Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 February 2021:
Last Monday, the Mayor of Freetown – Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, hosted a sanitation symposium which was attended by over 50 participants in person and via zoom, representing central government, international development partners, donors, private sector organisations, FCC sanitation department and the FCC sanitation committee.
The symposium was organized by the Freetown City Council (FCC) to provide a platform for FCC and its partners that have been supporting FCC’s sanitation efforts to discuss progress achieved so far, and the challenges it faces in achieving the Transform Freetown target: to ensure that 60% of Freetown’s solid and liquid waste is safely collected, managed and disposed of by 2022.
Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr thanked partners for believing in the vision to transform the state of sanitation in Freetown and for investing in FCC’s integrated waste management value chain, which seeks to change behaviour, increase collection, improve disposal options and introduce recycling solutions.
Presentations were delivered by several partners, including the EU, World Bank, IOM and Concern, on successes of FCC interventions. These include:
1. Sustainable waste management through micro-enterprises, through which 800 young people have started waste collection businesses that now service over 32,000 households
2. Improved sanitation engagement and enforcement with 210 defaulters arrested in 2020
3. The daily sweeping of 68 major streets and 42 markets
4. The launch of the 8244 sanitation complaints hotline
5. Improvement in waste infrastructure, including the construction of waste sorting areas, incinerators and access roads increase waste collection in hard-to-reach areas.
The symposium concluded with participants making recommendations and proposing new innovations which will enhance LCC’s existing sanitation plans to continuously improve cleanliness and environmental safety of Freetown.
In another development, it was announced early this week that Freetown is to co-host CityLab 2021 with San Francisco, Bogota and Helsinki. Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute CityLab Global Cities Summit will be held virtually from March 1-3, 2021.
“CityLab 2021 will be co-hosted by four cities from four continents and we are pleased to announce that Freetown will co-host for Africa! The other host cities and their mayors are: Mayor London Breed of San Francisco, U.S.A; Mayor Claudia Lopez Hernandez of Bogota, Colombia; and Mayor Jan Vapaavuori of Helsinki, Finland. These city leaders each have a compelling story to tell about the way they met the moment in 2020 and continue to drive innovative solutions into the next year.
“We are thrilled to have this platform to share Freetown with a global audience and excited about the opportunities for collaboration and partnerships that will come from this experience,” says the Bloomberg statement.
It’s almost impossible to find befitting words to describe Mayor Aki-Sawyer. Her effort to transform Freetown to a modern city cannot be juxtaposed with anything in recent memory. Her predecessors were the run-of-the -mill type – no initiative, no original thinking. Their mission reflected what has become the norm in the political scene: convert everything into personal use and increase your material wellbeing. For the first time we have a Mayor of Freetown who carries the respect and recognition of the international community who are willing to participate in the advancement of the city. People like Yvonne Aki-Sawyer are a rare breed and only likely to appear once in a life time.
Those of us that are around must savour the moment, line up behind the Mayor, and give her our unmitigated support. This should include the government of President Bio which should take a break from disappearing billions of Leones from government departments for the purpose. It would be a monumental loss to the country if upon leaving office Mayor Aki-Sawyer is allowed to sink into the shadows rather than being given a key national office for us to continue to benefit from her talents and executive experience.
Boy oh boy! Those dummies with potbellies and their Criminal SLPP Cabal are in for a rude awakening; Madam Sawyer has already started raising the bar so high that all those ‘Michelin men’ resembling huge truck tires who have become morbidly obese since they took over power will never be able to jump over it.(lol)She has taken sanitation to whole new level. Oh well, if you are an incompetent SLPP caterpillar anxious to be transformed into a majestic butterfly, this is how it is done – ingenuity and handwork always guarantee sustainable success not attitudes grounded in mediocrity, unconcern and impassiveness. Psst!You there – What have you achieved thus far through your vigorous and callous implementation of tribalism, nepotism and witch-hunts?
Armchair Professors get your notepads out and let Mayor Sawyer show you how progressive governance is done and perhaps you caterpillars that crawl tirelessly in frightening inadequacies will finally be able to learn a thing or two about transformational, servant leadership that raises a struggling nation like a phoenix out of the ashes of abject poverty and despair towards the unreachable heights of success.(lol)