By Gunther AB Daramy
A Chinese affiliated organization, Sierra Leone-China Young Leaders Forum (SL-CYLF) has promoted hand washing culture by donating veronica buckets and soaps to mélange of people in the Waterloo Rural district, outskirt of Freetown.
SL-CYLF also boosted radio teaching learning programme by donating radio sets and batteries to four hundred school going children at various schools in the same area.
Giving a synopsis of the event, the Country President of the Sierra Leone-China Young Leaders Forum, Cornelius Deveaux underscored the importance for compatriots to learn lessons from the Ebola Virus disease outbreak in the country, which claimed the lives of scores of Sierra Leoneans.
THE SYMBOLIC HANDING OVER
He said as a chapter of the China Friendship People to People partnership project, they were very much glued on identifying areas which need urgent attention and intervention to first avert disease and also secondly adjust in any case of crisis management.
The culture of hand washing, he noted, should be part and parcel of every Sierra Leoneans.
This, he added, will go a long way to prevent recurring illnesses in the country.
He held the view that most diseases are having a toll in the country because of the fact that people are insensitive to best hygiene practices.
“A good number of diseases killing people now would not have survived should we are sensitive to best hygiene practice,’’ he maintained, adding, Sierra Leone will be a healthier nation when people look after their health. He added health is wealth.
Dilating on the organization’s intervention to promote the radio teaching learning programme, Mr. Deveaux said the programme was the best thing that happened to the country’s education sector at a time when school authorities had no ways and means to conduct the affairs of education.
Cornelius Deveaux believes such programmes should be sustained and that every well-meaning Sierra Leonean should complements this.
He said there is a need for all and sundry to complement the efforts of government for national development, adding, government alone cannot achieve its ends without the active participation, ownership and acceptance of countrymen.
Country President of the organization recalled the whole idea was conceived in 2012 after he attended the 2nd China Africa Young Leaders Forum aimed at deepening China Africa People to People Friendship programmes.
He updated the gathering of a project the organization rolled to tap the skills of young folks in building skills.
Delivering a keynote address, Chernor Koroma, an engineer who graced the event said Sierra Leone and China have long bilateral ties which span over four decades.
He said the Sierra Leone Government under President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has sustained and deepen the ties which he noted had rekindled the bond between the two countries.
He solicited the continued support of China to Sierra Leone, appealing through the Deputy Head of Mission of China to the country for Sierra Leone to host the next China Africa Young Leader meeting and also asked for the Chinese to open their windows of opportunity to erect an ultra-modern skills training centre in the country.
Deputy Head of Mission of China to Sierra Leone, Wang Xiamen said China is not only determined to give people fish but also learn them how to fishing.
China’s programme in Africa and the world at large, he said, is to promote sustainable development.
He commended SL-CYLF for the implementation, dedicating China’s continued support to worthy cause.
Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Brima Michael Turay, at the event said government will sustain the radio teaching learning programme.
Mr. Turay gave a brief background of the ERP, saying, when the Ebola struck in May 2014 June 2014, the Basic Educational Certificate Examination was postponed.
‘‘By July 2014, Disease spread to all corners of the country. State of Public Health emergency declared in July. Schools disrupted,’’ he said, adding, over 1.8 million pupils sit at home without learning; over 30,000 teachers sit at home as well.
He said the Radio/TV teaching programme was launched by Ministry of Education Science and Technology and partners on October 3rd 2014.
He recounted the scheme was challenging because not all pupils have radios and not all places have radio frequency.
He highlighted the schedule of the programme below:
Every Monday, from 11:00 AM to 12 noon, primary school pupils
From 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM, Junior Secondary School Pupils
From 4:00 to 5:00 PM, our Senior Secondary School pupils
Our Pre-primary school population would also have one radio and one Television lesson/activity alternatively on Fridays.
Mr. Turay said the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) worked with the Independent Radio Network (IRN) to air the lessons linking 41 radio stations across the country.
“Sierra Leone broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), which is the national broadcaster, to air and broadcast the same lessons through their networks across the country,’’ he said, adding a survey was conducted on the Listenership of the programme.
‘‘Random and purposive sampling; which included the 5 major districts: Kenema and Kono in the Eastern region; Bo and Moyamba in the South Bombali, Koinadugu and Kambia in the North; ; Western Urban and Rural in the Western Area. Survey included 911 pupils interviewed – 52% female and 48% male,’’ he stated.
The report according to him stated, in part, that 78.6% of the children interviewed reported either having access to a radio at home or one in their community. Only that 72% of that same number of children did say that the radios that they used were owned by their parents.
“This means that the pupils may not have total access to the said radios because access may entirely be at the parent’s discretion. Of the number of children interviewed, 73.5% stated that their parents also listen to the radio teaching programme. This is encouraging, given the fact that the total success of the radio teaching programme will largely depend on the parents’ appreciation of the programme and their ultimate participation. Similar surveys were carried out by UNICEF and they show positive results,’’ said Mr. Turay.
“ Positive feedback was also obtained from members of the public through radio and TV phone-in discussion programmes in which the Ministry’s Public Relations Officer participated over the period of time that the lessons were being aired and broadcast,’’ he concluded.