SIERRA LEONE AT 50: THE PEACE LEGACY

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The issue of relevance of this work to the Independence Celebrations relates to our sense of identity and the promotion of National Unity. This has implications for the development of a stronger sense of nationalism and patriotism which will help in the fight against corruption and help create a healthy manpower resource determined to develop their [our] own country.’ Professor C. Magbaily Fyle

 

In light of the fact that we have limited resources and time is against us for the Sierra Leone @ 50 celebrations we have to dig deeper, to get to the essence of what this means for our nation, to be more resourceful with ideas that will have a lasting impact, create a legacy without a burden of expenditure. The celebrations should act as a spring board to 50 years forward by creating a national identity; we will use this opportunity to ‘weave a nation’.

 

The idea of bringing people together should definitely be foremost in our minds, especially the largely ignored regions that usually exist on the fringes. I believe nobody should feel as though they have been left out of this event. This is a great opportunity to embark on activities t o consolidate our sometimes fragile peace.

 

PEACE TORCH

The idea is to have the Olympic torch being run in each of the 12 districts, 13 days prior to the 27th
and then ending up in Freetown on the 27th of April.
The torch will be launched on April 15th; it will run for about 5 miles in each district, before being driven to the next district to be handed over.
The opening ceremony will occur at the city centre with a gathering of district heads, chiefdom heads, and religious leaders, both Christians and Muslims.

 

Running of the Flame

 

We want each district to choose 6 people from within their communities who represents something positive ; somebody who has overcome adversity, or has shown success, a strong influencer, a great student, an exceptional mother- something to celebrate in that person. Each runner will be accomapanied by an athlete from the Sierra Leone Olympian association. The runner will be flanked by somebody carrying the flag of Sierra Leone, the white flag for peace. All runners will be wearing white.

The last runner will accompany the bus to the next district. Each district will prepare a gift that this person will give, on their behalf to the next district. The significance of the gift will be explained as it is presented. The district could choose something they grow or manufacture, or something they find most useful, or something that is reflective of their district culture: cocoa from Khailaun, diamond tools from Kono, cow milk from Koinadugu... They will explain as they handover why they chose that particular item to give their new twin district. Through This gesture we are connecting these two

districts, similar to the international twinning of cities, to encourage some interactions in activities between these two districts through out the year and going forward. We want to ensure greater exchange between neighbouring districts and then with the whole nation.

There will be a bus permanently with the flame for the 13 days, carrying Olympians, project coordinators,photographer, and videographer. Their will be a Red Cross team and medical personnel. The photographers and videographers have to capture really salient moments so we can turn this into a documentary and a book: pictures of each person who runs the flame in every district, the district gifts and the moment of exchange, cultural performance, chiefs, the opening ceremonies…

 

Sample Programme for each district

Prayers: to highlight and showcase our religious tolerance, something we take for granted but is really a special phenomenon.

 

Showcasing your district: highlighting agricultural or manufacturing success, and challenges,. This is an opportunity to show the nation how each area is trying to pull itself up, the type of coorperatives and businesses established and what their challenges are.

 

**Who am I: what makes you a Kambian / koinadugu/ Kenema . Project competition on state identity can be curved from this section. This is an opportunity for district players to start thinking about their collective identity.

 

Cultural performance: providing a stage for cultural display

Address from Diaspora: we would like to have focused diaspora presence at a couple of these district ceremonies. As we are trying to rebrand the diaspora image we are also attempting to match diaspora agendas with local community needs. By seeing what the district needs, diaspora organizations can go back and design their contributions towards adding value to cooperatives and businesses. This is why the showcasing of districts is important, so they can support regional, municipal and local projects that can provide specific and targeted opportunities for diasporas who are often interested in investing in their region of origin or one they know well

 

Launch of PEACE STATEMENT: a statement crafted to reflect the sentiment of the people, the need for Sierra Leone to glue itself together, and the benefits of working together as opposed to further separation. Message can be inscribed on a scroll and kept in the PEACE MUSEUM.

 

We will distribute letters to all districts through their district heads, and parliamentarians. We would also like government officials to be present at each of their district presentations. We would like to deploy somebody or a few people to the districts from March 7- March 20 to sensitize them about he proposal, so they can prepare for the event.

When I shared this idea with Dove Edwin last weekend, he stated that the Sierra Leone Olympians are in possession of the original Olympic flame from 1996 and we could use it for this event. An alternative suggestion from Charlie Haffner is that we can build our own flame from local materials, which would then be donated to the Peace museum after the event.

The Final Leg: the flame will enter Western area early on April 27th. The runners here would include all 16 of our ethnic groups to emphasize that we cannot run alone; we can only develop this nation together.

In addition to the mayor, and other players we would like make provision for amputee representation.

The final runner will run into stadium and present it to the President.

 

Logistics

2-3 people deployed to the districts in preparation, 10 days in March
1 bus for 13 days
Lodging and feeding of a permanent team of about 10: photographer, interviewer, video, guards for the flame, coordinator,
Small paper flags sent to each district ahead of their presentation
White t-shirts and shorts for runners
SLBC coverage
Red Cross
Medical Teams
Water

 

Schedule

Kambia April 15
Koinadugu 16
Bombali 17
Tonkolili 18
Kono 19
Kailahun 20
Kenema 21
Bo 22
Pujehun 23
Bonthe 24
Moyamba 25
Portloko 26
Freetown 27

 

We will be hosting in Freetown a diaspora Homecoming Week on Monday April 18th to Wednesday April 2oth, with a state house reception either on the Thursday or Saturday evening, to be confirmed. Please see attached document. At this reception we would also like to give out the first diaspora honors: awarding individuals and organizations from abroad who have made lasting contributions to development. This will become a full diaspora gala in following years, to encourage the kind of behaviour we want to see more of.

 

Budget

Item Unit cost Qty Total $ rate of 4,200
Sensitization exercise Mar 15th – 29th
2 personnel allowance 300,000 2 x 14 8,400,000 2,000
Logistics – mobility, Communications 100,000 13 1,300,000 309.5
Transportation- 1 bus 1,000,000 13 days 13,000,000 3,952
DSA for 20 personnel 300,000 20 x 13 78,000,000 18,571
Office of Diaspora Affairs staff-2 Coordinator – 2, flame bearers – 4, Media- 2, Photographers- 2, Red Cross-2, Runner-1,
Equipment
Gas Canister for Peace torch 126,000 13 days 1,638,000 390
Sports uniforms- green, white and blue plus 50th logo 30,000 37 1,110000 264
Flags 3x2 ft 105,000 3 315,000 $
TOTAL 103,763,000 25,487

 

THE PEACE BLANKET

The idea is to have each ethnic group weave or design fabric that is distinct to their culture. Dimensions can be specified to them so that they will be of a similar size. Each piece would then be brought together at an event where older women from each group can stitch all these pieces together into one blanket, like patch work. The event can be hosted as an elaborate and symbolic ceremony that represents the symbolic stitching together of our country: weaving a nation. Similarly each district can weave the shape of their district and the joining of the pieces will create a blanket map of Sierra Leone.

The final blanket will be housed in the museum. A replica of this will be developed, which will be kept by each district in rotation. A ‘world cup type draw’ can be held on the day the blanket is stitched together and completed, to decide which district will be the `peace keeper` for the following year. The district that houses the blanket for the year will be the focal point for independence and other events for that particular year. The whole country will be go to and focus on that particular district during independence and other key national events and holidays. At one of these events at the end of the year, the draw will be made to see which district will be the next ‘peace keeper’.


 

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