Warwickshire teachers visit to Sierra Leone
Five teachers from primary schools in Leamington and Warwick flew to Sierra Leone as part of an exchange programme (British Council's ‘Connecting Classrooms’ which fosters global education and develops links with African schools and their pupils.
The teachers set off for a 10–day trip to Bo, Sierra Leone's second largest city, which has a population of more than 230,000 people. The city has strong ties with Leamington and Warwick through One World Link (OWL), a community friendship organisation set up 30 years ago to strengthen both communities and their awareness of global and development issues.
Local school pupils worked on their collaborative Foods and Farming projects, which the teachers will be continuing to implement alongside colleagues at their partner schools in Africa. A group of Bo teachers are due to make a return visit to Warwick in June.
The Day of the African Child
This year 500 children from Primary Schools in Warwick District attended Kingsway School for a taste of Africa with communal activities and workshops involving sport, stories, dance, drumming and songs.
For more information and lots of photographs, see our Education pages
OWL Community Building
OWL in Bo are proud to announce that the Community Building is complete. It is a joint venture between the groups in Bo and Warwick districts with guest rooms, function hall and computer training centre.
The One World Link between Warwick and Bo Districts has always been a friendship link which specifically avoided the inclusion of AID. This is still the case after more than 30 years. So how come that there is a great big community centre in Bo paid for mainly by Warwick District citizens? The answer is that one exchanges GIFTS with one's friends and that is what the centre is..a great big gift. This gift was given to make up for the destruction and agony of the 10 year civil war borne by Bo friends, and to alleviate the frustration and misery and fear felt by Warwick friends because there was so little they could contribute to suffering friends during that time (1990s).
Bo OWL said they needed a community centre to be a concrete symbol of the strong relationships which had built up between the 2 areas and it would be used to support skills training and community building to contribute to peace in the future. Watching the centre grow and become functional has brought equal satisfaction and excitement to both Warwick and Bo.
The computer literacy centre was equipped with donated laptops thanks to the efforts of VSO volunteer, Paul Fish. He reports that there is a steady flow of eager students from local secondary schools and from the local Njala University. Read more in Paul's blog.
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Newsblog - a news digest for Sierra Leone is launched
One World Link has launched 'Newsblog', an upgraded digest of news about Sierra Leone scoured from the African press. John Yates, the OWL volunteer who gathers all the news items, intends the digest to be a service for anyone with an interest in Sierra Leone.
John worked with web developer Richard Proffitt to create the new dedicated pages with abstracts and links to the original articles that cover everything from education to economics and sport to sustainability. See the Newsblog
What is Good Aid?
In the second of a series of occasional talks organised by OWL, we welcomed back as guest speaker Mark Poston of DIFD, accompanied this time by Professor Paul Jackson from Birmingham University. Their themes were wide ranging – What is Good Aid? Aspects of Decentralisation, and Post Conflict Development, including Chinese involvement in Africa.
OWL supports waste management in Bo
Bo City Council is at last able to make a start at providing a full waste management service.
Since the civil war, market traders, shops and businesses have gathered their rubbish in large heaps which the council removes with its two serviceable vehicles. They have been unable to use their landfill site because they did not have a digger to manage it. In the centre of Bo an enormous hill of rubbish accumulated over the years and needs to be removed (see the picture below). Families, meanwhile, dispose of their rubbish by either burying or burning it at home.
Bo Council, with technical support from OWL Local Authority Group, are now able to start solving the problem. UNDP are providing rubbish skips, skip lorries, a digger and other equipment to Bo and to another city, Makeni, for a pilot project. Bo's digger has started work and the remaining equipment is due later this year. Managers, operators and mechanics are receiving training from officers from Warwickshire County Council amongst others.
There is also a programme for community leaders so that they can drive a public campaign for the use of the new system. This support is funded by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum. Bo OWL will be members of the management committee, so the involvement of One World Link will continue as the service becomes established and the problems of waste are eased.
”Put kitchen dorti na green container”
Put your kitchen waste in the green bin – a message familiar to us all, but this time from Bo. This is one of the jingles being played on local radio to prepare people for the new waste disposal scheme that will start soon.
OWL Sponsors Fair Trade Forum
One World Link is sponsoring the public forum on Consumer action for fair trade – its history, place and future. It will be held at 7pm on Monday, 4th March, at The Dormer Conference Centre, Dormer Place, Leamington Spa, CV32 5AA and is part of the Royal Leamington Spa Fair Trade Fortnight Event. Read more ...
OWL Youth Group
Our Warwick district based youth group has a number of extremely successful events including..
Our recent youth exchange with Bo in Sierra Leone for young people in Warwick District to experience international development issues firsthand.
See more on the Groups page ...
The first digital map of Bo City; A 5–way collaboration
OWL's Local Authority group are now working with the Mayor of Bo, Wusu Sannoh, establish a planning system in the city, but first they need an up–to–date plan. John Archer, a planning specialist, visited Bo and soon found himself working with a group at Mercy Hospital who are developing the first digital maps of the city using technology provided by a fourth partner, the US Navy.
The data were then brought to the UK by Rashid Ansumana, Director of Research of the Mercy Hospital team, and the Warwickshire Observatory team demonstrated how the resulting digital maps can be used. They have produced an interactive map which you can download – try turning on and off different layers to reveal and hide details. Read John's report.
This story has a happy prequel; Rashid remembers fondly the OWL link between his primary school (St Francis, Bo) and a school in Warwick district. This must be the ultimate OWL feel–good story!
How to donate to OWL without paying!
Buy goods online and a percentage is donated to OWL – very simple.
Loads of Links
We have added lots of new links relating to Sierra Leone about diamonds, football, art, culture, tourism, schools and more. See the Contacts & Links page
Teaching about Development?
Looking for information about school links, educational resources and teaching materials? Visit our Education pages
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