at 12 noon on Saturday 16th October 2004


 16 members and 20 guests.

  Welcome by Chair Bill Evans welcomed everybody, and gave a special welcome to Teresa Bangali from Bo OWL, members of BODDA, Barbara Scrivener and colleague from the Youlgreave/Bangbutt link, Hussinatu Yumkella, Mota Singh Mayor of Leamington. He also welcomed Sheila Davey of Results and three young people interested in a youth link.

Ron and Liz Fennell. Rebecca Potts, Bruce Knight, Nick Maurice, James Plaskitt, Bob Crowther, Marion Myers, Marianne Pemagbi, Alison Bryan, John Francis.

Minutes of last annual meeting
These were accepted as a true record.    
  Matters Arising

No matters arising.


  Correspondence None


Annual Accounts
John McFarlane introduced the annual accounts which have been examined independently by John Francis.

He emphasised that all our income is from subscriptions, donations and fund raising by members. We have no corporate funding. The £3K transferred from the general fund to hospitality fund was to cover the proposed visit of 3 from Bo which has now happened. The Kayoma (women's group) Fund has grown considerably since the end of the financial year. Little movement  in the Koloseum Fund which we look after on behalf of Bo Koloseum sports project.  The Bo Development Fund is dedicated to funds for the Bo Community Centre building; overall £31K raised by April and more since. It is hoped that some of the outstanding loans of £2.5 may be reduced by conversion to donations.
Since April income has increased by at least £9K mainly for Kayoma and Development fund. Gift Aid refunds amounted to £1200.

Approval of Accounts was proposed by Janet Alty seconded by Maria Franchi and approved unanimously. John was thanked for his work.

Annual Report
Bill Evans circulated his written report. He said it should be read in conjunction with the review of the year which has already been published in the newsletter. Further copies obtainable from John Myers.

In looking back, he felt that it is amazing how much our level of activity has increased since 2001. The number of visits either by design or serendipity is evidence of that.  We have exceeded our fundraising target for the Community Centre and phase 1 is very near completion. We are not  essentially a fund raising organisation, and raising funds for phase 2 will be a challenge with which we do need help. We are optimistic of the beneficial impact of the community centre once its starts to function.

The visit by 3 people from Bo in the summer was a great boost to school and women's linking, Our visitors followed a very full programme.

In terms of Local Authority links, the recent elections in Bo have resulted in an invitation from the new Chair of Bo Town Council to the Mayor of Leamington.

We are very appreciative of the Leamington Town Councils offer of a grant of £1K to further youth linking and continuing commitment to the link, and of the continuing support of WDC and WCC.

Bill concluded by expressing thanks to the committee of the committed, to all who had assisted with the visit from Bo. He welcomed the fact that we have some new faces, but emphasised the need for more people to be involved for the many things we want to complete and initiate.  


  Election of Officers Bill Evans was re-elected as Chair, John McFarlane as Treasurer, and John Myers as Secretary. There were no nominations for Membership Secretary or Vice-Chair.


Election of Committee
The following were nominated and elected without a contest. Janet Alty, Brian Austin, Bob Crowther, Maria Franchi, Jane Knight, Lee Hales, Myf Hodkin, Sylvia Lee, Andy Smith.
Marion Grimwood did not stand due to personal commitments. A vote of thanks to Marion was passed. Marion is still willing to be involved on health matters


Other Business
Brian Austin reminded members of the postal arrangements via himself and the British Council in Freetown. He appealed for more pen-friends to volunteer, emphasising the underpinning importance of personal relationships to our linking activities and value.The formal business ended.

The meeting then received a presentation on linking by Sarah Davies, Headteacher at Ferncumbe Primary School. This was followed by a short entertainment by Bambadinka Drummers.

Following the entertainment, a meeting was held with the representatives present from BODDA and the OWL committee. This was not part of the Annual Meeting and a separate minute was kept.

Sarah Davies presentation - School Linking
Sarah gave a graphic and dynamic description of how the link developed between Kakua Primary School Bo and her own school and of its value.. This brief note will not do justice to her presentation which absorbed the attention of all who were present.

She had previously had experience of north-south educational links when teaching in Germany. When OWL circulated an invitation for local Warwick Districts schools to link with schools in Bo, she responded. One of the issues in linking is sustaining the link over time or through difficulty, the presence of a wider community link is very helpful in this respect.

She read out a moving poem written by 7 and 8 year old children from the school inspired by their experience of the link. This poem will be published more widely.
After Sarah responded. John Myers was asked to identify a semi-rural school for them to link with. He brought back letter from Kakua Primary. John and Bruce Knight then visited the school to show video and teach songs from Bo. When Maria visited Bo, Fernie Bear the school mascot went with her and sent back letters about his  experiences. Visits from people from Bo e.g. the Mayor of Bo have all made an impact. From these activities, various aspects of the curriculum have been influenced e.g. geography and citizenship. The school participated in the "biggest lesson in the world" which has now gone into the Guinness Book of records. The School Aims now include a global dimension, and understanding and participation in the link is extending to the local community. The visit by Joseph Bockarie a teacher at Kakua Primary has enabled more learning; and an appreciation of the difficulties in Bo - while Ferncumbe can borrow African drums here the children in KPS do not have that access! She says the link is now very alive for the children. The next step is to firm up teacher to teacher links.

Brian Austin described some of the activities of the OWL education sub-group in supporting schools and invited others to join in.