Pujehun District, Southern Region, 5th December 2019, The ECOWAS National Office within the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development has on Thursday 5th December, 2019 conducted collaborative sensitization tours with line MDAs targeting Senior key Stakeholders in Pujehun District and at the 5th Brigade Battalion in Gondama.
The main objective of the tour was to improve on ECOWAS visibility in Sierra Leone by showcasing the achievements gained, challenges, activities, and projects been undertaken in Sierra Leone on behalf of ECOWAS. The activity was also conducted to reiterate the importance and post Vision 2020 of the Union to the people of Sierra Leone.
The team, which comprises committee members drawn from the ECOWAS Volunteer Team, Ministries of Planning, Social Welfare, Trade, Energy and Immigration Department went under the auspices of Dr. Francis M. Kai-Kai, the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, who continues to reiterate on a ‘People-centered’ approach and ownership of Government development programs.
Speaking to key stakeholders at the Pujehun Court Barray, the Team Leader, headed by the ECOWAS Desk Officer, Yousuf F. Benga-Samah explained the roles, benefits and opportunities of ECOWAS in member states serving as a conduit between ECOWAS Commission and other Government institutions in each member state, which comprises 15 countries.
The campaign which focused on the “ECOWAS Vision 2020” and beyond addressed specific benefits the country gains from the Union including, the ECOWAS trade liberalization schemes, assistance from ECOWAS to the Trade Ministry, the West African Power Pool Network (fiber optic connections), benefit of ECOWAS youth training in Benin and Mali and Sierra Leone’s contributions to Peacekeeping in Mali and Guinea Bissau among many others.
Explaining the role of ECOWAS through the Ministry of Social Welfare, The Senior Policy Analyst, Fatmata Ansumana highlighted the benefits of the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre and their role in providing healthcare and psychosocial support for women affected by fistula, through the Aberdeen Women’s Centre and HICAL.
She said the scheme has already provided medical care and support to over 25 affected women. Madam Ansumaman also noted the benefits of the ECOWAS scholarship of Excellence, which provides scholarships to mainly the girl-child for their excellence in academia.
Receiving the team, The Paramount Chief Member of Parliament (PCMP) for Pujehun District, Matilda Yayu Minah expressed her appreciation to the team for the initiative, stressing, that this will further help even the local people understand the interventions of ECOWAS within the district. She called on the team to ensure that the various projects highlighted be adequately followed through, especially the interventions beyond the riverine areas in Pujehun District.
Earlier on, the team, conducted the same sensitisation drive at the 5th Brigade Battalion in Gondama, where military officers also benefitted from the role of ECOWAS in the subregion, especially in the area of ECOWAS Military Relations.
Responding to the message, the Brigadier-General, Henry Jomo noted the importance of ECOWAS since the days of the ECOMOG hitherto. He continued to praise ECOWAS for enhancing the capacity of the military through regular trainings, workshops and seminars.
He emphasized their continued commitment and support to ECOWAS.