SIERRA LEONE DIASPORA MEDICS DELIVERING FREE MEDICAL CARE

By Alfred Fornah

ODA, Monday 5th November 2018- A team of Sierra Leonean Diaspora Medical professionals from United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United State of America are in Sierra Leone to deliver free medical services in the Kailahun District. The Medics are in country to take part in the second phase of the Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) Project.

Speaking on behalf of his colleagues at a meeting held at the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) in Freetown, Dr Charles Senessi who is an influential Sierra Leonean Diaspora Medical professional, said with enthusiasm that they are happy to come back  to sierra Leone to render their services to the  country as a way of giving back .

“We are quite happy to comeback after we participated in the first medical mission in Koinadugu District last year,” he said.

Project Manager for Diaspora Engagement at the International Organization for Migration-Sierra Leone, Akao Kunikazu noted that the health programme is an important component of the MIDA project.

He said that the Diaspora Medical professionals will travel to Kailahun District on Wednesday 7th November to start the free vital medical care in hospitals and health centres; and also to share their knowledge and skills with the local health care workers in that part of the country.

The Director of ODA – Dr Kallay Musa Conteh, thanked the medical professionals for participating in the MIDA program. He said he was impressed with their performance during their previous assignment in Koinadugu District.

The diaspora, he said is such an important constituency that need to be tapped for the development of the country.

“The president is aware about the contribution of diasporans, and that is why he mentioned them in his speech during the state opening of parliament in May this year.” He said.

The objective of the MIDA programme is to assist in strengthening the institutional capacities of African governments to manage and realise their development goals, through the transfer of relevant skills, financial and other resources of Africans in the diaspora for use in development programmes in their home countries.

The MIDA project in Sierra Leone is funded by the Japanese Government and implemented by IOM in collaboration with other institutions including ODA.

 

POST CD4D WORKSHOP ENDS IN FREETOWN

By Alfred Fornah
The Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) Participants on Friday 5th October concluded a one day workshop on post CD4D Program in Sierra Leone.

The event which took place at the newly established Strategic Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) start Hub at the Institute of Advanced Management and Technology ( IAMTECH) in Freetown attracted senior lecturers from Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET), IAMTECH, Civil Service Training College (CSTC) and Ernest Bai Koroma (EBK) University.

Speaking at the event, Abubakarr Bangura who is one of the active participants of the CD4D Program said the aim of the workshop is to bring together key stakeholders from the various CD4D selected educational Institutions to develop a concept note on post CD4D; focussing on developing business incubators at CD4D educational institutions in Sierra Leone. The incubators will serve as inspiring venues for practicalizing entrepreneurship mind-set of students and advancing youth start-ups as a way of contribution to decent job opportunity for students and youth as formulated in the New Direction of HE President Julius Maada Bio.

Dr Michael Wundah, Principal of IAMTECH in his statement commended Mr Abubakarr Bangura and the other participants for their effort towards the effective implementation of the CD4D program. “On behalf of IAMTECH, we are gratified for this laudable program, the CD4D has registered immense progress, and that we are now celebrating a successful Project”. Whilst speaking about the need for education, he stated that the newly launched Strategic Entrepreneurship Program Start Hub can be transformed into a research centre that will not only serve IAMTECH, but also serve as inspiring place for other tertiary institutions in the country.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM’s) Project Officer for CD4D, Mr Mangeh Sesay thanked the Management of IAMTECH for embracing the Program and also reaffirmed his institution’s commitment in engaging the diaspora to contribute to national development including entrepreneurship education in the country.

Mr Joseph Lansana, Private Sector Manager of the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) who served as one of the Key Resource Person/ Facilitator of the workshop said that ODA has been working very hard with IOM in order to see that the program is well implemented in country. He emphasized the need to promote and advance entrepreneurship education in tertiary institutions.

Lecturers from the various participating institutions brainstormed to come up with a concept note on Business Incubator program for Universities and Tertiary institutions across the country. The concept note will be presented to heads of CD4D participating institutions and to the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Tertiary Education. It will also be presented in the CD4D conference in The Netherlands at the end of October this year. Some lecturers from different CD4D selected academic institutions will be attending this conference. The delegation will be using the opportunity to visit business incubators at different Dutch educational institutions and lobby for support for the implementation of the incubator program in Sierra Leone. The program will play a significant role in establishing linkages with the private sector so as to provide them a platform to conduct research on innovation, market trends and consumer behaviour, etc and an opportunity to develop profitable businesses of high potential students at the targeted institutions.

CD4D is a three years program that is funded by the Dutch Government. The Project links up resources of diasporans to the needs of their countries of origin. The program which is expected to end in March 2019 is targeting five countries. For Sierra Leone, the focus is on capacity building of institutions in the education, health and Agriculture sectors. So far, 32 assignments have been conducted by Fourteen (14) dutch-Sierra Leonean experts in different tertiary institutions in the Country. The setting up of business incubators at four CD4D educational institutions is expected to serve as key followup action in the post CD4D program.

 

©Alfred Fornah
Communication Officer ODA.
Cell: +23277908976

 

ICMPD & ODA Conclude 2 Days Workshop on Diaspora Engagement for the Protection of Migrants throughout Emergencies

 Freetown 14th September 2018- The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), in collaboration with the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA), held a two day workshop on “Diaspora Engagement for the Protection of Migrants throughout Emergencies” in the framework of the EU-funded project “Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC): Supporting an Evidenced-based Approach for Effective and Cooperative State Action”.

The workshop aimed at enhancing the involvement of Sierra Leonean diaspora groups and organizations in the protection of their fellow nationals abroad in both the country of destination experiencing a crisis and in the country of origin (Sierra Leone) upon return.

The event, which was held at Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel Freetown from 13th to 14th September, brought together Government agencies including representatives of ODA, the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Labour, the Immigration Department,  the Office of National Security, Freetown City Council, the Parliamentary oversight committee on Political and Public Affairs and diaspora organizations.

Through group works and plenary discussions, participants have increased their awareness of migrants’ specific vulnerabilities, needs and resilience throughout crises. In addressing the core objective of the training session, participants were introduced to frameworks, tools and best practices for engaging diaspora organizations in crisis preparation, response and post-crisis actions.

According to the Director of Diaspora Affairs, Dr Kallay Musa Conteh, the workshop marked a significant step forward in the state agencies’ understanding of the critical role of diaspora in informing crisis management efforts, and most essentially, the protection of Sierra Leoneans migrants stranded in crisis-stricken countries.

The successful event was closed with awards of certificates to the participants by members of the IMPCD team.

For more information, please contact:

Alfred Fornah

Communications Officer

ODA

Email: alfredfornah21@gmail.com

Tel: +23277908976

 

 

 

 

ODA, IOM, & MPPA Meet On Diaspora Agribusiness Investment Forum

By Alfred Fornah
The Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs (MPPA) on Thursday 6th September, 2018 held a fruitful meeting regarding preparations on the forthcoming Diaspora Agribusiness Investment Forum.

The meeting which was held at MPPA, Youyi Building in Freetown saw discussions on preparations for the investment forum which some stakeholders in the private sector have described as one of the most anticipated event that will be organized in Sierra Leone this year.

In his statement, the Director of ODA Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh briefly highlighted his institution’s role in organizing the Diaspora Agribusiness Forum, and assured all that his office will react accordingly.

IOM’s Consultant Coordinator for the Forum, Mr Amadu Massally noted that as the country gets into a new administration, calling for a new direction, he believes the climate is ripe again to tap into the diaspora of Sierra Leone. According to him: “And I’m hoping that the Diaspora Agribusiness Investment Forum that will be held on the 18th and 19th of this month will be able to harness Diaspora resources and attract investment in the agribusiness sector. But also to provide catalytic interventions that will spur the private sector to where it ought to be.”

The IOM’s Diaspora Engagement Manager in -charge of Migration and Development for Africa (MIDA) project, Mr Akao Kunikazu informed that they have nominated twelve diaspora Sierra Leoneans and invited nine Japanese Companies (a tenth one already doing business here is DOLE) including the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) to participate in the Forum. Some of these diasporans he said have agribusinesses in Sierra Leone. He also said that the Japanese Ambassador assigned to Sierra Leone will also be in attendance from his residence in Ghana

Both the Minister and Deputy Minister of Political and Public Affairs took active part in the discussions and even made suggestions as to how the event can be successfully organized in order to achieve it intended purpose. They promised that they will be hands on to the extent possible going forward ‘because this is an event with huge potential’ they agreed.

The Minister of MPPA, Ambassador, Foday Yumkella assured IOM staff present that their Ministry will now be actively involved and will ensure that they play their own part in organizing the event.

 

 

SIERRA LEONE DIASPORA AGRIBUSINESS INVESTMENT FORUM

The 5 Ws of an Agribusiness Investment Forum… in Sierra Leone

What is this?
An investment forum that will bring together investors, entrepreneurs, and other diasporas with key roles to play in supporting enterprise development in Sierra Leone to connect, interact, and problem-solve to enhance prospects for development of agribusiness enterprises that can contribute to inclusive growth in Sierra Leone. A unique group that features our compatriots in the diaspora combined with a rare appearance by a group of Japanese private companies will descend into Sierra Leone.

Preparing for them are Sierra Leone agro-based enterprises (agribusinesses) that have been selected via an independent company and process. They will offer bankable projects hopefully, to the investors. The names of those companies will be announced in due time.

Who is doing this
The IOM with funds from the Government of Japan is sponsoring the exercise and it is being coordinated by two Sierra Leonean consultants hired along with IOM staff to execute on the formation and coordination of the project. Other participants include some members of the Sierra Leonean diaspora and some private companies from Japan.

Locally run agribusinesses are also part of the puzzle as is the GoSL with the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA), Min. of Trade and Industry, SLIEPA, SLeCAD, and SMEDA, among others. The Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture is also strategically involved. This is a national event!

Why is the IOM doing this?
IOM believes the Sierra Leone diaspora is an integral and important piece of Sierra Leone’s economic recovery. Engaging this community is considered critical to national development. The IOM a migration- and by default diaspora-oriented organization is most suited for this kind of work.

As an added value to the overall intentions of an investment forum, typically, the IOM has incorporated the visit of about ten Japanese private companies who will accompany twelve Sierra Leoneans from the diaspora into the project.

When/Where is this taking place?
The investment forum is scheduled to be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The dates slated are the 18th and 19th of September, 2018.

How is it being done?

The event itself will be a combination of panel discussions and presentations with a question and answer session that follows. We will break out into workshops and especially have a speed networking event. At the end of each day, we will collect, collate and communicate action items that have been committed to. These will culminate into an action plan that will guide the way forward. Our hope is that this exercise will help put the private sector on a trajectory for transformation.

 ©Mr Amadu Massally,

IOM Consultant Coordinator

Email:  amadu.massally@gmail.com

 

 

President Bio Interacts With Sierra Leoneans in Nouakchott

Nouakchott, Mauritania, Saturday 30th June 2018 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has now made it a routine to interact with ordinary Sierra Leoneans residing in countries abroad during his overseas trips. For him the philosophy is simple, that for Sierra Leone to prosper and his Government to succeed he would need contributions from all Sierra Leoneans within and outside Sierra Leone. And so far with his impressive efforts, the goodwill from Sierra Leoneans is overwhelming.

Following on with his philosophy, on Friday 29th June, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio interacted with Sierra Leoneans in Nouakchott. For many of the Sierra Leonean residents, it was the first time a Sierra Leonean President was interacting with them in Mauritania. Many praised President Bio for his humility and care he has shown by meeting them to know their concerns.

During the interaction, President Bio thanked the residents for the good comportment in Mauritania and that he was proud as a Sierra Leonean to know that many good things are being said about them from the Mauritanian authority.

He told them that as a new Government there are many challenges because of what he inherited from the past Government but he was very determined to ensure that he creates the meaningful change that will attract them to return home.

President Bio also urged the residents to remain united as Sierra Leoneans and embrace one another.

The President of the Sierra Leonean residents in Mauritania thanked President Bio for his concern about their welfare and praised him for the actions he has taken so far as President. He told President Bio that they will always keep him in their prayers so that he will succeed to change Sierra Leone.

Other statements were made by the First Lady, Mrs Fatima Bio and the substantive Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Alie Kabba.

For more enquiries:
State House Media and Communications Unit;
+232(88)269282/+232(76)267664

MINISTER OF POLITICAL & PUBLIC AFFAIRS ENGAGES ODA, IOM ON THE MIDA PROJECT

By Alfred Fornah

The Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Hon Foday Yumkella on Wednesday 20th June 2018 had a meeting with the Director, Office of Diaspora Affairs ( ODA) and also with some officials of the International Organization for Migration ( IOM) at his Youyi Building Office in Freetown.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss issues regarding the Migration and Development for Africa ( MIDA) Project.

Briefing the Minister and his Deputy about the project, the Director of Diaspora Affairs, Dr Kallay Musa Conteh said the MIDA project is funded by the Japanese Government and implemented by the International Organization For Migration , Office of Diaspora Affairs and the Ministry of Health . He added that the project aimed at building a bridge between available resources of the Sierra Leonean diaspora ,needs and opportunities in Sierra Leone. ” Together with IOM and the Ministry of Health we have rolled out a pilot phase of this project in Koinadugu District; with a motive to strengthen the Health Care System through the deployment of experienced diaspora health care workers in that part of the country” Dr Conteh noted.

Akao Kunikazu, IOM Project Manager in charge of the MIDA Project said with the support they received from the Japanese Government they were able to recruit diaspora Medics who delivered free medical services in areas such as Internal Medicine , Dental and Mental Health, and also performed extremely well in handling Gynecological and pediatric cases in Koinadugu District.

He informed that they have started a second phase of the project in Kailahun District. ” the new project seek to address issues on Health, Agriculture Disaster prevention and intervention”

He added that the project will also provide E- Learning platform for Diaspora medical experts who are residing overseas to transfer knowledge to students at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences in Sierra Leone.
He also said in September this year they will organize a Diaspora Agribusiness Workshop; encouraging diasporans to invest in Agriculture among other sectors.

In his response, the Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Hon. Foday Yumkella commended IOM, ODA and their partners for the project. This kind of program , he said demonstrated Diaspora contribution to the development of the country. He called on ODA and IOM to consider incorporating other sectors in implementing such a laudable project.

©Alfred Fornah
Communications Officer ODA

ODA SENIOR MANAGEMENT PAYS COURTESY CALL ON POLITICAL & PUBLIC AFFAIRS MINISTER

By Alfred Fornah
The Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) senior management team on Tuesday 22nd May 2018 paid a courtesy call on the newly appointed Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Hon. Foday Yumkella at Youyi Building Freetown.

Leading the team from ODA was it’s Director Dr Kallay Musa Conteh , who was accompanied by five other senior staff members.

In his statement, the Director of Diaspora Affairs, Dr Kallay Musa Conteh explained about the mandate of the ODA. He said since it’s establishment by the former President, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma in 2008, the institution has been doing a lot in engaging the diaspora towards national development. He outlined some of the projects that have been implemented by the ODA. These projects he said include the UNDP funded project in 2011 which they attracted 25 Sierra Leone Diaspora Experts who were brought home to fill some of the critical gaps that existed in the public sector during that time. He also mentioned the capacity building project that was sponsored by the World Bank.

“Together with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), we have also rolled out a pilot phase of the Japanese funded Migration and Development in Africa (MIDA) Project in order to strengthen the health system in Koinadugu and Falaba Districts” he said. He added that a second phase of the MIDA project is now in progress in Kailahun District. ” this particular project aimed at attracting diasporans to deliver free health care services in that part of the country. He said the project has other components like Agriculture and Disaster Management and Prevention. Dr Conteh went further to talk about another diaspora project dubbed as Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) which they are also implementing with the IOM.

Dr Abdulai Dumbuya, ODA’s Information Technology , Communication & Database Manager said another important function the ODA is performing is to collect data of Sierra Leone Diasporans, adding that recently they presented a copy of the data to H E President Julius Maada Bio at State House. “The database simply provide information about the expertise of diasporans, their areas of interest to invest in Sierra Leone among others.

Joseph Lansana, Private Sector Manager of ODA explained their role in ensuring that Diasporans have the enabling environment to invest in the private sector in the country. He also noted that they are working in tandem with the Bank of Sierra Leone and the ACPEU to formalize remittances.

ODA’s Office/Admin Manager highlighted some of the challenges the institution is faced with, including the allocation of funds. He pointed out lack of required funds and the late disbursement of Government allocation to the institution. He hoped that with the help of the new minister, some of those problems would be surmounted and the ODA will be able to carry out it’s operations accordingly.

In his response, the Hon. Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Hon. Foday Yumkella stated that the Diaspora Office is an institution he believed can achieve quite a lot. He quoted the section in President Bio’s State Opening of Parliament speech that talks about how the Government intends to mobilize the diaspora towards national development and further urged the ODA team to work towards such ambition.
“I consider myself as a captain that want to learn very fast from you, and we need to work together to achieve our expected goal” the Hon. Minister said.

State Opening of Parliament: President Bio’s Statement regarding the Diaspora

“The Diaspora is a resource that Sierra Leone can tap into for its development needs. In the Diaspora reside some of the most educated, entrepreneurial and wealthy citizens. Most Diasporas are strongly attached to Sierra Leone and would be willing to contribute meaningfully to the country’s development.
Mr. Speaker, my Government will (i) will review the mandate of the Diaspora Office and assess its validity (ii) examine the laws relating to dual citizenship with a view to allowing Sierra Leonean Diaspora to fully participate in the politics of Sierra Leone (iii) mobilize highly skilled Sierra Leoneans for knowledge and skills transfer to Sierra Leone through volunteer services or short-term consultancy services or partnership between local and Diaspora professionals organizations (iv) mobilize and leverage Sierra Leonean Diaspora business communities for investment and trade in Sierra Leone (v) develop interactive mechanisms and special incentives for Sierra Leonean Diaspora Business communities and (vi) encourage Sierra Leonean Diaspora to form professional fora abroad”.

ASSOCIATION OF SIERRA LEONEANS IN TEXAS SUPPORTS LESS PRIVILEGED CHILDREN

By Alfred Fornah

The Association of Sierra Leonean Organizations in Texas (ASLOT) has on the 31st March 2018 made cash donation of one thousand United State Dollars to Ebola orphans and other less privileged children.

During his visit at Hope 4 Ebola Orphans Interim Care Centre at Hamilton Village, Sampha Sesay, a representative of ASLOT explained to the kids how the many different diaspora-led organizations located in Texas work together under the umbrella of ASLOT to foster mutually supportive and cohesive relationships to find solutions for the betterment of Sierra Leone. He said their Organization has been helping vulnerable children, like kids with disabilities and those orphaned by Ebola and the August’s tragic mudslide; promoting and celebrating Sierra Leones’ rich culture and independence by levering individual resources of the various member organizations to support projects for the development of their home country.

Mr Williams Tieh,, National Coordinator, H4EO in his  brief statement noted the importance of transparency and accountability and further promised to utilized the money for it intended purpose.

The Director, Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA), Dr Kallay Musa Conteh has commended ASLOT for what he referred to as a laudable venture from their diaspora constituents. He told this writer that the diaspora constituency has a lot to offer to the country, and the ODA will continue to work hard to harness the diaspora towards national development.

Meanwhile, ASLOT is a fantastic umbrella association for diaspora organizations based in Texas and is such a good model for our diaspora in other US states and countries, pulling together resources to find practical solutions for the betterment of Sierra Leone. ASLOT is organizing Sierra Leoneans in the State of Texas into a more loving and cohesive community, while employing interdependence together with non-Sierra Leoneans to support and promote sustainable growth in healthcare, education, infrastructure, agriculture, and social empowerment to benefit the people of Sierra Leone.

© Alfred Fornah

Communication Officer,

Office of Diaspora Affairs