FROM THE COMMITTEE
from the minutes of the committee
meeting held on 24th July 2003
Janet reported that offers keep on coming in e.g. a massive amount of
text books from Kingsley School. Computers will not be accepted now unless
they are very good ones. New storage or space to store a container still
The One Night in Bo Concert was a great success as an entertainment, as
an awareness raising and as a fund raising event (over £1,000).
Much appreciation to Bruce expressed.
The Library Launch event went well. Karen cannot continue her role but
will be a member
We have been invited to run a stall at Student Volunteer Fair at Warwick
University in October
In the previous Newsletter (June 2003) we reported on Lee Hales visit
to Bo. Lee has now produced a very comprehensive REPORT on the whole operation
and the result of his visit and his activities there. Copies are available
on request from John Myers - Tel. 01926 425403, email
Travel, shipping and phone were major items of expenditure. Income was
boosted by donations of £1800. Subscriptions are steady: £750
between Dec and Feb.
Jane reported that the fund raising group had just met. With regard to
the community centre the leaflet is still being finalised due to technical
problems. It will then be distributed to members and others on our mailing
list. The group is also considering a neighbourhood door-to-door coverage
as a pilot.
John McFarlane has prepared a letter for all existing members and newsletter
recipients to consolidate and develop existing income from subscriptions
and donations. It has not yet been possible to identify a dedicated fund-raiser,
or membership secretary and it was suggested that the CVS could be approached
to ask if they have any potential volunteers. Ability to use MS Access
would be an advantage for a membership secretary. Ideally we should be
able to forecast a budget income from fundraising.
John Myers reported on correspondence with Ian Smith, Nuffield, and SW
NHS Hospital Trust. Marion Grimwood says that she will have another attempt
to follow this up now that the Hospital is on a more even keel with new
Brian Austin reported that the group still meets regularly and is planning
to develop some tailor-made material for primary lessons. We continue
to have contact with schools, but progress is still slower than we had
hoped. Jane Knight recommended Jean Conteh as a person to contact for
educational books and showed members copies of a new Macmillan-Africa
series for which Jean is the editor.
John Myers has circulated a letter to David Ngombu which outlines some
of the contacts that have been made. The community group needs to meet
and ideally recruit another person at least. Funds are being raised for
the Kayoma Group, and Janet Alty has convened the local support group
and written to Teresa Bangali to develop more dialogue
Myf' Hodkin swam her 80 lengths and hopes to have raised in the region
of £1000. Half of this is destined for Kayoma. John McFarlane has
created a separate account for funds raised specifically for Kayoma.
WORLD LINK LIBRARY SHELF
I am pleased
to say that our library shelf is finally up and running in the Leamington
Library! (In fact, most of the books are already off the shelf! - out
on loan) Thank you to everybody who came to our launch on the 4th July
and to everyone who was involved in putting it all together! It was a
huge success and we had a great turn out!
I would like
to also say a special thank you to John Myers for all the work he has
put into this project and for donating a book for the shelf, to Jane Knight
for her support and advice, to Brenda Leyton for her help with the launch
and to John Fisher for donating a book
We look forward to its continued success!
POLICE IN SIERRA LEONE
Warwickshire Police Officer Keith Hudson, who is doing
a stint in Sierra Leone, writes:
I have been redeployed from Kissy to Bo. I will not
bore you with the details but they needed a Civpol to go to Bo very quickly
and I jumped at the chance. I have been there for 2 weeks now and its
good. We have been very busy due to the President, vice president and
cabinet ministers attending a 4 day cabinet meeting at Bo Town Hall 6th
- 9th Aug. I will contact you when I am back in the UK to meet. I would
now like to find out a few more links from the area to Bo for example
the schools in contact with each other, any library contacts, etc etc.
Up to now I have been unable to contact anyone involved in OWL but certainly
will when I return to Bo. Back in the UK 15th Aug and leave again 28th
Women's Support Group
Bangali left Leamington after her visit in 2000 she was determined
to form a women's self help group in Bo. She felt very sure that women
could and should play a real part in the programme to "reconstruct
civil society" in Sierra Leone. Being a woman of great zeal and energy,
the Kayoma Women's Development Association soon came into being
with a Project Proposal for Income Generation covering food preparation,
gara dyeing and small-scale farming.
We have now
formed a Kayoma Women's Support Group here in Warwick District,
and we meet to discuss what we can do at this end to work with Teresa
at that end. When Myf did her amazing "80 Lengths for 80 Years"
half of the sponsorship money will come to the Kayoma Group. There have
been other donations as well, so there is now a marked fund in our OWL
accounts for Kayoma Women. This will be spent on purchasing items that
are cheaper here and worth the cost of shipping and some will be saved
to bring another visitor from Bo to visit with Women's Groups here.
meeting is on Tuesday 16 September at 7:00p.m. at 18 Lillington Road,
Leamington (01926 427773 -email)
so do please plan to come along - but if you miss that meeting, please
let Janet Alty know so that you can be kept in touch.
DISTRICT ONE WORLD LINK
Report to AGM - 20 September 2003
is intended to be a brief overview of an eventful year. Many of the activities
to which it relates have been the subject of some most interesting more
detailed reports. At the outset, however, I would like to make a plea.
The work of Warwick District One World Link is being carried by a desperately
small group of busy people. Over this past year we have not managed to
recruit any new committee members and indeed our overall membership is
growing only slowly the course of this year a number of other contacts
have borne fruit. Castle Sixth Form Centre (Kenilworth), plus Brookhurst,
Ferncumbe (Hatton Green), St Anthony's, St Mary's, St Patrick's and St
Peter's Primary Schools have actively communicated with partner schools
in Bo. All schools continue to receive our newsletter. The sub-group has
started preparing classroom lessons for teacher use, and also has a link
with a teacher from UK who has started a school in Sierra Leone. The group
would also like to hear from teachers interested in going to Bo for linking/curriculum
I mentioned in last year's report that we were hoping to get some shelf
space in Leamington public library. After much hard work by a team led
by Karen Marshall and with strong support from the library staff, we now
have a One World Link shelf in the library, launched at an impressive
"African Adventure" evening on 4th July.
We have a
women's group which is supporting Teresa Bangali's;
We are particularly looking for a Membership Secretary, a Fund Raising
Worker, a Promotion and Awareness Assistant. Please, as you read this
consider if there is any way you can help.
improvement in the situation in Sierra Leone has made communication with
our Bo partners easier, one very obvious sign of this being that John
Myers, Bruce Knight and Lee Hales have each undertaken productive visits
to Bo. They all enjoyed tremendous hospitality from our friends in Bo,
for which they were very grateful. Unfortunately we have not been successful
in arranging for any of our Bo OWL friends to visit us this year - an
issue which the committee is trying to address.
went to Bo in November 2002. John did a lot to reinforce the links with
Bo OWL. He was able to take part in the ground breaking ceremony for the
new community centre, while at the same time ensuring that our fundraising
efforts for the centre matched the needs in Bo. John produced a comprehensive
report on his visit.
Bruce Knight visited Bo over Christmas; his specific purpose was to learn
songs in Mende and other indigenous languages and to teach English songs.
He had what appears to have been a mutually successful and enriching time,
and has done a lot to broaden and strengthen the link at either end. A
particular highlight for us was the Songlines concert, which Bruce presented
to a packed audience at St Mary's Church, Leamington in July.
raised from the Songlines concert has helped us in our fundraising for
the Bo Owl community centre, which is now focussed on the "Buy-a-Brick"
campaign. The building has now reached ground floor wall height, but we
do need to keep on raising money.
Last year I reported that Janet Alty and a team of volunteers was working
towards filling a container with goods for Bo. In December we sent a container
full of donated goods including 90 computers, some of which were provided
by Warwick District Council to fulfil a commitment to Bo Town Council.
The container and its goods got to Bo intact. The goods have been distributed
and the container is being used for storage.
is a Warwick University student who helped prepare the computers before
they were sent. As a follow-up Lee went to Bo over the Easter vacation.
His visit was of enormous value in ensuring that the equipment we had
sent was effectively installed and that key people were trained and inducted
to use the computers. Lee also made sure that within Bo OWL some volunteers
were prepared and equipped to maintain the installations. In a very short
time Lee laid the basis for future IT training and development among our
partners in Bo Owl, Bo Town Council and a number of schools. It was also
an amazing experience for Lee himself. His detailed report is well worth
Our Schools Sub-group has worked hard to rebuild schools linking. Last
year we had just had a visit from Father Peter Konteh from Bo, who had
spoken to a number of local Roman Catholic schools. During Kayoma Women's
Group in Bo. The group raised £700 for Kayoma largely thanks to
an 80 length sponsored swim by Myf Hodkin to celebrate her 80th birthday!
The women's group at Bath Place Community Venture has a continuing interest
in Teresa's work.
Although we do not necessarily hear about them, we continue to work to
engage the interest of organisations such as Leamington Rotary, which
is interested in its counterpart in Bo. We also have links with the African
Caribbean Project, Warwickshire Association of Youth Clubs, the South
Warwickshire Volunteer Forum, the Council of Disabled People, and Basic
Needs, to explore how they might become involved. We have also taken part
within Action 21 in the setting up of a local2global group. The Nuffield
Hospital Physiotherapy Department has donated the stock of its discontinued
walking aid loan scheme - equipment which may be of real benefit to people
in Bo. We are making approaches to the South Warwickshire Hospital NHS
Trust to consider resuming their link with Bo Hospital.
Despite many frustrations, it is still one of our priorities to develop
civic links between our own local councils and those in Bo. We would like
to build on the visit by the Deputy Town Clerk of Bo two years ago. There
are some signs of hope that we may be able to progress our plans quite
soon. One very positive sign is that there are now three active committee
members who are district councillors: the link also features in the council's
Warwick District OWL acts as an umbrella to the Bo Koloseum Project, which
was set up in the Milton Keynes area to support Moussa Conteh's youth
rehabilitation project in Bo. Although Moussa's project continues to flourish,
his funding needs have changed and there is now very little active fundraising
going on for it.
We are beginning to develop useful relationships with some other groups
who have community links with Bo - notably Olney (Bucks), Hastings (Sussex)
and Youlgreave (Derbys). Unfortunately we have not been able to make regular
contact with Hull, which has an important link with Freetown.
We are affiliated to the United Kingdom One World Linking Association
and this year two of our members have served on the UKOWLA Council. In
many ways this is quite an exciting time for UKOWLA. A fairly high-powered
conference held in Windsor last year led to the formation of a new group
called Building Understanding through International Linking & Development
(BUILD), for which UKOWLA is the main co-ordinating body. One outcome
of this is a new All Part Parliamentary Group on Linking. UKOWLA is also
working with others towards a further international conference (like Leamington
2001), probably in Africa.
Although some people have been mentioned by name in this report, there
are a number of others both here and in Bo who have worked very hard on
behalf of OWL. I would like to thank you all for your contributions. Bill
As a result
of Lee's report (see above) we will for the foreseeable future be collecting
software (e.g. the kind that comes
from computer magazines) and appropriate dot
matrix printers rather than more computers. Computers need
to be top of the range (Pentium 2 or better).
we have also just taken in a huge load of school text books from Kingsley
School who have been having a clear out, which will have to be boxed up
in the near future. for which we need 12-bottle
size wine boxes.
all else, what we really, really need is SPACE
where we can offload and leave a 20ft container
to fill it over the next months for shipping when full! Any offers?
of help to Janet Alty
Judd, The Rt Hon the Lord Judd of Portsea,. will address us on September
20th about the issues of how ordinary people in local communities
can combine across the world to make a difference to the poverty,
strife and injustice pervading north-south relationships. What is
it that they do or can do about it when so much is dictated by world
trade rules, corporate imperialism, power politics, and corruption?
Are there ways in which they could make things worse? This will
be related to the small impoverished West African Country of Sierra
Leone, created by colonialisation, beset by internal rivalries,
unable through size and lack of development to hold its own economically.
How can it proceed from peace-making to prosperity? Can it make
the exploitation of off-shore oil work for its people? How can its
people start to believe in themselves and deal with those who resort
to malpractice or mayhem? Is West African Union feasible? This matters
to us because Warwick District has a 22 year old friendship link
with the District of Bo in Sierra Leone. We want that friendship
to honour its meaning and go forward with a good sense of direction.
22 years ago, Frank addressed a packed audience in Leamington Town
Hall at our inaugural meeting. It will be a delight to welcome him
back now that we "have come of age". His knowledge of
the 'majority world' will be enlightening.
send our best wishes to Hastings, Sussex on the launch on October
9th of their Sierra Leone Friendship Link between themselves and
Hastings in Sierra Leone!
we urge you to have your own friendship link with someone in Bo
- contact Brian Austin on 428635 or email
A BRICK CAMPAIGN
you bought your brick for the Bo Community Project yet?
Send your £10 donation to The OWL Secretary,
44 St. Mary's Road, Leamington Spa CV311JP
you thought of leafleting your family, friends, place of work
or your street to give them the chance to have a physical involvement
with the Bo Centre?
Attractive leaflets are available from Jane Knight:
2, Gaveston Road, Leamington Spa, CV32 6EU. Tel: 01926 311807
or email email@example.com
How to send letters
and materials to Bo
Put your letter or
package into another envelope or wrapping and send it to
c/o 31 The Greswoldes
This is a monthly service:
please ensure that materials reach the
OWL POSTBOX by the last day of the month
· There is a return name and address on your letter or packet
· Letters and packets are unsealed (British Council security requirement)
· No cash or 'things' are enclosed
Your letter or packet will then be forwarded to the British Council in
Freetown that has facilities for delivering to Bo Town.
They will be taken to One World Link in Bo and distributed
by them. (You may be asked to pay for the cost of sending bulkier
Further information and/or advice can be obtained from
OWL POSTBOX: Tel: 428635 or e-mail
A leaflet about penfriendships is also available - please ask for one.