Monday, 17 July 2017


By Mohamed Amin Sidibay
Speaking to Culture radio on the admission of three children to a bed, the medical superintendent, Dr.Mohammed Sheku says,"this is the height of the raining season, there is too many cases of diarrhea, malaria, rhinitis, fever and convulsions that are reported every day and night for admission,and we have only 30 bed capacity besides there is no other pediatric space to improvise."He continues saying in an empathic tone" If we refuse to admit them and send them home,meaning we are sending them to die,and if we admit them on the floor, we will be still exposing them to danger"
He added that if we had got another place for children,it would better.The hospital really needs more structures.
Isata Sums,one of the parents children appreciated the medical superintendent and the nurses for accepting them and their children even though the are admitted like that.She considered them as real saviours and prayed to God for their safety.
However, one of the parents of the diseased children blasted the kono politicians for not thinking about the health of the children of the district. She further said that all our politicians care about is spending money on things that are cursed by God.She boldly made mentioned of the minister of transport and aviation that led a masquerade after the Muslims ended their Holy month of Ramadan. "But we are waiting for them come 2018", she ends in an annoying tone.
"It sadden to see a city which is boast of having minerals especially diamonds to see her children suffering at such;more especially when it's being voiced all over the world recently of having 709 carats diamond pending in sales With the incumbent President Earnest koroma led government," says Sam kpaka another parent.
Aside from this, the more shocking one is that 13 June, 2017 8children died.According to statistics, out of every 10 children admitted, 6 to8 die on a daily basis.
The reasons for this is that the parents will not take their babies to the hospital when immediately sicked.Most will first try them at home and when their conditions get worst they will rush with them to the hospital. At arriving or on their way some will die,this habits of parents have caused many death on children in the city and in the country as a of the nurses emphasized.
According to sources, the admission of three or more children to a bed is happening in almost in all the government hospitals in other district in the country. For example, the Holadiru hospital among others.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

First Pan African College opens

Actis launches Honoris United Universities, the first pan-African private higher education network
Honoris United Universities is the first African private higher education network bringing together the leading tertiary education institutions in North and Southern Africa for the first time
LONDON, United Kingdom, July 11, 2017/ --
  • Honoris United Universities brings together the leading tertiary education institutions in North and Southern Africa for the first time – Collaborative Intelligence from around the continent
  • Luis Lopez has been appointed as CEO of Honoris United Universities
Actis (, a leading investor in growth markets, announced today a major pan-African higher education initiative - Honoris United Universities (

Honoris United Universities is the first African private higher education network bringing together the leading tertiary education institutions in North and Southern Africa for the first time. Honoris United Universities will harness the collaborative intelligence and the pioneering efforts of these institutions to educate Africa’s next generations of leaders and professionals.

Actis began with “beacon” markets in Francophone Africa. In December 2014, it made an investment in Université Centrale Group, the leading post-secondary education group in Tunisia. In 2016, the platform expanded to Morocco, creating a Northern Africa Hub through its investment in Université Mundiapolis. Mundiapolis is renowned for its international approach and focus on employability. 

Announcing subsequent additions

Today, Actis announces a further commitment to Francophone Africa through an investment, subject to regulatory approvals, in EMSI, Ecole Marocaine des Sciences de l’Ingénieur the largest private institution in Morocco and the leading private engineering school.

Actis is today also announcing the expansion of Honoris United Universities to South Africa, an important Anglophone beacon market that will anchor the platform in Southern Africa. Subject to regulatory approvals, Honoris has entered into an investment agreement with Management College of Southern Africa, better known as “MANCOSA”, and the REGENT Business School. Together, MANCOSA and REGENT are South Africa’s leading private distance learning institutions, focused on providing accredited, accessible and affordable education.

These agreements in Morocco and South Africa mark the genesis of the pan-African education leadership position that Honoris United Universities seeks to cement. As a whole, Honoris United Universities will offer more than 100 degrees in fields including Health Sciences, Engineering, IT, Business, Law, Architecture, Arts and Design, Media, Education and Political Science. Delivery is focused on student success and accessibility and includes a blend of on-campus, learning centers and distance learning.

Introducing the newly appointed CEO

Actis is pleased to announce the appointment of Luis Lopez as the CEO of Honoris United Universities. Luis brings a strong track record of student success and international management experience from Laureate International Universities.

Luis Lopez, newly appointed CEO of Honoris United Universities, stated - “I am proud to introduce Honoris United Universities, a unique platform providing international quality education. It is rooted in the vision of the founders of the member institutions. Aware of the vital need for their communities to develop human capital, they have each worked for decades to build relevant and demanding academic models with the dual objectives of developing the employability and the life skills of their graduatesWe believe our key values – collaborative intelligence, mobility and agility - unite us in the purpose of securing a successful impact for our students, their families and their communities.”

The Founders include Slah and Chédia Ben Turkia, who established Université Centrale, IMSET (Institut Maghrébin des Sciences Economiques et de Technologie) and Académie d’Art de Carthage in Tunisia; Professor Yusuf Karodia, the founder of MANCOSA & REGENT Business School in Southern Africa; Dr. Bargach El Fatimi, Dr. Jawad Khayat, Dr. Kamal Daissaoui and Mr. Zouhair Benabbou, as founders of EMSI and Mr. Lotfi El Eulj, Mr. Abdelaziz Lahlou and their partners, the founders of Université Mundiapolis. These leaders are characterized by a strong belief in creating pan-regional successful graduates with cross-border academic qualifications and work experience to be competitive in today’s fast-paced and demanding labor markets.

Rick Philips, Partner, Actis, said: “Actis has been operating in Africa for over seven decades. Through the businesses in which we invest we employ over 100,000 people. We understand not only what students are looking for in terms of quality and access but what their prospective employers are looking for when they graduate. Businesses are looking for applicants with internationally accredited levels of education. Employers in Africa have ambitions across the continent and beyond - they need candidates with global perspectives but who understand the diversity of Africa and their local markets and can demonstrate the skills to operate successfully.

Hichem Omezzine, Co-Lead Global Education Sector, Actis, said: “We have developed extensive domain knowledge in the education sector by backing the trend for emerging market consumers to secure their own and their children’s future quality of life by investing in their education. This has given us the credibility and experience to identify and to work with world class institutions to support their growth ambitions. We are absolutely thrilled to expand our partnership with Université Centrale and Université Mundiapolis to MANCOSA, REGENT and EMSI - three incredibly impactful market leaders.
Distributed by APO on behalf of Honoris United Universities.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

70 million people children to die before 2030

Investments in poor children save more lives per dollar spent, new UNICEF study says

Unless the world makes faster progress on reducing child mortality, by 2030 almost 70 million children will die before reaching their fifth birthday

Download the report, photos and videos:

NEW YORK, 28 June 2017 – Investing in the health and survival of the most deprived children and communities provides more value for money, saving almost twice as many lives for every US$1 million spent as equivalent investments in less deprived groups, according to a new UNICEF analysis.

Narrowing the Gaps: The power of investing in the poorest children presents compelling new evidence that backs up an unconventional prediction UNICEF made in 2010: the higher cost of reaching the poorest children with life-saving, high-impact health interventions would be outweighed by greater results. 

“The evidence is compelling: Investing in the poorest children is not only right in principle, it is also right in practice – saving more lives for every dollar spent,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “This is critical news for governments working to end all preventable child deaths at a time when every dollar counts. Investing equitably in children’s health also saves futures and helps break intergenerational cycles of poverty. A healthy child has a better chance of learning more in school and earning more as an adult.”

Unless progress on reducing child mortality accelerates, by 2030 almost 70 million children will die before reaching their fifth birthday.

Drawing on new data from the 51 countries where around 80 per cent of all newborn and under-five deaths occur, the study shows that improvements in coverage of life-saving interventions among poor groups helped decrease child mortality in these countries nearly three times faster than among non-poor groups.

Crucially, the study uses new data and modeling tools to demonstrate that interventions reaching children in poor groups proved 1.8 times more cost-effective in terms of lives saved.

The study selected six key health interventions as indicators to assess access to high-impact maternal, newborn and child health interventions: the use of insecticide-treated bed nets, early initiation of breastfeeding, antenatal care, full vaccination, the presence of a skilled birth attendant during delivery, and seeking care for children with diarrhea, fever or pneumonia.

Specifically, the study found that:

  • Access to high-impact health and nutrition interventions has improved most rapidly among poor groups in recent years, leading to substantial improvements in equity.
  • During the period studied, absolute reductions in under-five mortality rates associated with these changes in coverage were nearly three times faster among poor groups than non-poor groups. 
  • Since birth rates were higher among the poor than the non-poor, the reduction in the under-five mortality rate in poor communities translated into 4.2 times more lives saved for every million people.
  • Of the 1.1 million lives saved across the 51 countries during the final year studied for each country, nearly 85 per cent were among the poor.
  • While the per capita investment needed to improve coverage among the poor is greater than that required to reach the non-poor, these investments save almost twice as many lives per US$1 million invested as equivalent investments in the non-poor.

The study lists Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Malawi as some of the countries with high rates of under-five mortality where focus on the most deprived has made a difference for children. Between 1990 and 2015, under-five mortality decreased by half in Afghanistan and by 74 per cent in both Bangladesh and Malawi.

The findings come at a critical time, as governments continue their work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which set a target of ending all preventable deaths among newborns and children under the age of five by 2030. Investing in children’s health and survival can also support the achievement of other global development goals, such as ending poverty (SDG 1).

Narrowing the Gaps calls on countries to take practical steps to reduce inequities, including: disaggregating data to identify the children being left behind; investing more in proven interventions to prevent and treat the biggest killers of children; strengthening health systems to make quality care more widely available; innovating to find new ways of reaching the unreached; and monitoring equity gaps using household surveys and national information systems.


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit
Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook

For more information, please contact:
John James, UNICEF Communications Specialist,, Tel. +232 (0) 76 102 401

Saturday, 3 June 2017

SOCFIN gets 21-day ultimatum

The Malen Youth Development Union (MAYODA) on 20 May 2017 issued a 21-day ultimatum for the General Manager of Socfin Agriculture Company, Philip Tonks, and the Plantation Manager, Gordon Peterson, to be transferred, before the 9 June 2017 due to abuses meted against workers of the oil palm plantation and failure to fulfill development promises.

MAYODA is an advocacy and mediatory group endorsed by chiefdom stakeholders advocating for favourable treatment of land owners and workers.

Mustapha Fofanah, a middle-aged man, is the Chairman of MAYODA and also Town Chief of Jonbo village just a few metres from the concession area of Socfin by the ‘green belt’, a patched forest surrounding a village with vast palm trees, leaving land the size of two football stadiums for locals to eke a living.

The Chairman of MAYODA said, “this is the second complaint letter we have written to the company and other stakeholders about the grave abuses of Socfin workers especially laborers at the oil palm plantation and issues of unfulfilled development promises for locals.”

“We are relentless on this 21-day ultimatum this time around. They must go for our people to get freedom on the land,” clutching his fist and punching the air in anger.

He said labourers on the oil palm plantation are harassed, molested and also exploited by Socfin Agriculture Company, majority of whom are vulnerable poor men and women whose land has been acquired by the company.

He said 80% of the sixty villages where the company operates have not received 20% of the development projects promised them when their land was leased in 2011. On 22 May 2017 a peaceful and successful protest was held against the company, wherein all the oil palm plantation workers refused to go to work due to the undue harassment, intimidation and abuses by the company bosses.

Conditions of service for Socfin Workers

One of the labourers working on the oil palm plantation whose land was leased at Malen is, Sheku Rogers, at Kassie. His home is a mud hut with thatch set in the midst of bananas, palm and coconut trees and a kitchen garden.

The ground around each hut in the village is bare and damped chickens scratched around the house and a goat tethered under a tree.

The only source of income for Rogers before the company arrived at his village was farming, or they work for each other, and harvest sold for extras of life like sugar and salt, cloths and batteries for his new Chinese LED light as evening lamp.

Rogers said he was able to adequately feed the family, pay for schools fees, medical bills and other basic needs, but currently there is drastic drop in our living standards with seeming indescribable poverty.

Some of the villages, he said, have not changed much, despite the presence of the company. Kids still scuttled barefoot through the village in rags; young girls pounding grain in the shade of a mango tree and old women tending babies, many of the youths have migrated to bigger towns for jobs and a better life.

“Our land no more provides food for us to eat,” Rogers complained, “we are now labourers of the white man; waking up as early as 4:00 a.m. to walk three or four miles to the assembly point of the plantation workers,” Rogers said.

Our supervisors are rude, harsh and intimidating and the white boss is a racist who usually calls us “black monkeys” while in queue to be apportioned with tasks, he lamented.

“We assemble in the morning hours to pray and sing the national anthem and we are giving instructions on what to do by the supervisors. The lack of transport for labourers who walk for three to six miles is troubling at night. Some people hire motorbikes but many others are currently suffering,” Rogers said.

“We arrive at the assembly point without eating food and while working on the plantation, we are not even provided with water and those that get injured are also left to wallow in pain except for those with contracts,” he said.

Rogers claims they are forced to harvest 76 to 85 palm fruit heads a day and slash over 300 palm trees a day for less than Le 22,000 per day.

“The tasks given to us laborers are tedious and back breaking,” said Rogers. He uses a stick attached to a blade to harvest the palm fruits whilst others gather and transport the oil palm fruits. Roger’s hands are literally rough with blisters and new cuts.

According to Mamie Lahai, a woman in her 30’s with her husband working for the company, “We the laborers, especially women and adults, spend two to three days to complete one task and we get slightly above Le 20,000 which is meant for a day’s work.”

“We are treated like slaves on our land. We leased the land to the investors expecting that our livelihood will improve but today we are suffering wretchedly on our land,” she claimed.
Socfin’s responsibilities

The Human Resource Manager, Socfin Agriculture Company, Abu Amara, said the company is working according to the labour laws of Serra Leone and internationally accepted best practices. He said the company has made every effort to ensure that women and men working on its plantations benefit from improved living and working conditions.

“Every year,” he said, “Socfin invests a significant budget for the maintenance, renovation and creation of social infrastructures and community services, which includes housing, schools, clinics and roads, so that communities can thrive.”

The Human Resource Manager, said, “People are lazy in some of these villages we operate, you give them task for one day it takes them two to three days to complete,” he said, while responding to frequent phone calls at his office desk.

During the harvest season, “we employ a slightly over 4,000 workers and during the other periods, we have around 3,600 workforce,” the Human Resource Manager said.

“We have employed thousands of men and women from the chiefdom to do brushing, slashing, pruning appliance of fertilizer, and harvesting for a mill that produces 30 tons per hour.”

“We give task to meet our production target, but the people are lazy women do not accept pruning and harvesting jobs and use of wheelbarrows due to useless cultural belief,” he slammed his desk with his fist… we pay them slightly above Le 20,000 per task.”

The Community Liaison Manager, Joseph Edward Belmoh, said the company is doing its part in implementing community development projects and also providing jobs for locals.

He said a grievance committee is currently investigating issues raised by locals and workers in the 21-day ultimatum grievance letter sent to us in a bid to address some of the issues raised.

Belmoh also said that in advancing its Corporate Social Responsibilities, SOCFIN has, among several other community development projects, developed a Rice Cultivation Scheme of 190 hectares of “boli” land and 282 hectares of in-land valley swamp rice cultivation as well as fish ponds.

Belmoh said no gap has been identified regarding the compliance with IFC’s Performance Standard 5 “Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement” which has been officially recorded by a neutral third party commissioned by the World Bank in its report dated 31 July 2015.

He noted that SOCFIN is aware that it is one of very few multi-national corporations that stayed on and has continued to operate in Sierra Leone during her difficult and hard times, employing and providing for thousands of young Sierra Leoneans, paying huge corporate tax and employees’ insurance contributions.

A report by Actionaid in 2013 recommends: a binding regulatory framework (based on international guidelines for responsible agricultural investment) for foreign investment in farmland that gives premium to protection of local people and the environment, limiting leases to 1,000-2,000 ha, and binding compensation for all crops, trees and important resources based on the real value of each over its productive life span. Until such recommendations are applied, the report calls for an immediate moratorium on large-scale investment in farmland in Sierra Leone.

According to a foreign expert working in Sierra Leone, “the only way to stop this abuse of its people is the government to take control and have United Nations observers placed in all major foreign investor companies. It is going to take a long time to break the cycle of violence and cruel behavior learned from the past.”

Also, these company’s abuse of the world standards of living and proper humanitarian treatment can be stopped and improved, if forced to comply by a UN committee and monitors.
Friday June 02, 2017.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017


UN study: Digitization of Kenyan farmer payments helps tackle poverty
One Acre Fund cut payment losses and collection costs by over 80 percent, boosting farmers’ satisfaction and economic opportunity
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 31, 2017/ -- A new case study ( by the United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance ( shows how agriculture nonprofit organization One Acre Fund (, in partnership with Citi Inclusive Finance (, successfully digitized loan repayments for farmers in Kenya. This move significantly boosted transparency and efficiency, driving economic opportunity and financial inclusion for thousands of smallholder farmers and their families.

One Acre Fund, supported by Citi, enabled farmers to easily make loan repayments via mobile money instead of cash, reducing the uncertainty, inefficiency, insecurity and high costs previously caused by cash transactions.

One Acre Fund can now reach more farmers with greater reliability, and staff can spend almost half as much time collecting payments in cash, using that extra time to help farmers increase their incomes through training and educational programs. With One Acre Fund’s package of services, including training and inputs like seed and fertilizer, the average farmer participating in the program earned nearly 50 percent more than peer farmers who do not participate.

Study findings include:
  • Increased participant satisfaction due to transparency and convenience.
  • Eighty-five percent decreased instances of repayment fraud.
  • Reduced processing time for each repayment from 12-16 days to 2-4 days; farmers now know immediately when their payment is received, eliminating the worry about whether it arrived.
  • Eighty percent decrease in repayment processing costs.
  • Forty-six percent of time reduced for staff working on collections, allowing for more time helping farmers improve agricultural practices.
  • Women farmers benefited especially, feeling safer about payment deliveries.
Mobile repayments have allowed us to increase our efficiency and provide better service to farmers,” said Mike Warmington, the Director of Microfinance Partnerships at One Acre Fund. “We’re excited to be working at the forefront of this technology in the smallholder agriculture lending sector. In our experience, farmers were empowered to thrive in these communities. Clients receive immediate confirmation of payments as they happen, enabling them to better manage their businesses and family finances.

Citi’s footprint, track record in inclusive finance and transaction banking capabilities enable us to provide global support to leading social enterprises like One Acre Fund,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Inclusive Finance. Among other benefits, digitization enables efficiency and security, and drives innovative and inclusive business models. Citi is proud to play a part in enabling One Acre Fund and other organizations like them to improve the livelihoods of farming communities.”

One Acre Fund is an example of the significant benefits and impact that digital payments and inclusive digital financial infrastructure, as developed in Kenya, can bring to agricultural value chains, contributing to a more sustainable and productive agriculture sector, a cornerstone of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). These learnings can easily translate to poor farming communities in other countries and One Acre Fund is working on plans to expand in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia in the future.

For companies and nonprofit organizations who want to work in rural Africa, this success story is a must-read,” said Oswell Kahonde, Africa Regional Lead at the Better Than Cash Alliance. “Digital payments are essential to building sustainable business models and creating long-term impact. By enabling smallholder farmers to make and receive payments digitally, we are creating transparency and accountability which translates to numerous benefits and empowers people to take control of their finances.”

*** Please click here ( download the study. 
Distributed by APO on behalf of Better Than Cash.
For information & media interviews, please contact: 
• Better Than Cash Alliance: Angela Corbalan, Head of Communications, 917 224 9109
• One Acre Fund: Whitney McFerron, Global Media Relations Lead,
• Citi: Patricia Tuma, Corporate Communications,

About Better Than Cash Alliance:
The Better Than Cash Alliance is a United Nations-based partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that accelerate the transition from cash to digital payments in order to reduce poverty and drive inclusive growth. To learn more, visit, follow @BetterThan_Cash. 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Parliament enacts the Local Government Amendment Act 2017

Parliament on Tuesday 30th May 2017 debated and passed into law the Bill entitled “The Local Government Amendment Act, 2017”.
The Act is aimed at amending the Local Government Act, 2004 with the view of providing for the addition of new Districts created under the Provinces (Administrative Division) Order, 2017 and other related matters.
Presenting the Bill prior to ratification, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hadiru Ibrahim Kalokoh said that Part 1 in the recent de-amalgamation of chiefdoms and the subsequent division of the Northern Province into two provinces has resulted in the creation of two additional Districts, with one provincial headquarters. He furthered that this has necessitated the establishment of three new local councils which are currently not listed among those in the Local Government Act, 2004.
He also informed Parliament that with the advent of the de-amalgamation of chiefdoms and the re-districting, the number of chiefdoms in the Local Councils has changed, hence the need for the amendment.
MPs who spoke to the Bill described it “as non-controversial” and called for the immediate installation of Regent Chiefs in the newly created chiefdoms to avoid the interference of Paramount Chiefs in those areas, whilst expressing that the Bill is in tandem with the Provinces Act.
The Acting Minority Leader, Hon. Jusufu B. Mansaray and the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Leonard Fofanah expressed similar sentiments respectively.
Department of Public Relations
Parliament of Sierra Leone
OAU Drive, Tower Hill

Tel: 077669726/078495023/078426851

Monday, 29 May 2017

Gravitazz Continental Initiative

Role of the Private Sector in Disaster Risk Reduction?                           

Join us for
2017 Africa Conference on Economic Costs of Disasters (ACECD 2017)
23-25 October, Johannesburg, South Africa
Although the scale of disasters in Africa is generally smaller than in other continents such as Asia, their effects on affected populations have been devastating. This is largely due of the high levels of vulnerability of populations in African countries. Out of 100 disasters reported worldwide, only 20 occur in Africa, yet the continent suffers 60% of all disaster-related deaths.

When a natural disaster strikes, decades of development achievement in a country can be eroded in a very short period of time. It is crucial that States invest in prevention, preparedness, response and recovery in order to minimise the effects of disasters.

The role of the private sector is therefore essential in addressing these issues adequately. However, Africa is lagging behind in its private-public cooperation and in the disaster risk reduction (DRR) domain in particular. The private sector has generally been overlooked when it comes to DRR in Africa and yet, when disasters strike, the private sector is also affected. Therefore, it has a strong interest in preparedness, given that average global economic losses due to disasters range between 250-300 billion USD annually. It is against this backdrop that the private sector should be more involved in DRR in order to assist governments build resilient economies and achieve their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Do not miss the opportunity to attend the first continental Conference to focus exclusively on the active involvement of the private sector in DRR!

If you wish to be a speaker or to present a poster please submit an abstract before the 18th of June 2017! For more information please refer to the Call for Papers attachment.

Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to e-mail the Conference administration at For more details visit the Conference website at