, all arrangements were successful. MARWOPNET and FAWE (Forum for African Women Educationalists) were overseeing the food served by the Caterer.

On the Opening Ceremony on the Tuesday 19th 2007,

On the Monday 19th 2007, Opening of the Conference, we ushered participants to their respective seats. The program began with Christian and Muslim prayers. The Chairman of the Human Rights Commission welcomed participants and highlighted the purpose of the conference.

ERSG of UNIOSIL said that for nearly 10 years Sierra Leone was at war with itself which virtually destroyed not only the institutions of Government, but also the very socio-economic and cultural fabric that held this country together.

Formal Chairman or TRC, Bishop Humper, giving the Keynote Address recommend that, it is his fervent hope and prayer that at the end of the Conference Sessions, tangible actions would be recommended for the faithful implementation of recommendation of the Commission (TRC). The object of the Commission in accordance with its mandate (Section 6:1) of the TRC “to create an impartial historical record of violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law related to armed conflict in Sierra Leone”.

The support ultimate implementation of this program will go a long way to satisfying the needs of our victims. The Civil Society Organizations are positioned in the country to undertake the lobby with government and internal communities for the realization this goal.

The President of the Amputee and War Wounded Association on behalf of victims of the civil war in Sierra Leone said “It is always importance to present a clear picture of what the victims are going through at the moment. A good number of amputee, war widow and children have been forced into begging in our main street victims of sexual violence continue to suffer in silence due to the difficulties in accessing health care and in some cases due to the lack of health care facilities.

His Excellency the President Ernest Bai Koroma was suppose to do the formal opening of conference, but due to some circumstances he sent the Minister of Works, Mr. John Saad to do the formal opening of the conference. A member of the Technical Committee gave the vote of thanks at the of the opening.

In the Plenary Sessions the objectives of the conference was discussed, presentation of the matrix on the status of implementation and creation of working groups and discussion on working guidelines. Since I was placed in group 3, this group includes Children, Women and Youths. We were placed in this group because, MARWOPNET engaged in mainstreaming women’s voices and active participation in conflict prevention, management, engendered post conflict reconstruction and peace building. As a civil society organization our role was to discuss the recommendation under women, youth and children. To see how far government has gone in implementing the recommendations, make vital suggestions on those that have not been implemented and make recommendations.

At the end of the conference a Communiqué was read and corrected which is to be given to government, UN, International Organizations.

It was an educative program, it gave me the opportunity to know about various civil society organizations and interact with so many. What interested me was the discussions between the civil society groups on various topics.

At the closing of conference, we were recognized the Technical Committee for making the conference a success.

Food was good and delicious, served three times a day. This conference broadened my horizon.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My internship documentary experience of sierra leone

Sierra Vision Think Build Change Salone Internship 2007
My Experience of Sierra Leone
At my placement one of my terms of reference was to put together a documentary on the Peace and Development Corp volunteers work at placement for which I have to travel to all the district of Sierra Leone. This is my experience.
My first trip was to the Eastern province of Sierra Leone
Eastern province is made up of three districts Kenema, Kailahun and Kono

Kenema is the provincial head quarter town of the eastern province and my trip with PADCO was challenging and learning. The people are mostly mende and their productive activity is mining and agriculture. The town is overseen by the Kamboi hills.
The PADCO volunteer working in kenema work with the district council and the city council their activity are mostly to help council in project writing and administration interviewing them develop my understanding of council activities and how council is raising funds to carry out project. They council work on community driven project like constructing bridges, schools, latrines and community centers the process of carrying out these activities where fully explain in the interviewing and such actually raised my understanding of how these councils are complementing the decentralization process of the central authority
From the trip I was able to understand that Kenema provides a lot of revenue to government in the area of mining as the town is full with Diamond buying shops. But the most shocking scene is that though the town can boast of providing government with huge sum of revenue but such is not reflective on the lives of the people as poverty is clearly seen in terms of basic necessities of live(poor housing facilities, people complain of food items being expensive and cannot afford such and shattered clothing on the people). There are not good road network around and not much improve infrastructure and not much job facilities seen for youth and the educational level of the youth is not much high and the few jobs available are occupied by guys from other areas specifically from the Capital.
After Kenema I then travel to Kailahun
The name is derive from a mende word Kai-la-hun meaning put hoe into the ground the people are mostly mende and their major productive activities is agriculture From the land mark there is still the fabric of the war as most of the houses burnt down during the war are still seen around and the youth are seen roaming the township idle interviewing the PADCO volunteers I came to realize that the council activities are mostly the same as to Kenema and the major project being accomplished by the council is the construction of bridges being destroy during the war and the PADCO volunteer work is to monitor the council activities and also help in project writing I realized during this visit that Agriculture is the major activity of the people and they are hardly seen around during the day as young and old are off to their farm and are only seen at night.
We did not visit Kono though it is my hometown

My second trip was to the Southern province
Southern province is made up of Bo (the district head quarter town), Moyamba, Bonth and Pujehun.

We first travel to moyamba. The town name is derived from from a mende word meaning send us something. The town is mende dominated and their productive activity is agriculture but surprisingly for me the town is full with literate people as most farmers can also read and write the town has one of the best girls school in the country (Harford school for girls)
Interviewing the PADCO volunteers in terms of their work I came to develop my capacities of knowing Moyamba as a town of distinct different as the have highly educated personnel who are origins of the town are willing to work in their town and frankly looks at work concerning their towns development as unique to be carry out by them only and others coming to the scene are seen as spy and such create my understanding of the various kind of work condition that awaits a student upon graduation and bosses are different and work condition not always smooth.

After Moyamba I travel to Bo
As the name imply from a mende word Bu-wo-lo meaning it is yours. The town is highly exposed as the capital the town can boast of a University (Njala university) and full electricity and road networks the town is pre-dominantly mende people. Their major productive activity is mining and Agriculture.
Interviewing the PADCO volunteers I came to realized that their council work is more challenging as they are trying to compete with the capital in terms of providing basic facilities for the populace and that their major task at the council is helping in project writing and monitoring and evaluating council project and major among the work was the construction of a town council and a community recreational center.
Agricultural activity are mostly seen around the chiefdom towns and villages and within the township there are many Diamond buying shops and the council is benefiting from revenue raised from these business men who carry out these work and the funds are used to carry out council planned activity. From the volunteers I came to realized that government dose provides subsidies but are actually not enough as the task of keeping to the demand of the people means increase spending and money to expend are got from the revenue raised from the business sector operating within the township which complement government subsidies.
From Bo I travel to Mattu-Jong the district headquarter town of Bonth
The people are mostly shrebro and their productive activity is fishing, as the town is an island. The town has a nursing school attracting trainee nurses from other areas of the country the district produce the finest coconut oil in the country.
Interviewing the PADCO volunteers I came to have an insight of the council activity in the district. Their major activities are mostly in sensitization thus raising the understanding of the people about the various diseases around (HIV/AIDS) and also the construction of a commu8nity school.
The Volunteer work was mostly project wring and monitoring and evaluating the work of council.

My third trip was to the North province
Northern province is made up of Bombali (the provincial head quarter district) Tonkolili, Port-loko, Kambia and Koinadugu.

I first travel to Port-loko as the town is pre dominantly Temne town and their productive activity is trade in fishing product and agricultural produce the town has a polytechnic college the volunteer work is the assist council with administrative work thus helping bin project writing evaluating council work their major on going project was constructing a new council office the town lacks electricity and good road and the town is dull and there are not much relaxing centers at people get to bed earlier education is realized as important for development as most aimed at getting to the polytechnic college top further studies.
After Port-loko I travel to Kambia
Kambia is a border town for Sierra Leone and Guinea and much trade activity is going on between the two countries at that town, It is a mixed flavored town with Temnes, Fullas and others sharing the land on trade but the town is actually not develop as the road getting there is bad
Interviewing the volunteer I came to realized that the council work is on construction of schools and rehabilitating the roads and the PADCO volunteer work is to help in project writing and monitoring the work and evaluating it.
After Kambia I travel to Makeni (Bombali district town)
Makeni is the finest and most expose northern province town pre dominantly Temne whose major productive activity is trade
The volunteer task at this placement is challenging and I came to learned from the volunteer of bills of quantities and they volunteers work on these and some of the project which have just being approve and was wrote by the volunteer and the process of gaining a project approved the council have worked on an estate of recreational facility including guest house restaurant and a lawn for tennis, basket ball and volley ball.
From the visit I learned about council partnership system to raised fund, as they don’t have endow natural resources and the politicking at work place and how to cope and with these challenges.
I then travel to Kabala (the district town of Koinadugu)
The town is occupying by kurankos and fullas and their major productive activity is cattle rearing and palm wine trade. The district provide 80% of the country meat
Interviewing the volunteer I came to realize that council almost used the volunteer for the same purpose but that the methods of raising revenue is different as they get their revenue from cattle owners an d the volunteer work is helping council collecting these revenue
High mountains surround the town and the district is the coolest
My documentary visit to the provinces have actually increase my understand of the provinces and how decentralizing work is being complemented by council and how working condition is like and the challenges of the different kind of bosses that one may encounter during work. Amazing among my discovery of Sierra Leone is that my country is a beautiful country and such build my interest of working in Sierra Leone to aid in developing my country.

Sahr Emmanuel Joseph (Njala University)
Intern Think Build Change Salone Internship 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Traditional Credit Experience
The Osusu credit system is a group saving scheme that enables participants receive substantial amounts of money to meet planned heavy expenditure commitments. Each member of the group agrees to make a stipulated amount of savings into a pool at set intervals. The amount collected is in turn disbursed to a member of the group and this process continues until members of the group receive amounts equal to the contributions they made. The cycle of savings and payments is repeated until at such time the group decides to discontinue the scheme. This has been largely replaced by loans available at bank and microfinance institutions.

Overall, the financial sector is a bit developed compared to the nineties down wards. The number of lenders, scale of lending and the capacity of lending institutions is comparatively stronger, backed with the ability and willingness to lend outside the western area is very strong although the availability of training to strengthen such institutions is minimal.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere...Offices Closed

One of the biggest challenges I knew I would face with the internship program was the placement of interns with local organizations. Inexperienced students are primarily seen as a liability in any professional work environment but I also knew that offering to pay the student’s stipend would remove some of the anti-intern feeling. I also found that many of the NGOs were accustomed to having interns from different departments at the university. I drafted a general letter in which I stated the general idea of the internship, a description of sierra visions and the citizen media portion of the Rising Voices Grant. Based on intern interests as indicated in their essays, I began searching for organizations that had ongoing projects on which I could place the interns. I made an appointment with the Commissioner of the National Commission for Social Action (NACSA) so that I could get a list of possible NGOs to place interns with.

The Commissioner directed me to the Peace & Development Corps (PADCO), a national volunteering program placing recent college graduates to work with local district councils all over the country. I met with them several times with the goal of them providing me with a list of NGOs that I could send interns to. I never did get the list I wanted so I had to return to the internet in search of local NGOs. I also began to pay close attention to signs on the streets indicating offices….what I learnt was that there are many no longer existing NGOs with signs all Freetown pointing to non existing offices. I made visits to several offices that had been closed for over two or three years and no one had bothered to put down the sign.

I sent letters to several organizations including Handicap International’s National Rehabilitation Center (where they make prosthetic limbs for victims of the war), the Center for Victim’s of Torture, the Cotton Tree Foundation, the National AIDS Secretariat, the Campaign for Good Governance, NACSA, Finance Salone, AccessPoint Africa (an IT company), the Talking Drum Studio, and the Mano River Women’s Peace Network (MARWOPNET). At most of these organizations except for Finance Salone, I was able to speak to someone who assured me that they would get back to me on the issue. I never heard back from Handicap International, or the Campaign for Good Governance despite attempts to follow up. Finance Salone refused to accept an intern and said they’d have opportunities for an intern in January.

Abdul Konomanyi was placed with AccessPointAfrica. Sahr Joseph was placed with NACSA’s Peace and Development Corps. Moses Brima and Alpha Bangura were placed with the Cotton Tree Foundation…Moses was placed in Lunsar on an agricultural program on the cultivation of ginger by local farmers while Alpha was placed in Freetown on an Education Program. Edward Chaka our premed student was placed with the National AID Secretariat at Caunnaught Hospital, Kadie Kandeh was placed with MARWOPNET, Didan Sankoh was placed with the Talking Drum Studio but has subsequently dropped out of the program due to personal reasons. Noah Suluku and Daniella Wilson were placed on independent projects to highlight the lives of street children in different areas of the city, Noah Dauda and Alhassan Conteh paired up to research the implementation of micro finance in Freetown, and finally Sumaila and Abdul Jamal paired up to tackle with the environment. Of the fourteen students chosen for the program one of them could not be placed.

Thursday, November 22, 2007



I am Noah Suluku working as intern for think build change salone (T,B,C,S).I started this internship program as child activist for about two and half months ago.

The interaction with my fallows interns and the coordinator of (T, B, C, S)make me to be more authorative in critical thinking,awareness,friendship and tolerance on vital issues such as child adovcay,human right abuse and on environmental concern or recent health problem like HIV and AIDS.
This unique sharing experience with other less fortunate children and disable as well trust and life skill are gained which enable them to reclaimed their potential as productive citizen.Basically,I always wanted to be a child activist in other to speak for the under privilege children, because in the community that I find myself I saw a lot of children roaming the street of Freetown looking for old car batteries, coppers and metal to earn their living. My project which is street children, I started it initially to look into what is causing the high influx of street children in the country. Perhaps one would say the problem is traced from the ten year civil war we had in sierra Leone were children lost their parent and families members. And the other factor was that their parents inability to provide their spouse with basic necessity of life

Nevertheless “According to research in sierra Leone there are two categories. The first category is defined as children who stay with their parents /guardians at home but who go on to the street each morning to socialize or to earn money for themselves and sometime they return home in the evening. The second category is children who have abandoned their home and are permently on the street living and working on the street. They are not under any parental care.
Both categories are vulnerable to child abuse and child right violation. It is impossible to give a definite number of street children in sierra Leone as there are not been an official collated record of street children in the country to date”. My project is basically situated along the following localities,kroobay,Bus station, Dumping site(Bomel)and Mabela community center respectively.
During my research in this above mention communities there is a lot of street children’s.Sinces the areas are under developed the children are not expose to certain facilities so they have to go in search for food from one place to another.
There is less or no infrastructural development were the children can socialize into some skill training and the environment that they live in serve as environmental hazards to them, no proper schooling for them so they engaged themselves into stealing, drugs taking and grumbling.
Furthermore, the few who managed to find themselves in to schools they have been driving out of school because of corporal punishment and some cannot afford to pay there fees.
Moreover, we have a lot of child agencies in sierra Leone but what are they actually doing the children in the street are suffering.
I normally hear people saying” the children are the future leaders of torrow”.But what are they doing in other for the children to achieved this dream.
I was staying with my parents in kono where was separated from them when the town was attacked by the Revolutionary United Front(R U F )rebel. I fled with a large convey of people to Freetown where I am now staying in the street as I cannot hear any information about my family whereabouts.
16 year old street boy (name with held)
My parent cannot sent me to school so I have to sell charcoal to feed the house(7year old street boy name with held)
My parent are all death so I did not have anybody to sent me to school, so I have to do hard job to survive.(10 year old street girl)

In my own words or phrase what is happening to the children in the street I will it “


The following photo’s will show you the kind of children am dealing with.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Microfinance Implementation Assement in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is a country situated in the western part of Africa, with an average population of five million in which Women and youth formed greater proportion.

The country emerges from an eleven-year civil war. Following the declaration of the war being over, was a spontaneous returned of people to their home towns and villages with absolutely northing to start life with. For this reason, the initiative of microfinance implementation was both timely and practical way to help people rebuild and enhance their earning capacity.

Despite the severe suffrage on Sierra Leonean society, the sense of mutual obligation and support within extended families and the obligation to share, remains powerful. These realities of pervasive and acute poverty and a widespread determination to assure more than individual survival and gain must be understood for a micro-lending programme is to succeed since they represent countervailing pressures toward capital accumulation and dispersal of resources often for non-productive purposes.

Sierra Leone has experienced a high rate of failure of developmental projects over years. These failures did not begin with the onset of civil war. It must be noted that, the near absence of development for many years, declining per capita incomes, increasing competition from a rising population for limited resources and poor governance have contributed greatly to the erosion of civil society and the emergence of conditions that facilitated open conflict. It is this reality that the past government has been trying to combat with its National Action Plan for Poverty Alleviation, its programme of macro-economic reform supported by international development agencies and its policies of support for the private sector.

It should be noted that the flourishing of women's associations, their visible role in public decision and their pivotal role in ensuring good governance and viable economy give courage to those who believe Sierra Leone can heal herself and develop its economy and society.

Monday, November 5, 2007


I’m Edward K Chaka, an intern from sierra visions. I am 23 years old, a premed student of College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) university of Sierra Leone.


I started working on the 11th September 2007 for the NATIONAL HIV/AIDS CONTROL PROGRAMME (NACP) under the VCCT (voluntary confidential counseling and testing), ART (antiretroviral therapy) and PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission) at Connaught hospital, Freetown.
I’m working under the supervision of both the VCCT/ART and PMTCT co-ordinators.


I was placed at the reception on the first day. At the reception you receive patient and direct them to the Doctor’s office if the patient want to see a Doctor or if the patient is for drugs, he/she will be directed to the ART room. If a patient comes for a VCCT test, he/she will be sent to the VCCT room.

All patient on ARV (antiretroviral) drugs has a card with a number (code) corresponding to his/her file. At the reception, you collect the card from the patient, enter his/her particulars in the ledger and then search for his/her file and placed it on the Doctor’s desk if the patient want to see a doctor. Some patient only come to collect their drugs supply, they don’t need to see a Doctor so they will go straight to the ART room. Also there are people coming for voluntary testing, you send then to the VCCT room for counseling and testing

The Programme manager strongly advice me that nobody have a right to disclose someone HIV/AIDS status to any body unless the person wishes to do so.
I worked at the reception for three days. It was a wonderful experience.


On the 14th September, I was taken to the VCCT room where they do pre-counseling before testing.
VCCT is a process by which a person willingly offers him/herself to be tested after a confidential counseling.

This process enables individuals to examine their knowledge and behavior in relation to their personal risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). It also helps the individual to decide whether or not they should be tested and provides individual support when they received their HIV status
Furthermore, it will help you know and cope with your HIV status.
VCCT can only be undertaking with the informed consent of the individual. VCCT test can be treated with the utmost. Everybody can be volunteer but no body should be forced. Even a minor’s consent has to be sought before an HIV test can be down. No payment is required for VCCT services…….



First you introduce yourself to the client and tell the client that he/she has been referred for HIV test. Tell him/her what is HIV, the means by which people get infected, what the virus does to you when you become infected, what are some of the signs and symptoms and treatment. You fill in the consent form by entering the following details; code, age, sex, marital status, marriage type, occupation, client’s address, client attitude, counselor’s name and signature, client name and signature and date.

Remove the test device from the foil pouch; place it on a flat, dry surface. a sterile lancet is use to piece the fingertip and then applied the blood on the determine strip and a drop of chase buffer(to speed up the reaction),and a drop of blood also on the SD Bio Line sample well (standard diagnostic) and a four drops of assay diluent in to the sample well. As the test begins to work, you will see a purple color move across the result window in the centre of the device. The result should be read and interpret test result in 5 to 20 min. test result should not be read after 20 min,reading too late can give false results.


A color band will appear in the left section of the result window to show that the test is working properly. The band is a control line marked C. Another color bands will appear in the middle and right section of the result window. These bands are test line 2 and test line 1 (2 , 1).

The presence of only control line C within the result window indicates a negative result (-ve).

The presence of two lines as control line C and test line 1 within the result window indicate a positive result (+ve) for HIV – 1.

The presence of two lines as a control line C and test line 2 within the result window indicate a positive (+ve) result for HIV – 2

The presence of three lines as control line C, test line 1 and test line 2 within the result window indicates a positive (+ve) result for HIV – 1 and HIV 2.

If the color intensity of the test line 1 is darker than one of test line 2 in the result window you can interpret the result as HIV-1 positive. Also if that of test line 2 is darker than one of test line 1 in the result window, you can interpret the result as HIV-2 positive.

No presence of control line C within the result window indicates an invalid result. The direction may not have been followed correctly or the test may have deteriorated. It is recommended that the specimen be re-tested.

Although a positive result for HIV 1 and HIV 2 in one patient is a rare case, it’s possible as there is a homology in the amino acid sequence between HIV 1 and HIV 2. to determine the virus type or diagnose a co-infection accurately, you must perform a confirmatory test.

After the interpretation of the result, either negative or positiv,you fill in the laboratory result form if it is a referred case which the patient has to take to his/her Doctor. If the patient comes for a voluntary test, there is no need to fill the lab result form.

Heterosexual transmission remains the dominant mode of transmission and account for about 85% of all HIV-1 infections. A defining feature of the pandemic in the current decade is the increasing burden of HIV-1 infection in women, which has additional implications for mother-to-child transmission. HIV-1 infection rates are three to six times higher in female adolescents than in their male counterparts. This difference is attributed to sexual coupling patterns of young women with older men, hence a quarter of all new HIV 1 infections are in adults aged younger than 25 years. Population prevalence of HIV 1 infection, concurrent sexual relationships, partner change, sexual pratices, the presences of other sexually transmitted dieases, and population mobility patterns for economic and other reasons (e.g. natural disasters and wars) further increases the probability of HIV 1 acquisition.


Noah Suluku Presents: The Children of Bay

Friday, November 2, 2007

Internship at Peace and Development corp(NaCSA)

About NaCSA and PADCO
Natinal commission for social action (NaCSA) is a national commission programe that work with donors that channel funds that support reconstruction and development effort through three project windows:
1) Community driven Programme
2) Public works programme
3) Micro finance programme
Under the public works programme falls the Peace and development corp(PADCO) programeWhich is aimed at providing employment for young university graduate by providing them an opportunity to gain experience and skills that will prepare them for future employment. The university graduate work as volunteer in Rural communities helping local council in building their capacities for a period of one or two years depending on funding.

*****My role as an intern with the Peace and Developnment Corp(PADCO)

Upon my placement with PADCO my terms of reference where to:
=To help Put together a documentary on the volunteers work at placement for three target audience:a) potential Donors b) Potential volunteetrs C) and NaCSA staff
=To help in developing module for the volunteers mid-term exchange workshop
=To help in developing module for a volunteer management handbook
=To assist in all other official duties.
=To help in arranging all Volunteer involving organisation meetings and activities
*****Terms of Reference review*****

Mid term Learning Exchange workshop
I work together with my supervisor in putting together all modules for the workshop and also facilitated at all three days running workshops
Day 1 I facilitated on Impact made by PADCO volunteer
Day 2 I facilitated on HIV/AIDS
Day 3 I facilitated on Volunteerism in Sierra Leone

Volunteer Management hand book
I develop modules for the hand book and suggested them to my supervisor for review which has to be done later after my internship stay and the book will be use to manage PADCO activities with the next cohort

Volunteer involving organization
I attended all meetings for which PADCO is to be present and I was singly appointed to represent PADCO at sub-committee meeting like the VIO radio committee and the University repainting committee

I develop the script for the documentary and also travel through out the country to 10 districts to conduct interview with PADCO volunteers in order to produce the film with the help of my IEC mentor and my immediate supervisor and full support from Sierra Vision(In terms of advice, support and equipment.)

PADCO office activities
I work extensively and tirelessly with my supervisor to ensure official work are ongoing and I learn a lot of skills in Volunteer management.

Experience gain
I learned a lot of skills from my internship coordinator in terms of personal attitude, relationship and work experience.

From my PADCO supervisor I develop skills in organizational volunteer management

From colleagues I got more friends and develop relationship and build on accepting others in terms of opinion, views and values and accepting them for what the believe in.

Overall the internship period has being a learning period and a challenging experience good for all tertiary student in the country as such enhance career development and national development.

Relationship and experience gain during the period is good for the future of Sierra Leone

Advice to sierra Leonean and potential internWe all have to think in order to build salone and such can only be the means of ensuring change where attitudes should be oriented to positivism and love for our country. The internship program is a good step to development.

Next steps
Information and technology knowledge is actually low in the country as stated by siera Vision president i would recommend if donors agree to fund them let the organisation provides information and technology training for student in the various university by organising free citizen media workshop for student in the variouse university and also organising educative programme that will enhance technology capacity of the student.

Microfinance Implementation Assement in Sierra Leone

Salad Grond Market is one of the business centers microfinance beneficiaries are found. It is located at the hart of Freetown, a highly busy point for business transaction. Interviewing some business Men and Women, their source of capital has been from the microfinance institutions around town. They started with a small amount (Le250,00 per person) and today can bost of huge capital. The lending procesure is group formation with a minimum of five persons per group, which serve as colateral incase any member refuse paying, the group will pay. Most of the women who took these loans are the bread winers of their home.
Rapayment schedule varies with different organisations. Some collect weekly while orthers collect on Bi-weekly bases.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Workshop on Endendering Early Warning

My Experience from the Training of Trainers Workshop at Bo

The Workshop was a challenge for me because it was my first workshop on residential (where i had to stay over night), and on Peace Building. I was one of the reporters, so I had to be attentive to all speakers for valuable contributions. Working at MARWOPNET I was able to learn about “Engendering Conflict Early Warning and Response” which is the right for women to participate actively and contribution substantially to peace consolidation not only in Sierra Leone but in the Mano River Sub-region. This workshop was the first step to develop the capacity of community women to embark on conflict early warning and to begin to explore.

The workshop was opened by Dr Nana Prat, who is the Focal Point for Marwopnet. She outlined the purpose of the workshop and gave the meaning of MARWOPNET. She talked about how the organization has contributed to the peace process in Sierra Leone.

One of the goals of Marwopnet is to learn how to build and maintain peace. To create trust and confidence and respect for each other. Some Expectations of participants included:- To teach men about gender equality.-
Teach community about conflict and how to stop conflict.

I interacted with Marwopnet members from Kenema and Kailahun District. We learnt about the community and how to settle conflict through early warning. Situations were compared in communities, before the war, during the war, after the war, what is conflict, the causes conflict includes: - provocation - youth unemployment - political grudge. Group discussions were educating and interesting; it exposed me, and gave me privilege to present on behalf of our group. I presented several times on different topics. Gained a lot of knowledge on gender equality, and my role as stakeholder.

UN Security Resolution 1320 of the year 2000 states that women are no longer regarded as victim but involved as active participant in peace building. Women as early warners should be at the center, they must be vigilant, self confidence and don’ take sides. We also gain knowledge on how to analyze conflict, why it is important to monitor conflict. We should monitor conflict as early warners, and to know how to settle conflict in a way both parties will be satisfied.

The Millennium Development Goal enriches women policies, gender equality and gender conditions which deal with welfare of women. On the last day of the workshop, Security Personel were invited to link them to women in the community who were designated as early warners of conflict. These groups included: Sierra Leone Military, Sierra Police, Immigration , Office of National Security, DIESEC, PROSEC, Chiefs and Traditional Rulers. This linking was done between the Early Warners and the Security personel need to join hands in order to get authority and legitimacy. The security personel should recognize women and work with them side by side. Marwopnet did a significant and important task by linking the different groups.

Women presented recommendations and programs to Marwopnet, on how they can put in place the knowledge gained. We had fun with participants, especially at night, we watch football games and Nigerian film, I enjoyed the conversion and political arguments, during this conversation the green (star beer) and black(stout) bottles collided. Our stay in Bo was a good experience. The food was delicious. I enjoyed my stay in Bo and the opportunity to be included in the MARWOPNET workshop, I hope to participate next time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Kadie Kandeh: Profile of Intern Host Organization

Internship at the Mano River Women’s Peace Network (MARWOPNET)

Means Mano River Women’s Peace Network. Network
of women’s organizations working towards durable peace within the Mano River Sub-region and beyond. The Mano River Women’s Peace Network is rooted in the joint peace initiative of May 2000 by Women of Mano River countries Guinea , Liberia and Sierra Leone . This initiative taken to mainstream women ‘s voices in the search for sub-regional peace and security continues to perform creditably in peace advocacy, conflict prevention, management and resolution, reconciliation processes, peace building and Human Rights promotion.

Division of a sub-region that is peaceful and prosperous inhabited by citizens who are
healthy, educated, live in unity and enjoying all their human rights including equity and equality with women playing an effective role in peace and sustainable
development processes within the sub-region, Africa and the World.

Mission of MARWOPNET
The mission of the Mano River Women’s Peace Network is to advocate for and promote
at all decision-making levels the prevention, management and resolution of conflict in the Mano River sub-region, throughout Africa and the world, to serve as a catalyst through which sustainable peace,
human security gender responsive polices and building women’s/girls capacity for socio-economic, political empowerment and human development for all.

Goals and Objectives of MARWOPNET
- Establish a better understanding of the mechanisms of peace, security and development at all levels and reinforce women’s participation in conflict prevention and management and the restoration of peace.
- Assure the full and equal participation of women in the democratic process,particularly in the decision
– making structures related to peace and development and facilitate the conception and implementation of gender-sensitive programs and policies.
- Mobilize women’s groups and organizations and reinforce their capacity in conflict prevent, management and resolution.
- Raise awareness amongst women’s group and organization on various issues fundamental to reaching a sustainable peace, such as respect for human rights, democracy, gender equality and development.
- Develop a larger union amongst women of the Mano River region united by the common goal of peace and create solidarity and partnership network with women’s organizations working for peace and other similar initiations. These include African women’s committee for peace, and the African women’s federation of peace Network
- Promote and develop MARWOPNET’s role as an instrumental player in the peace and reconciliation process in the sub-region.
- Create a roster of women professional and experts in the Mano River Union countries from different sectors of society of whose expertise will serve nations and international institutions.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Implementing the TBCS...the lessons

Over the past three months we're been trying tirelessly to get this project off the ground and its finally taken flight. When I first arrived in freetown back in June I was advised that it would be almost impossible to start my project because of the impending elections. My general response was that elections had nothing to do with me or the Think Build Change Salone Internship Program, it didnt take long before I began to feel the affects of the elections fever.

The first part of the project was fairly easy, making sure that the ads on the radio were still running and waiting for applicants to return their applications. Everyday I went to the office their were tons of students hanging around trying to pick up applications or just hanging around hoping to catch a glimpse of me and plead their case. "No no no, I have to read your application before I can know if you'll be able to meet our criteria"

After several discussions with the office secretary I realised that though many people were coming to pick up applications, they didnt really have an idea of what the program entailed. I was under the impression that our ad on the radio was clear but the biggest problem with it was that the majority of people who came to pick up applications hadn't the slightest idea of what an "internship" meant. Either way 500 or more students had picked up applications. My initial plan was to go to schools to talk to girls about the program so that they'd be encouraged to apply but when i saw that many girls had picked up the application, i thought that i no longer had to go. After we stopped accepting applications and starting sorting through the piles I realised that i should have gone to the schools anyway....because though many girls had picked up applications very very few had actually returned them by the closing deadline. Of a total of 119 returned applications only 14 of them were women.

Reading through the applications one thing was clear....our students have major grammatical & spelling issues....reading through the essays was very very painful and definitely required translation from kringlish to proper english. There were very few applications that were readable and an even smaller percentage that actually had something to interesting to say.
When asked what community service activity they would like to participate in an alarming number responded that they wanted to be involved in "sensitization". It got so bad that during the call back interview process that i had to create a sign informing them that the word "sensitization" should not be used to respond to any question during the interview.

The interns that we ended up selecting are most certainly the best in the lot. They were the most articulate, intelligent, and intriguing. By "we" I mean my mom, Dr. Natasa Hrastnik (a Sierra Visions Volunteer from Slovenia) and myself....we read most of the applications together and Dr. Hrastnik was able to sit in on some of the interviews as well as make it to our first intern meeting. We even had to increase the number of interns to 14 instead of the initial 12. I can say without doubt or hesitation that these 14 young people (some of which are older than me) are the future of Sierra Leone and not be a cliche.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sierra Leone. TBCS Interns: Who Are they??

1. Abdul Jamal Tarawalie, 26, International Institute of Islamic Studies, Yr 1

Abdul (originally from Lunsar) is a 26 year old first year Business Studies student at the International Institute of Islamic Studies in Freetown, SL. He graduated from the Government Rokel Secondary School where he won the Best Prefect Award for Academic Year 2004/2005. Abdul sees unemployment as one of the biggest national issues threatening Sierra Leone’s economic, social, and political stability. In his internship application essay Abdul discusses slum conditions at the Big Wharf Community.
“ This community has suffered from the adverse effects of poor drainage system which I believe are as a result of poor government policies on roads and housing. The gutters are so shallow and narrow that most of the time when there is rainfall; there is considerable overflow of water in the community. Also, the dumping of garbage in the gutters of that community contributes to the poor drainage system…as a result; cholera and malaria claim the lives of many within the community, especially women and children”

2. Noah Suluku, 21, Prince of Wales School, SSIII (Form 6)

Noah (originally from Kono) the second youngest intern at age 21 is at his final year at the Prince of Wales Secondary School. He sat out the two previous academic years due to financial difficulties. He spent three years on the Executive Board of the Literary & Debating Society and rose to the level of Representative for the entire Arts Stream. Noah also spent three months under going a computer training course at the International Education and Resource Network (IEARN). At IEARN Noah was able to join a global network of his peers to discuss issues ranging from human rights to HIV/AIDS. Noah would like to become “a human rights lawyer to advocate for the less fortunate in African societies and the world at large…to ensure that the voice of the voiceless is heard as they have a right to be treated equally”

3. Moses Augustine Brima, 26, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, BSSc Economics (Hons)

Moses (originally from Moyamba) is a recent graduate of the University of Sierra Leone with a degree in Social Science with Honors in Economics. He attended St. Edwards Secondary School where he was a school prefect. Moses has experience as an Enumerator with the Sierra Leone Population and Housing Census and the Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS) and he recently supervised a registration team for the National Electoral Commission.
“Many Sierra Leoneans are of the opinion that the only way to make it in life is to go abroad, which is wrong. Who then will develop our nation? Even those who stay [in the country] see corruption as a way to succeed in life. Pull Him Down Syndrome (PHD), selfishness, bad governance, illiteracy, and negative attitudes are all responsible for our under development”

4. Sumaila Banie Eillah-Seisay, 26, Njala University, 4th Year (Hons 1)

Somalia (originally from Kenema) final year honors student of Environmental and Development Studies at the Njala University. He’s interned with Defence for Children International-Sierra Leone and is president of the Kenema Old Student Association (KOSA) and the Accountability Now Chapter (established by the outreach section of the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone) at Njala. Sumaila was selected to carry out a national public perception survey of the Special Court and a subsequent public awareness campaign. “There are three questions to ask when it comes to development: What’s the poverty level? What is the status of unemployment? What is the level of inequality? In Sierra Leone these are all issues of concern, hence our level of under development…The best way to overcome these is to effectively and efficiently implement the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and formulate employment schemes that will make adequate provisions for youth”

5. Didan Sankoh, 25, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, Yr III

Didan (originally from Bo) is a third year student African History and Politics Student at the University of Sierra Leone Fourah Bay College (FBC). He is a 2003 graduate of Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School, Bo. Didan is a member of the Constitutional Review Committee of the Bo Ahmadiyya Old Students Association and the FBC Muslim Jamaat. Didan has attended several workshops and symposiums including Campaign Against Violent Events (CAVE) School Based Violence: How Can it be curbed, Fifty Fifty (50-50) Group’s Gender Based Violence: Of what importance is it to you, and Ostacles to Development in Developing Countries organized by the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning.
“Corruption is not a phenomenon that is not peculiar to Sierra Leone, but has affected countries worldwide irrespective of whether they are developed or developing, large or small…While corruption exists to varying degrees worldwide, its adverse effects on a fragile economy like ours are perhaps more profound”

6. Alhassan Conteh, 22 DES Institute of Business & Management, Yr I

Alhassan (originally from Port Loko) is a first year student of Business & Management. He comes from a family of ten children and has a twin brother. Alhassan is a 2006 graduate of the Sierra Leone Grammar School. He comes from a peaceful predominantly agrarian community called Kareneh in Lokomasama Chiefdom. “In my opinion, I would like to Sierra Leoneans to engage themselves in agriculture, education, and trade which will lead to rapid development and above all we should love one another, be corruption free, and work hard for positive outcomes.

7. Daniella Wilson, 19, Saint Joseph’s Secondary School, Final Year

Daniella (originally from Freetown) is a final year student at Saint Joseph’s Secondary School. She is the youngest of all the interns. She was a senior prefect, student counselor and is Head of the Sierra Leone Girls Guide Association. In her essay, Daniella highlighted Child Exploitation as an issue of national concern in Sierra Leone. “Today one needs only to go out into the streets and watch little boys and girls chasing vehicles to sell packets of water or enter a mini bus only to see that the driver’s mate is a boy who is supposed to be in class 4 or 5. Market places are no exemption as they have the highest number of child laborers. At night, clubs and certain strategic streets in the city such as Lumbley Beach and Garrison Street have so many girls from the age of 12 working as prostitutes”.

8. Sahr Emmanuel Joseph, 24, Njala University, Yr II

Sahr (originally from Kono) is a second year Economics student at Njala University. He graduated from Saint Edwards Secondary School in 2002 where he was the “Head Boy”. He was the Sierra Leone Youth Representative at the Pan African Leadership Training Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He won the Silver Medalist for the National Youth Award Scheme. He was a Peer Educator with Student Partnership Worldwide (SPW) Youth Empowerment Program and Planned Parenthood SL/UNICEF Breaking the Silence on HIV/AIDS. Sahr has won two out of three inter university competitions. In his essay Sahr discussed the problem of youth unemployment in Sierra Leone as an obstacle to national development.
“The central authority [GoSL] has not adequately prepared for our increasing youth population. The worst part of it is that the youth are not well trained and therefore lack the necessary skills for the limited available jobs…to release stress, many youth turn to ghettos where they involve themselves in drug abuse, alcohol consumption, and consequently a life of crime”

9. Abdul Konomanyi, 26, Fourah Bay College, BSSc Engineering ‘06

Abdul (originally from Kono) is a recent graduate of Fourah Bay College with a degree in Engineering. He graduated from the Prince of Wales School with a Division I in the O’Levels. He is head of Koidu Indigenous Youth Organization (KIYO), Club Majestic and was a member of FBC’s Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ) Club. Abdul has a strong interest in Information Technology and sees computer education and training as necessary for Sierra Leone’s development. He hopes to one day establish businesses that would benefit the society by creating jobs and skill training. According to Abdul, “the development of our country has been hindered by several factors including bad governance and corruption, over-reliance of the citizenry on the government, inadequate infrastructure…”

10. Kadie Yata Kandeh, 28, Fourah Bay College, Insitute of Home Science, Yr III

Kadie (originally from Moyamba) is a third year student of Nutrition & Dietetics at Fourah Bay College. She has a 4.5/5.0 grade point average. Kadie gives free but necessary nutrition advice to those in her community. In her essay Kadie discussed the relationship between food production and poverty in post conflict Sierra Leone.
“Poverty in the rural areas is closely related or linked to agricultural production. Most households give farming as their main source of income. Although both men and women have important roles in the production of food there is considerable gender difference in the tasks undertaken. Men clear and plough the land, women weed and harvest. During and after the war more women have taken on the primary responsibility for food production because the men have either been killed or disabled or not returned to their villages. This has a detrimental impact on the women’s ability to carry out other domestic and child rearing responsibilities.”

11. Abu Harry Sesay, 23, Institute of Commercial Management, Business Studies Yr I

Abu (originally from Kambia) is a first year student at the Institute of commercial management. After leaving Sierra Leone for Guinea in 1997, he was repatriated back to Freetown in 2001. He is a graduate from Government Model Secondary school. Abu was an assistant registrar for the recent presidential election. He is also a part of the Foulah Town Youth for development organization that focuses on environmental preservation. “In my opinion, an issue for concern is the equitable distribution of school aid. Scholarships should help poor citizens who want to learn but lack financial support instead of the children of the over privileged…..if an individual has managed to reach the sixth form, but lacks the resources to further their education, , that will cause them to loose confidence in themselves and likely become a liability to society.

12. Noah Dauda, 25, Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), Financial Services, Yr 3

Noah (originally from Kenema) is a third year student at IPAM. He graduated from the Government secondary school in Kenema where he was assistant senior prefect. He is chairman of Kenema old student association (KOSA) IPAM branch. He was a field agent for the America Refugee Committee / Current Evangelism Ministry (ARC / CEM) micro credit program. “In my opinion the production sector is most important for sierra Leone’s social development. If we take a look at the financial sector, (the banking industry, government policies on financial regulations) is ongoing with much improvement. Sierra Leone can favorably influence GDP when her export is more than her import and this can only be achieved with an improvement in the production sector.”

13. Edward Komba Chaka, 23, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS), Pre – med, Yr 3

Edward (originally from Kono) is a second year pre-med student at COMAHS. He is a graduate of SOS Hermann Gmeiner Technical High School in The Gambia where he won a certificate of merit in Mathematics and Further Maths. At COMAHS, Edward participated on a project on medical waste management in collaboration with the Ministry of Health & Sanitation. He served as supervisor of data processing and editing at the National Electoral Commission during the 2004 local government elections. “In my opinion the sector most important for Sierra Leones social development are the employment sector for the public and justice sector of the government. There is a philosophy which says knowing all parts of human body does not mean you are a medical doctor but the implementation of your know how makes you a medical doctor.”