OWL NEWSLETTER - February 2005
A Historic Occasion
Mayor Cll. Mota Singh and Mayor Dr Wusu Sannoh signing the agreement between Royal Leamington Spa Town Council and Bo Town Council
The Bo Community Centre – one year on
Thanks to Janet Alty, we have these most recent pictures of the Community Centre taken in January. As you can see, the first phase of the project is nearing completion, which is a tremendous achievement for the Bo OWL Committee, who have worked tirelessly to bring this to fruition, especially considering that they have their own families and jobs as well. (How well would we be able to accomplish the building of a comparable structure over here?)
The latest report on progress identifies that £3500 is needed to complete the building and £5500 to furnish and equip it. We have about £3500 in our Development Fund, but after that is transferred we will have then exhausted the current fund raising effort. New means to raise funds for the furnishing would then be required, such as breaking it down into parts to fund-raise for specific purposes of the multi-purpose building as separate projects. Money provided by us for furnishing would be spent on locally sourced and produced items as much as is reasonably possible.
On February 25 th , we learned that they are tiling the floor and the toilets, the doors and windows are installed and the wiring is being completed.
Notes from the Committee
(Last meeting 1 st February)
Observations on The Visit
Janet Alty was asked if she noticed many changes from her previous visit in the 1980s. She said that she had not spent much time in Bo itself on her first visit, but from this visit she has great admiration for the efforts at post-war recovery. She was particularly impressed by conciliation resources in Bo and hoped that they might form a closer relationship with OWL.
Mota Singh said that it had been a very busy and very successful visit, both in Bo and Freetown . He spoke highly of Hussine. He had attended a Rotary Club meeting and brought back a message to the local Rotary. A member of DRIM (Disability Rights and Independence Movement) was at an OWL meeting and expressed the wish for a connection. Mota was very pleased to meet Fr Peter Konteh.
No contact was made with Magnus Lansana who worked with Lee Hales on the computers, but emails have since been received from Magnus and he is still involved and expects to run the I.T facility at the Community Centre.
Bill Evans dealt with Youth links and the new Schools links, but due to his illness these will be dealt with when he has recovered. However, we now know that two people have been selected to represent the Bo Youth Council on a visit to Leamington possibly in April – George F Mbayo, age 30, a Laboratory Technician at Bo Government Hospital and Jane Myambe, age 31, a Teacher at SLMB Secondary School.
The Women's Group has now started a Credit Union in addition to the group-micro-credit scheme. Contacts were made with VSO.
The Bo OWL committee has not held elections recently: the current committee feel that they have a commitment to complete the Community Centre Project as a body.
A delay aborted the final OWL meeting in Bo, so some ends were not tied up. Face-to-face meetings are important in developing understanding of each other's ways of working.
Meetings in Freetown with representatives of international agencies and Ministers carried on until the very last hour before departure.
County Council interest
It was felt that the County Council's interest in developing a partnership with the Bo area could be very valuable and is in tune with the aims and activities of the community link. The contribution that Hussinatu Yumkella (known to her friends as Hussine) has made to explore that potential and the organisation of the visit is greatly appreciated. John Myers was asked to write to Hussine to express our appreciation and to confirm our desire to work closely with the County.
Mota Singh visited Bo Hospital and observed that they are still in great need. As he is now a non-executive director of the Warwick Hospital Trust and has already had discussions with the Chief Executive, he will pursue possible areas of cooperation between the 2 hospitals with his fellow trust members. The hospital has just agreed to donate surplus books to Bo Hospital, so that is a start.
Visit of Mayor Dr Wusu Sannoh
Wusu Sannoh hopes to take up Mota's invitation to visit Leamington after his attendance at the Local Government Conference in Aberdeen , arriving about 18 th March. It was felt that it would be suitable to have Dr Wusu as guest of honour at our planned public meeting.
Community Centre - see Notes with pictures aboveNext Committee Meeting: Monday 14 th March 8 p.m. 18 Lillington Road , Leamington Spa
Dates for your Diary
Saturday 5 th March , 12.15 p.m. St Paul 's Church, Leicester Street , Leamington Spa UN Association AGM “A North-South Link 23 years on” Mayor Cll Mota Singh, Cll Bill Evans, John Myers will be talking about the Link Ploughman's Lunch and Coffee £3.50
Thursday 24 th March, 7 p.m. Pump Rooms Annex Leamington Spa OWL Public Meeting “Old Friends – New Horizons” Report back by the party that went to Bo together with special guest The Mayor of Bo Town Dr Wusu Sannoh
Thursday 14 th April Global Week of Action meeting “Justice, Conflict and Peace Building from a Sierra Leone perspective” Mr Alithur Freeman MA Venue to be confirmed – please phone 425403 for details
Saturday / Sunday 18 th / 19 th June Leamington Peace Festival Pump Room Gardens
Vist of Bo Town Mayor, Dr Wusu Sannoh
Dr Wusu Sannoh, Mayor of Bo, elected in the first local elections in Sierra Leone for 30 years, will be visiting the area as the guest of the Mayor of Leamington Cllr Mota Singh. They will resume their fraternal friendship that started with Mayor Singh's visit to Bo in January. Mayor Sannoh will be here from the 18th to 24 March . On the 19th March he will be a special guest at Mayor Singh's Civic Evening in Leamington Town Hall . On 24th March 7 pm in the Pump Rooms Annex he will be a special guest at a public meeting organised by One World Link which will report on the visit to Bo in January.
In between he expects to be busy with visits to the District and County Councils to continue to the process of making partnerships at all levels of local government. He will also expects to get around about meeting community organisations and local people.
While in the UK , Dr Sannoh will be in Aberdeen at the Commonwealth Local Government Forum International Conference, which will have Presidents and Mayors and leaders of local government present. Jane Knight and Hussinatu Yumkella will be joining them as well.
Dr Sannoh is a person of very good standing in his own community. He has been the Chairman of the Sierra Leone Red Cross in Bo, and he is the Chairman of Bo Koloseum sport for youth project supporting his long-term friend Moussa Conteh MP.
One World Link Youth Exchange
On his visit to Bo, Cll. Bill Evans met with representatives of the Bo Youth Council. Two people have been selected to represent them on a visit to Leamington (Leamington Town Council have given £1000 towards this) and the wider district. This is planned to take place in April for 2 to 3 weeks. Their programme is still developing, so ideas and suggestions are welcome.
They are: George F Mbayo . Age 30. Lab technician at Bo Government Hospital; a Baptist, and Jane Myambe . Age 31 Teacher at SLMB Secondary School , Nikibu Section, Bo; a Methodist.
Aims: to promote awareness of global issues and encourage global citizenship through the linking of youth groups in Warwick District and Bo , Sierra Leone .
Visit from Bo –Two people have been identified to come from Bo. We hope that they will be able to visit for the first three weeks in April We hope that the visit will provide them with a taste of life for young people in Warwick District and provide opportunities for them to take part in a range of activities including:
We also hope to support them to film a video diary of their visit in order to show young people in Bo and to encourage a similar video to be made in Bo and sent to youth groups here.
Report on Computers
Magnus Lansana , who is our contact in Bo on I.T. matters, has reported that Action Aid has given many schools in Bo Town 16 computers each! That doesn't mean, he says, that the schools are not using the computers we supplied. Although they have low memory and slow processors (e.g. 486), schools like CLC, Methodist High School , Milton Comprehensive Sec. School , UMC Primary School , Craft Shares and Rural Women Vocational are still using these. In some cases they have hard disk problems and some have been upgraded, as have the computers we supplied to Bo Town Council.
In future, if we are in a position to supply computers, we will have to supply at least Pentium processors. However, they are looking for spare parts such as Hard Disks of 1G and above, CD Roms, CD writers, socket 7 processors 200MHz, memories, power supplies, modem and also installation software such as modem drivers, Windows 98, 2000, XP, Office 97, 2000, XP and the most recent anti-virus disks.
Lee Hales , who advises the committee on I.T. matters, has recommended that we should re-focus our efforts on components that would be useful. Now they have the hardware we can look at providing things to go with this. But there is always the problem of getting packages out there!
Emails Progress! It is worth reporting that a number of our contacts are now accessible by email, although it is expensive for them to use it. We have addresses for a number of contacts, so if you have a requirement to get an important message to Bo for any reason, please contact the OWL Secretary, John Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will try to assist.
Leamington Library One World Link Shelf
Tracey Baker, the Stock Librarian at Leamington Library, has reported that the books in the One World Collection are “ticking along quite nicely” - which is good news. Titles include: Devil that danced on Water, Old Watering Holes, Unscathed, Blood Diamonds, Things fall Apart, African issues: Fighting for the rainforest and Fighting for the rainforest, No nonsense guide to international development, Sierra Leone diamonds, Sierra Leone at the end of the Twentieth Century, World Atlas of Sustainable development, Cooking the West African Way, Flavour of West Africa, Fishing in rivers of Sierra Leone, How de Body, Orphan girl. Do access these and encourage others to do so. If you don't know where to find them, ask at the desk for the One World Link shelf.
WRITE TO SOMEONE IN BO
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Send donations and subscriptions to:OWL Treasurer John McFarlane, 87 Larch Walk, Yardley, Birmingham , B25 9QP
OWL Public Meeting
Thursday 24 th March, 7 p.m.
Pump Rooms Annex
“Old Friends – New Horizons”
Report back by the party that went to Bo
The Mayor of Bo Town
Dr Wusu Sannoh
How to send letters and materials to Bo
This is a monthly
service: please ensure that materials reach the OWL POSTBOX
Newsletter produced for OWL by Brian Austin,31 The Greswoldes, Radford Semele, Leamington SpaCV31 1TP
We are still looking for a volunteer to produce future editions of this Newsletter! Can you help? Please contact me.