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