SLIP Annual General Meeting
On Saturday morning the 31st October 2020 the SLIP Annual General Meeting was held via Zoom. This on line facility accommodated over 25 people in joining the meeting from London and others from Belfast to Cork and many counties in between.
The Chairperson warmly welcomed the attendees, with a very special ‘cead mile fáilte’ to two students from Sierra Leone who have recently arrived in Ireland to pursue studies. The students Amy Conteh pursuing MA in International Studies in UCD and Simche Lebbie studying MSc. in Social Policy in UCC, are funded under Irish Aid Scholarships.
The following Officers were elected:
Chairperson : Elizabeth Smith
Recording secretary : Liam McGlynn
Communications secretary : Geraldine Horgan
Treasurer: Frank Roden
Webmaster: Tony Robinson
Public Relations Officer: Jim Owens
The outgoing officers Martin Rowan and Ibrahim Bah were thanked for their work and contributions to on-going advocacy work of SLIP.
The Annual Report was presented and accepted at the meeting and a link to it can be found below.
The Chairperson, Elizabeth Smith drew attention to the enormous voluntary contribution by members of the organisation without which the many activities of the year could not be accomplished. She sincerely thanked all the members of the SLIP Committee for their work. She also gratefully acknowledged the ever important financial support of the members.
SLIP Annual Report 2019-2020
SLIP writes to Ministers Coveney and Brophy re 0.7% GNI Overseas Development Assistance:
Minister Simon Coveney, T.D.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
80, St. Stephen’s Green
Dublin 2, D02 VY53.
Re: Towards 0.7% GNI Overseas Development Assistance
10th September 2020
Dear Minister Coveney,
The Sierra Leone Ireland Partnership have advocated for Sierra Leone in Ireland for the past thirty years. We have done so since the devastating civil war during the 1990s, during the terrible Ebola epidemic 2013 to 2015 and during devastating climate catastrophes such as the Mudslide in Freetown in 2017 and we continue to be active in the midst of COVID19 pandemic. SLIP have brought together Sierra Leoneans and Irish people who have worked in Sierra Leone (missionaries and development workers/volunteers) over the past three decades on an annual basis. We have run seminars, awareness raising events and the annual Sierra Leone Independence day event. We continue to advocate for Sierra Leoneans integrating into Ireland including reaching out to those in direct provision (refer to website at www.slip.ie for more information on our work).
We welcome the commitment of the Irish Government in relation to overseas development assistance (ODA) ‘to make annual, sustainable progress, ultimately achieving the UN target of 0.7% of Gross National Income by 2030.’ (Programme for Government, Our Shared Future p.129). We are writing to you at this time to call for a specific commitment to continue and increase Ireland’s aid commitment to Sierra Leone which has an overall ‘focus on the empowerment of women and girls’ (Irish Aid, Ireland in Sierra Leone: Mission Strategy 2019-2023).
We note and welcome that Ireland secured the required number of votes (128 of 193 countries) to secure a seat at the UN Security Council for the two year term 2021-2022. Whilst the vote was secret ballot, it is likely Sierra Leone (part of the Africa caucus) supported Ireland’s bid for the seat, as a partner country for Irish Aid.
We also welcome the recent appointment of Dr. Sinead Walsh as Deputy Director General for Irish Aid and for Africa. Dr. Walsh was the first Ambassador of Ireland to Sierra Leone (2011-2016) and served in Sierra Leone during one of its most difficult periods, the Ebola epidemic. Sinead established excellent relations between the embassy in Freetown and SLIP and these valuable connections continue today. We wish her all the best in her new post.
Sierra Leone Ireland Partnership
CC: Minister Colm Brophy T.D., Minister of State for Overseas Development and the Diaspora.
Girls and Boys sitting Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) September 2020
Compiled by Rita K. Foday
The Basic Education Certificate Examination (commonly known as BECE) is the exam that pupils are expected to pass in order to graduate from junior secondary school to be admitted to the senior secondary school in Sierra Leone. The exam is taken by those who have already done three years of secondary school studies.
Normally, this exam takes place around July but due to the covid-19, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School Education has scheduled it for 14th to 28th September this year.
The candidates taking this exam are required to follow the covid-19 precautions. The temperature of each student is checked before they are allowed into their respective examination halls; use of face masks while moving around, and social distancing is facilitated.
Certain schools with sufficient seating accommodation have been identified as examination centres. This means that candidates from particular schools are grouped at a particular centre.
I am including some pictures taken of candidates taking the exams at some of the centres in Bo and Lunsar (southern and northern Sierra Leone respectively).
Covid-19 weekly updates
Between September 14th and Sept 20th 2020 there are 57 new cases,
Accumulative confirmed cases – 2168
Active cases – 446
Death – 72.
Completion of exams will lead to complete re-opening of schools on October 5th in SL:
Report by Rita Foday.
Following the lifting of bans on inter-district travels, the ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School announced the resumption of schools for the examination classes with the hope of preparing for their respective exams. In this regard schools were reopened for pupils in the sixth class (final year class in the primary school) as well as those in the final classes in both the Junior Secondary School and Senior Secondary School as they prepare for their NPSE, BECE and WASSCE respectively. On August 3, the sixth class Primary School pupils across the country had their exams. Successful candidates will be promoted to the Junior Secondary School. The examination lasts for a day with the pupils answering questions in five course areas: English, Mathematics, Quantitative Aptitude, Verba Aptitude and General Paper.
Similarly, from August 11 to September 8, those in the final class in the Senior Secondary School wrote their final examination. Worthy to note at this juncture is the fact that none of the pupils in this category was found to be living with the virus; hence, no one took the exam in an isolation centre.
Lastly, over the next 2 weeks, those in the final class in the Junior Secondary School will commence their examinations.