Communities in Sierra Leone put climate change at the heart of learning

Alhassan Sesay: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 October 2018:

The Global Rise for Climate Day was celebrated in Sierra Leone on 8th September, 2018, with the coming together of seventy-two people from the Waterloo Rural District in attendance, as well as pupils from five schools and representatives of various institutions from surrounding communities.

The opening statement was delivered by the Programme Manager – Daniel Conteh, who presented an overview of climate change and global warming as a threat to human survival. He spoke about the causes of global warming, including the dependency on fossil fuels.

One of the solutions put forward in response to climate change and global warming is the development and utilization of renewable energy, which is cheaper and environmentally friendly.

The programme manager called on political commitment to make this happen. He encouraged local participation in of communities in promoting renewables for sustainable development.

A Member of Parliament (MP) – Victor Kallon, thanked the organizers for the event, expressed deep commitment to renewable energy. He promised to push policies that will lead to renewable energy as a solution to climate change.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sierra Leone Schools Green Club (SLSGC) – Rev James Davies, expressed concern about the dangers of climate change. He called on everyone to take positive steps in reversing climate change; and pointed out the various sources of renewable energy which can be used instead of fossil fuel.

The Local Councillor – Zainab Tejan Sie, spoke of deforestation and building of settlements that are creating problems in her locality and damaging to the ecosystem.

She promised to enforce laws against deforestation and pollution, and made commitment to give SLSGC the necessary support needed to enable the organisation achieve its goals.

She gave her fullest support to the use of renewable energy as a means of fighting climate change. She asked the organizers to go into the schools and communities with this message, so that everybody can learn from it and take the right actions and decisions locally and nationally.

The Headman of Jui – Mohammed Koroma, supported the use of renewable energy and promised to provide the necessary platform to make it happen in the community.

The Headman of Kossoh Town – Emreric Coker, promised that his community will very soon establish solar projects as a commitment to going renewable. He said that he will ban all vehicles that emit a lot of smoke in his community.

He asked for moral and financial support from government and non-governmental organizations to make this happen.

Reverend Simeon Josiah preached about the essence of preserving nature and the environment. He called for urgent action to reverse climate change. He supported renewable energy 100% as a solution to climate change and global warming.

The President of SLSGC – Alhassan Sesay, thanked the sponsors of the event and all stakeholders. “We can’t keep powering our lives with dirty energy. It’s time to repower our communities with clean, renewable energy from the sun, wind and water,” he said.

During the questions and answers session, several pertinent questions were asked:

  • What alternative livelihood can we offer those who depend on the forest?
  • How can we go renewable when the financial resources are not there?
  • Are we ready to pass laws against fossil fuels?

Various speakers said that: SLSGC plans to implement a project on the use of solar energy as an example so that the communities will see the advantages of renewables; SLSGC should partner with the Ministry of Education so that they can include renewable energy and climate change education in the curriculum for schools to benefit from it; SLSGC should reach out to the whole country on renewable energy and climate change; and they should also organize workshops and training.

Parachutes and art work were exhibited by students and community people on renewable energy. The closing remarks from the chairman of the event encouraged all present to carry the information they have got to every corner of their communities and to start taking the right decision for Sierra Leone going renewable.

He called on the Government to take this message very seriously and to prioritize it in their political agendas: Renewable energy for the future.

The following educational institutions took part in the event: Portee Vocational Institute, Jui Vocational Institute, Joy Secondary school, Kellys Secondary school, and Edest Secondary school.

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