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Development

INCLUSION OF UNDER-SERVED COMMUNITIES TO CONTRIBUTE TO HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE TRANSFORMATION OF OUR NATION

January 25, 2021

By Dr. Lauretta Will Sillah

Dr. Lauretta Will Sillah
CEO
People’s Foundation for Humanity Development
International Coordinator
Women In Ministry International (WIMI)

As much as Sierra Leone as a whole is limited as far as basic socioeconomic opportunities, rights, services and amenities, there are, however, communities that are so deprived that it is very pathetic.  Exclusion of such under-served communities cannot certainly contribute to our human capital development in the transformation of our nation, as our president and other like-minded visionaries are envisioning.  Our local parlance refers to the poorest among the poor as “popolipo.”  These are the communities I would like to shed light on in this piece. 

Over the Christmas and New Year holidays, I visited a village called Moseilolo, in the Moyamba District, which is about 26 miles from the District headquarters of Moyamba.  I was really heartbroken to discover that Moseilolo and other 9 surrounding villages did not even have a functioning local school.  The kids have to relocate to another far distant village or walk for miles and miles to attend school.  I was really sorry mostly for the little girls whose chances were even narrower as far as our President’s Agenda of narrowing gender-gaps and providing opportunity for underserved communities.  How do you empower such girls to contribute their fair share to the development of this nation?

So many speeches from our politicians and other high-level educational stakeholders have hammered the topic on “National Development Plan” especially in addressing the Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 5, and other international human capital development agenda. I am a strong advocate of the SDG 4 and 5 because of the transformation of my own life hailing from one of the poorest villages and from one of the poorest nations on earth.  So indeed Education has been the most potent enabler in so many lives we can testify about and should be able to pass on to the next generation in these vulnerable communities.

My biggest desire now is for every Sierra Leonean, including the most remote villagers to be included in this national development so that the kids can grow up to be all that they’re destined to be, if we’re going to be sustainable. We have enough role models in all disciplines both at home and abroad, including the academia, sciences, technology, Medical Doctors and host of other professions that can lend a hand in volunteering to help our remote villages.  We don’t have to wait for the government to do everything.  We can utilize our Non-Government Organizations, religious institutions, places of work, academic institutions and other charity organization to lend a helping hand.  Every little bit counts. For kids who are now above school-aged, vocational skills and entrepreneurship trainings are one of the best ways to not leave any child behind.

Although it may seem like a herculean task, however, we can deal with one community at a time.  It really doesn’t take all that much to provide learning environment, early-learner teachers, teaching and learning materials, staple meal, if we can just look at this from a humanitarian perspective instead of a political stand-point.  Everybody can contribute one way or the other. Post-war, my colleagues at American InterContinental University in Atlanta and my family and friends contributed to the academic arena by collecting and disseminating academic materials and supplies for over a decade amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth and distributed them to all the major universities including Fourah Bay College, Njala University, IPAM, IAMTECH, Centennial Secondary School, Mattru Jong and numerous elementary and tertiary institutions. 

We can still continue to contribute in diverse ways, especially now that the world is going digital and with virtual learning environments, due to drastic effects of the pandemic.  Our villages could certainly utilize all those tangible school materials including library books and other excess school and other pertinent supplies just wasting in warehouses all across advanced nations including the US and UK.  This whole year, 2021, we at People’s Foundation for Humanity Development, Women In Ministry International, PointLink LLC and other charities will be reaching out on local, international and social media, to address some of these vulnerabilities.  We pray that hearts will be touched to reach out to address and holistically meet the needs of our fellow human beings. In supporting the government’s efforts, inclusion of under-served communities, at the end of the day would be able to be included and thereby contribute to the human capital development in the transformation of our great nation of Mama SaLone.

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