Director of Diaspora Affairs delivers paper at international Dialogue on Migration workshop at the UN

The Director of Diaspora Engagement of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh on Tuesday March 27 attended the first workshop of the UN Migration’s International Dialogue on Migration( IDM ), where he delivered an impressive and comprehensive paper on The Whole-Of-Society partnerships For Good Migration Governance.

The workshop was attended by representatives of civil society, migrants’ groups, experts and other stakeholders. It provided an informal and non-binding setting in which all stakeholders had an equal right to participate, fostering trust, openness and genuine exchange while addressing the full range of migration issues and their linkages with other policy domains.

In his deliverance at the workshop, Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh stated that Migration has, historically, been an integral part of livelihoods in Sierra Leone. He said that while migration from the country dates back to the 1960s, the recent civil war and endemic poverty have contributed to massive out-migration in the 1990s and that the number of Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora is estimated to be 336, 000 (World Bank, 2016). Of this number, about 33.7% of Sierra Leoneans living in OECD countries are tertiary-educated (World Bank, 2016).
Discussing the three principles of good migration governance, Dr. Kallay Musa said that Good migration governance would require adherence to international standards and the fulfilment of migrants’ rights; Migration and related policies are best formulated using evidence and whole of government approaches ; Good migration governance relies on strong partnerships.

Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh also discussed the objectives of good migration governance. Good migration governance and related policy , he posited, should seek to advance the socioeconomic well-being of migrants and society. Secondly, Good migration governance is based on effective responses to the mobility dimensions of crises. He also stated that Migration should take place in a safe, orderly and dignified manner.

Delving deeper into the first principle of good migration governance, Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh propounded the fact that “Humane and orderly migration requires compliance with international law. The obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of individuals is paramount and applies to all individuals within a State’s territory, regardless of nationality or migration status and without discrimination, in order to preserve their safety, physical integrity, well-being and dignity. ” He went on to elucidate that “Protecting the rights of individuals includes combating xenophobia, racism and discrimination, ensuring adherence with the principles of equality and non-discrimination, and ensuring access to protection.”

On the second principle that Migration and related policies are best formulated using evidence and whole-of-government approaches, Dr . Kallay Musa Conteh pointed out that “Migration policy is often the subject of intense political debate and can be based on populist sentiments.”

“Migration policy”, he went on, “must be based on facts and a well-founded analysis of the benefits and risks the movement of people poses to the State. To govern migration well, a State would collect, analyse and use credible data and information on, among other things, demographics, cross-border movements, internal displacement, diasporas, labour markets, seasonal trends, education and health. Furthermore, a State would seek to understand migration trends and reflect them in policies, including links with environmental degradation, climate change and crises.”

Dilating on the third principle that Good migration governance relies on strong partnerships , Dr .Kallay Musa Conteh stated that “By their very nature, migration and mobility implicate multiple actors: States and their neighbors, subnational authorities, local communities, migrants and their families, diasporas, employers and unions.”

“In addition,” Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh went on, ” there are dozens of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations whose mandates touch on migration and humanitarian action. Governing migration well requires partnerships to broaden the understanding of migration, and to develop comprehensive and effective approaches. This means maintaining close partnerships with: Subnational governments, local authorities, cities and municipalities; Non-governmental actors at the domestic level, including employers, unions, diasporas, migrant associations, civil society, local community groups, religious organizations and academia, ensuring that the entities consulted are representative of all those in the population concerned; this could include, among others,public–private partnerships “
©Kabbs Kanu

IOM, ODA ON DIASPORA MULTILATERAL ENGAGEMENT

By Alfred Fornah

The Director of Diaspora Engagement Affairs, Dr Kallay musa Conteh is currently in the United Kingdom together with Alhaji Sanusi Savage Head of IOM -Sierra Leone and the Project Manager for the Japanese funded Diaspora project Akao Kunikazu.

The purpose of their trip is to engage Sierra Leoneans in the UK regarding the new Migration and Development in Africa (MIDA) Project.

The new project which will start next month aimed at attracting diaspora contributions in Health, Agriculture, ICT, and Disaster Management.

The Multilateral meeting brought together different stakeholders including the Acting High commissioner of Sierra Leone to the UK Mr Tamba Ngeba, Head of Chancery Mr Logan, Cultural Attache at the Sierra Leone High commission in UK Dr. Seray Wurie, Ms. Pardeshi  Dipti Head of IOM UK and a plethora of Sierra leonean dignitaries and representatives of several diaspora organizations in the UK.

During the meeting, discussions were anchored on the strategy to harness the skills of Sierra leoneans in the UK; thereby ensuring that they fully participate in the new Japanese funded MIDA project.

In his brief remarks, The Director of Diaspora Engagement Affairs Dr Kallay Musa Conteh informed the gathering of Sierra Leone Government’s determination to use its Diaspora resources for national development. He also appeal to the diasporans to avail themselves for the various vacancies that have been identified for their participation in the new project.

The Head of Mission for IOM in Sierra Leone, Alhaji Sanusi Savage explained the effective and productive collaboration IOM and ODA have enjoyed over the years. He noted that the pilot phase of the diaspora health care project in Koinadugu District is folding up with success stories due to the effective participation of Sierra Leone Diaspora medical experts. He informed attendees about the $500,000 funding from the Japanese Government to the Government and People of Sierra Leone through IOM for the implementation of the new diaspora project.

 

 

8 DIASPORA HEALTH PROFESSIONALS JET IN

By Alfred Fornah

The Director, Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) Dr Kallay Musa Conteh has on Thursday 11th January 2018 received in audience a team of eight diaspora health care professionals led by the IOM Project Manager for the Diaspora health care project.

The Diaspora Medical Practitioners recently arrived in country to participate in the ongoing Diaspora Health Care Project dubbed as “Migration and Development in Africa (MIDA)”. The Project is funded by the Japanese Government and implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) and Ministry of Health in Koinadugu District.

According to the Project Manager Akao Kunikazu the Medical practitioners are from UK, USA and Germany and they have been assigned to provide free health care services at Kabala Government Hospital and other health care centres in koinadugu District.

In his Welcome statement, the Director of ODA, Dr Kallay Musa Conteh said ODA was established in 2008 to harness diaspora resources towards national development. He noted that a lot of countries in Africa have established diaspora offices for the purpose of reversing brain drain and also for private sector development. Whilst explaining the contribution of the diaspora to the country, he emphasized that the health care workers are in country to fill critical gaps in the health sector.

He recalled that in 2017 ODA together with IOM and the Ministry of Health recruited some diaspora health care workers for the same project, and these workers he added provided exceptional free health care services to the people of koinadugu. “We are also expecting you to perform your assignment accordingly” he said.  According to him some areas in Koinadugu District have challenges with regards access to healthcare services, and it was based on that the District was selected to implement the project.

Elizabeth Conteh, a health care worker from the United Kingdom said even though they had some disappointments before, but she is impressed by the current work of ODA and IOM.

She said they are happy and willing to come and serve their country despite the stipends that would be provided to them.

Also, Habib Sesay, another diaspora health professional from UK expressed commitment to deliver his best to the project. “Over the years I have been planning to comeback home and give back to my country, and also I had the urge to come and provide healthcare services to the psychiatric Hospital’’  he stated.

DIASPORA AFFAIRS DIRECTOR BAGS HONORARY DOCTORATE DEGREE FROM LONDON GRADUATE SCHOOL

By Alfred Fornah

The Director of Diaspora Engagement Affairs, Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh has received an honorary Doctorate Degree Honoris Causa in Public Administration from the renowned London Graduate School

The degree was awarded to Dr Conteh at a well-attended convocation ceremony and leadership summit in Dubai on the 14th December 2017.

The event was initiated by the Commonwealth University and London Graduate School Consortium to serve as a forum to inspire leaders exchange ideas and opinions about practical leadership challenges and also to enable leaders to benchmark good practices.

Dr Conteh was among many other distinguished personalities from different parts of the world that were invited to receive awards for their outstanding Contributions to the development of their various countries.

In his citation, the University Chancellor, Professor Michael Addison pronounced Dr Kallay Musa Conteh as a seasoned administrator who has fully engaged in harnessing the Sierra Leonean Diaspora community towards national development.

Speaking to this writer, the Director of Diaspora Engagement Affairs said: “I dedicate this award to His Excellency the President, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, my family members, my supervising Ministry of Political and Public Affairs, my team members in the Directorate of Diaspora Engagement Affairs and to all my fellow Sierra Leoneans at home and in the Diaspora Constituency for reposing confidence in me to serve as Director of Diaspora Engagement Affairs , a position that has exposed me to the world and higher institutions of learning”

Meanwhile Dr Conteh has received several other meritorious awards for his contribution to national development from both local and Diaspora organizations including the Sierra Leone Central Union (SLCU) in the Netherlands.

 

Sierra Leonean nurse returns to provide healthcare services

By Alfred Fornah

A Sierra Leone Diaspora Nurse Practitioner from Atlanta USA, Shodetta Hazley was on the 5th December 2017 accompanied by the MIDA Project Coordinator, Akao Kunikazu to the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) for a courtesy call.

The Diaspora Nurse is currently in Sierra Leone to participate in the ongoing MIDA Health Care Program dubbed as “Strengthening Sierra Leone Health care system through the deployment of experienced Diaspora Health care workers”

In his statement, ODA’s Deputy Director, Mr Sorie Tholley thanked Madam Hazley for leaving her comfort zone to come and serve her home country. He made reference to some Sierra Leone Diaspora Medical Doctors who were here recently in the country to deliver exceptional free health care services to the people of Koinadugu District. He hoped that Madam Hazley will also use the time she will spend in the country to provide quality healthcare services and as well share her knowledge and expertise with the locals.

In her response, Madam Hazley expressed joy and commitment to serve her country. “To come back home and serve my country is something that I always dream about, and this short term assignment is indeed a step in stone in fulfilling my dream” she explained. She noted that there are lot of Sierra Leonean health care workers in America that really want to come back home and help their country.

ODA RECEIVES 3 DIASPORA BUSINESS EXPERTS

The Project Officer of the Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) Project attached to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mange Sesay on the 21st November 2017 led a delegation, composed of three Sierra Leone Diaspora Business and Investment Experts from Holland to the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) Headquarters in Freetown.

The Business and Investment Experts include: Abubakarr Bangura, and William Clarkson both were assigned to the Institute of Advanced Management and Technology (IAMTECH) Ibrahim Kamara was assigned to provide his services including to train local lecturers at the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET).

The Diaspora Experts according to Mr Mange Sesay are in country to participate in the Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) Program. “This courtsey call is really necessary because ODA is the first point of call for Diasporans especially participants of the CD4D” Mr Sesay noted.

He informed that host Institutions have affirmed that CD4D participants are doing extremely well in performing their various assignments.

In his statement, Abubakarr Bangura commended ODA for supporting and ensuring that Diasporans are well positioned in the country. He said that he is in the country for a short assignment. ” Am here to do follow up with regards the issue that has to do with setting up of entrepreneurship incubators in tertiary institutions in the country, am currently doing the spade work to finalize arrangements so that lecturers of three Tertiary institutions  will visit Holland on a study to tour that will earn them first-hand information and tools  that needed to  establish and run business incubators in Sierra Leone, also am here to visit participants of the online entrepreneurship programme ;exchange ideas and track the progress made by these participants”. Mr Bangura explained.

Both Mr Ibrahim Kamara and Mr William Clarkson said that this is not their first time to participate in such programs, adding that in 2008 they participated in the Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals (TRQN). However, they assured that they will deliver their best in the current CD4D programme.

Addressing the Diaspora Business and Investment specialists, the Director of ODA, Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh said that the CD4D is one of the programmes in which Sierra Leoneans in Europe, especially those in Holland give back to their country through skills transfer.

He further expressed delight in working with the International Organization for Migration to roll out the CD4D Programme in the country. “Our working relationship with IOM has been very fruitful in a bid to bring back Sierra Leoneans from the Diaspora to contribute positively to the development of the country” Dr. Conteh said.

© Alfred Fornah

Communication Officer, ODA.

KOINADUGU RESIDENTS APPRECIATE THE DIASPORA HEALTH CARE PROGRAMME

By Alfred Fornah

Residents of Koinadugu District, especially those who benefited from the Japan funded project titled: ” Strengthening Sierra Leonean National Health Capacity through Diaspora Engagement” have on the 9th November 2017 applauded the project; noting that it has contributed immensely to improve access to health care services in the District.

They expressed gratitude to the Diaspora Medics for delivering exceptional free medical treatments including major and minor surgery to people who are in dire need of these services.
“I am happy that the Diaspora health care workers are here to offer us this gesture, because I wouldn’t have even attempted to come to the Hospital since I couldn’t afford to pay Medical bills “said Adama Sow, a beneficiary of the project. She also noted that the Diaspora free health care programme is necessary and is impacting the the lives of so many people in both Koinadugu and Falaba Districts.

Paramount chief Gbawuru Mansaray iii of Wara Wara Yagala Chiefdom in Koinadugu District expressed thanks and appreciation to the Japanese Government for providing funds for the project and the implementing Agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and also it’s Partners like Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA), Ministry of Health for choosing Koinadugu District to roll out a pilot phase of the project. “We really appreciate the effort of the Diaspora Medical Professionals. Many of our people know their health problems but can’t afford to pay for Medical services, therefore the intervention of these medics is really timely” he explained. He looked forward to the Diaspora Medical Experts for more help especially in the area of health care delivery in the District.
“When we started Work in Kabala Government Hospital, people came from the surrounding villages, and all over Koinadugu District to benefit from our free medical treatments. And within a short period, we carried out a lot of successful surgical procedures/treatments. Said Doctor Bangura, a diaspora Medical Doctor from US.

Doctor Charles Senessi, a Physician, WHO Consultant, an experienced Sierra Leonean Diaspora Medical Professional from Switzerland said they are in Sierra Leone not only to provide health care services but to transfer skills to the locals ; there by narrowing the knowledge gap. He added that they were happy to have contributed to the development of the health sector. “Our colleagues in the diaspora are willing to come and we will definitely reach out to them”.

Reacting, the Director of ODA Dr. Kallay Musa Conteh said the contribution of the Diaspora healthcare workers is a respond to the call of His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma who is the brain child of the establishment of the Office of the Diaspora Affairs to harness the Diaspora towards national development. He said the contribution of the Sierra Leonean Diaspora community to the country’s development over the years cannot be overemphasized. ” Diaspora contributions range from remittances to skills transfer, and the work of the Diaspora health experts in Koinadugu District is a clear testament of how Diasporans are contributing to nation building ” Dr Conteh stated. He further expressed gratification for the successful partnership between his institution (ODA) with IOM and MOHS in the implementation of the MIDA Health Care Project. He appealed to other Sierra Leonean Experts in the diaspora to come home and give back to their country.

Meanwhile, the Diaspora Medical Doctors who were in the country recently for a short medical mission under the MIDA Health Care program have completed their assignment in providing free medical treatments in the areas of Mental Health, Dental, Internal Medicine, Gynecological and Pediatric cases for about one hundred and fifty patients (89 Surgical patients, 45 outpatients, 48 dental care.)

The Project Coordinator of the Diaspora Health Care Project, Akao Kunikazu assured the continued support of the Japanese Government to bring more Diaspora Medical Doctors to Koinadugu and Falaba Districts, adding that residents of these areas should take advantage of the opportunity.

5 DIASPORA MEDICAL DOCTORS ARRIVE TO DELIVER FREE MEDICAL SERVICES

By Alfred Fornah
The Director, Office of Diaspora Affairs(ODA) , Mr Kallay Musa Conteh has on Tuesday 31st of October 2017 received in audience five Diaspora Medical Doctors who are currently in country to provide free vital medical services to the people of Koinadugu District.

The Diaspora Medical Experts include Dr. Charles Senessi from Switzerland, Doctor Abdul Bangura from US, Doctor Kaifala Tarawalie and Doctor Abdul Karim Sillah both from UK and Josephine Garnan who has solid background in Mental Health and Project Management.

These doctors and Medical Experts are in the country to participate in the Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) project. The project which is funded by the Japanese Government aimed at strengthening the Sierra Leonean health care system through the deployment of experienced Diaspora Health care workers to Sierra Leone.

Addressing the medics, the Director of ODA Mr Kallay Musa Conteh in a jubilant mood thanked them for honouring the call of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), ODA and MOHS to come and serve the country. He said that ODA was established with the motive to harness the Sierra Leone Diaspora towards national development. He out lined some of the contributions of the Sierra Leone Diaspora community; ranging from skills transfer to remittances. He recalled about a UNDP funded program in 2011 in which 25 Sierra Leonean Diasporans were recruited to strengthen the country’s public sector. He also promised to convey the arrival of the medics in the country to the oversight Ministry of ODA and by extension to State House through official correspondences.

The Project Manager, Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) Akao Kunikazu said these Diaspora Doctors will be providing free health care services to the people of Kabala Town and it environs in a period of two weeks. “We are traveling to Koinadugu today 31st October with the medics and they will deliver quality specialized health care services to the people in that part of the country ” Akao said.

In his brief statement, Doctor Charles Senessi, a Sierra Leonean Medical expert from Switzerland said despite the fact that he is working for the Swiss Government but he love Sierra Leone and he is very passionate about the issue of skills transfer, adding that ” those were some of the reasons why he is here to give back to his home country”. He however commended the locals especially officials of MOHS, IOM and ODA and the Medical School for been receptive.

The other Diaspora Medical Professionals expressed commitment and willingness to give back to their country. They also promised to share their knowledge and their expertise with local health care workers at the assigned Hospital and community health centers in Koinadugu.

 

Entrepreneurship Centers

CD4D PARTICIPANT TO SET UP CENTERS FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN SIERRA LEONE
As the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) continue to roll out activities of the connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) Programme (CD4D), Abubakarr Bangura who is one of the CD4D participants has on the 26th July 2017 presented a concept paper in order to set up different centers for entrepreneurship incubators for tertiary institutions in Sierra Leone including the Institute of Advanced Management and Technology (IAMTECH) and Milton Margai College Of Education Science and Technology (MMCET).

The event which took place at IAMTECH brought together representatives from the Professional Managers Association from Holland better known as PUM- Netherlands Senior Experts, lecturers of entrepreneurship and ICT, ST Foundation and Office of Diaspora Affairs.

In his presentation, Abubakarr Bangura said the entrepreneurship centers will run incubator programmes for start ups, adding that establishing an incubator at tertiary institutions in Sierra Leone was one of the recommendations that was made in the first CD4D entrepreneurship education workshop that was organised for lecturers on the 26th of March 2017.

He said entrepreneurship incubator is a unique platform to practicalise the entrepreneurial mind-set of students. “It will provide a unique opportunity for students to benefit from the talent and resources located in their institution, particularly in development of products that require higher level of technology and sophistication. It will also provide new opportunities for employments, creating entrepreneurial talent and leadership’’ Mr Bangura explained.

He informed that a delegation of four lecturers from different colleges will visit Holland in October or November this year. The visit he added is a study tour that will allow participants to learn about setting up sustainable centre for entrepreneurship in educational institutions.

Speaking on behalf of the PUM Netherlands Senior Experts, Jan Jongbloed said their organization is a non-profit organization, which has been advising businesses in developing countries and emerging markets.  PUM he said links these businesses to Dutch professionals who voluntarily devote their considerable experience to creating a better world. Mr Jongbloed further expressed his commitment to work with  Abubakarr Bangura and other partners like ST Foundation to help set up these incubators in the country .

CD4D is a demand-driven project for addressing capacity-building needs in selected priority institutions in countries of origin. The project enables diaspora professionals to use their expertise, skills and network for the development of their country of origin. For Sierra Leone, the focus is on capacity building of institutions in the Health, Education and Agriculture sector. The programme is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Development and International Trade.

© Alfred Fornah

Communications Officer

ODA

ODA Receives Experts

DIASPORA AFFAIRS RECEIVES SIERRA LEONEAN EXPERTS FROM HOLLAND

By Alfred Fornah

The Director and other staff of the Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA), on Monday 13th February, 2017 hosted a delegation of three including two Sierra Leonean experts from Holland at their head office at 8 Wesley Street, Freetown.

The delegation was led by Mr. Mange Sesay, IOM’s Project Coordinator for the Connecting Diaspora for Development Project (CD4D). The diaspora experts are in country in order to participate in the ongoing CD4D Project. The two Professionals are Dr. Robert Chakanda, assigned to Fourah bay College to provide expertise on Geographic Information System (GIS), and Mr. Umaru Bah is assigned to take up task as an ICT Expert at the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET)

The CD4D programme which is operated by the International Organization for Migration Netherlands (IOM) is a continuation of the Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals (TRQN) project; the programme links diaspora members with Dutch residency to institutions in their countries of origin. This will be done via physical and online assignments with organizations and institutions in Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, and Somalia. The CD4D project aims to exchange knowledge, skills of migrants for the reconstruction and development of their country of origin. CD4D is demand driven, based on priorities and development strategies of the countries of origin of diaspora experts.

In Sierra Leone, three priority areas including Health, Agriculture and Education have been identified by IOM and the Office of Diaspora Affairs to be provided with capacity by Sierra Leonean professionals residing in the Netherlands.

According to Mr. Mange Sesay, the most important element of the programme is to see that experts come from Holland and provide supports to the identified institutions in the country.

“We deem it necessary to introduce the first two participants to ODA because its the main government institution that is coordinating diaspora activities in Sierra Leone, and one cannot do anything about diaspora without their inclusion; in fact they have been playing an important role in this entire CD4D project.”  Mr. Sesay said.

In his statement, the Director, Office of Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Kallay Musa Conteh explained ODA’s Mandate to the two CD4D participants and recounted progress made by the office over the years. He also informed them that his institution is carrying out a talent database survey of Sierra Leonean Diasporans. He went further to state that they have established desk offices in the various entry points of the country, adding that they have officials attached to these desk offices charge with the responsibility to collect data; seeking relevant information especially for those diasporans who have plans to come home, contribute their skills and resources to national development.  ‘’We requested for Sierra Leone to be included on the CD4D project through a letter of recommendation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sierra Leone to the Dutch Foreign Ministry. The programme is really recognized by government of Sierra Leone because when IOM CD4D Consultant, Zia Gulam came from Holland, he paid  a courtesy call on the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs and the Hon. Vice President, Victor Bocarie Foh.’’ Mr. Conteh explained. He advised the two participants to be patriotic and offer their best to the country.  He promised that they will ensure the programme is monitored.

 

Mr Umaru Bah assured that he will perform his assignment diligently; and will ensure to leave a legacy and transform ICT education at the MMCET. Also Dr. Robert Chakanda promised to give his best to FBC.