Day 6: We have Good People
Today’s visit was at the National Library Board, the UNESCO Office and a distribution center for the Government’s free quality learning and teaching materials.
I met a true leader, Mr Sallieu Turay who leads the Sierra Leone Library. An excellent and inspiring institution where young people are given opportunities to grow. Mr Turay said since he joined the library in 1996, only Hon Alpha Wurie had visited the library once. What has happened, particularly over the last decade is that we actively destroyed institutions. We have good people. We are good people. But we have had horrible leaders. Leaders who did not know the value of education and public institutions. These institutions of learning were systematically and intentionally destroyed by poor leadership for decades (our UNESCO dues were not paid for years for example and we were suspended). Thanks to my predecessor Hon Alpha Timbo who revived the Library, and was their number 1 champion I am inheriting a solid institution. Since the devolution, the National Library didn’t get support for its national functions (Freetown City Council (FCC) supports it for Western Area activities) until the Ministers of Finance and Education this year insisted for a line item in the 2020 budget. This isnt about political affiliation but rather we all have a moral responsibility for the education of our children.
Reasons to visit the Library:
– The Library has free wifi
– There are children’s programs that involve reading daily (they kinda babysit your kids)
– Open Mon-Sat
– Have hybrid online-offline reference system
– Have past exams, all recommended books for curriculum and more
– Right in the center of town
– Clean, clean, clean with amazing staff
I also visited the holding store from where schools get learning materials. I wanted to see the process myself. Under the leadership of FCC’s Rev Dr Cooper. The team worked deligently to ensure that everything was doubly checked. I engaged the school leaders about our responsibilities to ensure these materials are used. They were all jazzed.
Engagements like today is why we are here… to help leaders who are excellent be excellent and help guide poor ones out because #PaopaSaloneGoBetteh
Watch out for a new Program crafter today between myself and the Secretary to the Principal Librarian. She was head of Children’s Library before and I was inspired and motivated by her leadership. Cant wait to roll out the initiative in the new year.
Ps- our serious re-engagement with UNESCO only happened because of President Bio’s leadership and focus on education and our recent engagement with the Executive Director while in Paris.