Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 June 2021:
The government of Sierra Leone will receive $6.85 million in additional financing to support the COVID-19 education response in the country, the World Bank announced yesterday.
Funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) under the Free Education Project, the financing will support activities to ensure school safety and strengthen education service delivery, including continuous distance education and accelerated learning.
The World Bank says that the funding will also support sustaining effective Government operations, planning, and policies during and after the COVID-19 crisis.
“As an alternate board member of the GPE Board, Sierra Leone continues to play a leading role in the Partnership to implement programs that promote accessible quality education for all,” said David Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education for Sierra Leone.
Admitting that there is growing inequalities in Sierra Leone, minister Sengeh also said: “In the COVID-19 era, we need to think outside the box to ensure that widening inequities do not further push our most vulnerable populations backward. That is the focus of this additional financing. Even as the Ebola Viral Disease has been recently recorded in the sub-region, we will be able to use the same interventions for continuous learning should the disease ever return to Sierra Leone”.
According to the World Bank statement, the financing, which was approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors on February 5th and became effective on May 26th, 2021, is aligned with the Government’s education priorities and strategies, including those outlined in the COVID-19 Education Emergency Response Plan and the World Bank’s Country Partnership Framework for Sierra Leone, specifically with its emphasis on the importance of investing in human development.
There is an implementation partnership arrangement with an NGO Consortium led by Save the Children, partnering with Handicap International (operating under the name Humanity and Inclusion), Plan International Sierra Leone, Concern Worldwide, Foundation for Rural and Urban Transformation, Focus 1000, and Street Child of Sierra Leone. This partnership will help the Government deliver activities rapidly, focusing more on community engagement, and reaching the most marginalized and deprived groups, the statement reads.
“This additional financing will help the Government to cover the costs associated with expanded activities relating to the COVID-19 response as well as enhancing the impact of the Free Education Project in responding to the challenges in the education sector,” said Gayle Martin, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone.
She also said that; “the funding will also help address commitment toward achieving a more inclusive approach to education, increasing the retention of girls and improving the learning environment for children with disabilities,” which is in line with declaration made last week at the G7 summit in the UK by the World’s richest nations.
“The Free Education Project is financed by a $66 million grant, with $50 million from the World Bank and $16 million from development partners.
“It will help to address key challenges in the education sector. It will contribute to achieving the Government’s larger strategic objectives in the sector while supporting analytical and advisory services associated with monitoring and evaluation, technical assistance, and research and studies,” the World Bank statement reads.
This additional funding by the IMF we are told is particularly geared towards improving the human capital development index in the country. So far so good. Every assistance in the post covid19, or if I will say as the World especially in Africa continues to grapple with this deadly virus, with less thsn 3% of the continent vaccinated, one can’t escape the feeling Dr Sengeh and the Bio government continued use of Covid19, Ebola or any deadly virus that have never been detected in our shores, as a bait to solicit more international financial assistance. Meanwhile, all the recent funding amounting to almost to billion dollars, since president Bio was sworn in back in 2918 has disappeared in a huge black hole due to corruption and lack of demand for transparency and accountability by the IMF. Where are the development projects? Apart from few tractors and a free education for all school going pupils, which has sceptics of its feasibility, then we know this government is just leading on our international lenders.
If we take the education sector, which is really were targets for human development starts, and despite Bio’s mantara of offering free quality education, how many of it really translate of making a real difference to the education children are receiving, and how primary and secondary school has been built or rehabilitated from the old to new. I went to see my old school, Kabala secondary School. The old buildings look likes something out a disaster zone. As for the socalled new ones, they are half complete. The perimeter fence which was not there before was for all intense and purpose half complete. They look better when I was there all those years ago than the present. The road from the Catholic mission that sits half a mile away on top of a hill that in the old days looked after the school, is full of pot holes and is not paved. The Roman Catholic Primary school which and its depilated buildings is old.Some of the walls that are caked in dust have never seen a paint brush.
The only way the IMF and other international financial institutions will genuinely help, is to set targets, monitor outcomes, audit the packages on dilivery of service to the peoples it is meant to help. And most importantly of all insist on transparency and accountability. With out which doling out of money to this government that have shown little in the way of dealing with the reality of every day life for ordinary Sierra-Leoneans is a betrayal of the very concept IMP International partnership working to improve the lives of ordinary people. And by rendering assistance without seeking proof of where this monies have been spent, is encouraging unbridled corruption. Which in itself defeat the purpose of why the IMF is always looking out for ordinary joe average. But we won’t see any step change, if the IMF only listened to Bio, not the real stake holders in all this, the people of Sierra Leone.
Gentlemen – There was once a Zoologist in Zanzibar that had some strong reservations about what Freedom and Responsibility truly meant to all living creatures upon the face of our majestic Green Earth. One day he decided to create a maze with only narrow entrances and no exits; It took him a day to accomplish the arduous task; ” What a thing of beauty” he whispered to himself when it was finally ready. Now I must move on very quickly to the next vital phase.” And that’s Stage 2. This critical stage involved catching some wild African Bush rats and putting them inside the maze; That also was done with the greatest of ease possible.
Now folks, the third phase is where the whole experiment begins: The Bush rats were shoved and forced inside the maze with very narrow entrances littered with food and then they were all closed with bars made of iron – now there were no longer any entrances or exits available as a way of escape for the angry, hungry, frantic and confused Bush rats. They were now captives,stuck inside a very big maze with nowhere to run. Then came phase four – the Zoologist kept on feeding them with juicy red meat and delicious boiled fish whilst still keeping tightly locked inside the maze; He did this daily for three years; Yup for three long years he kept on feeding them until the angry Bush rats became completely calm,contented with their daily sustenance and totally forgot that they were nothing but helpless prisoners locked inside a maze that was also built as a cage, totally subdued and at the mercy of the Zoologist. How sad, the heart that knows not the meaning of Freedom and Independence.
Folks, Bush rats were created to roam the wild and hunt for themselves not to be kept inside a Cage for the benefit and interest of someone else. The IMf and the World Bank are like the Zoologist that have found cunning ways to keep our gullible leaders dependent on them: The financial mazes they have designed only have entrances to bondage and no exists to liberty; And just like the unsuspecting African Bush rats once you are lured to enter – You are Toast! Somebody better wake the hell up now real fast and smell the Coffee. (lol)