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In Sierra Leone, ABC Secretariat targets schools and Ataya Base

In Sierra Leone, ABC Secretariat targets schools and Ataya Base

As part of its month-long post-election outreach campaign, the Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat on Tuesday 8th January 2013 visited three (3) secondary schools and one popular Ataya Base joint in the Kenema City.  (Photo: The Programme Manager and Eastern Region Coordinator with some of the Ataya Base Members)

Staff of the ABC Secretariat did not only deliver educative lectures but held interactive sessions with pupils of the Methodist Secondary School, Ansarul Islamic Secondary School, Holy Rosary Secondary School, and members of the One Ward Ataya Base.

The messages of the Secretariat to the three schools revolved around civic rights and responsibilities, while the communication to the Ataya Base members centered on democracy, good governance and political tolerance.

Eastern Region Coordinator Arnold Kaima lecturing the students on good examples

During the school tours, Program Manager of the ABC Secretariat, Mr. Ishmael Cole, told the pupils that the secretariat was visiting to educate them on their rights and responsibilities as citizens of Sierra Leone.

He encouraged the pupils to effectively use their cognitive, affective and psycho-motor in all they do within and outside the schools.

Mr. Cole called on the pupils to prioritize their education as number one, as according to him, education is the only machinery that will take them to upward advancement.

“Your books are always crying and shouting come and read me; I love you,” he said, noting that the objective of the pupils should be to change the current status quo in the country.

The future of the country, he continued, lies in the hands of the young generation. He added that the development of Sierra Leone starts with the development of its human resource, whilst citing the youths as the country’s major human resource.

“Your relationship with one another and your little contribution in community work is all we need to transform this country,” he maintained.

He advised the pupils to isolate themselves from people that see bad attitude and behavior as ways of life.

To the teachers, Cole admonished them to serve as a paragon for good and excellent behavior, as he puts it: “Your attitude reflects on the pupils”.

He said the teachers must be mindful of the fact that they are representing a noble profession.

“Posterity will judge you by the way you handle your profession and the pupils,” he pointed out.

He informed them that the ABC secretariat frowns at all forms of professional misconduct and will not hesitate to name and shame anyone found wanton.

Eastern Region Coordinator of the ABC Secretariat, Mr. Arnold Kaima focused his presentation on citizenship. He advised the students to be proud citizens by learning the history of their country as a first step. He further encouraged them to always emulate good examples and kick against negative undertakings.

Programme Manager Ishmeal Cole lecturing the students on the rights and responsibilities of a citizen

“It is compulsory for you to love your neighbors and your country,” he said, reiterating that the pupils must always participate in community work and protect public properties.

Mr. Kaima cautioned the pupils to always respect the law, elders and leaders.

At the One Ward Ataya Base situated at Humonya Avenue in Kenema, the ABC staff held a two-hour interactive session with the Ataya Base members.

Ishmael Cole highlighted the fact that members of the Ataya Base comprised of people from various works of life. “This explains why people see the Ataya Base as Sierra Leone’s unofficial parliament,” he said, adding that the ABC Secretariat decided to include the Ataya Base in its outreach programs as a result of the aforementioned.

He called on the Ataya Base members to graduate from only discussing national issues at their various joints to following these issues to their logical conclusions. This, he said, will only happen if the members obey their civic responsibilities of paying taxes and obeying the laws.

He expressed elation that the general elections ended peaceful and noted that all Sierra Leoneans must congratulate themselves for that success. He called on all to accept the outcome of the elections and focus on moving Sierra Leone forward.

Arnold Kaima, in his statement, said the ABC Secretariat is aware of the important role the Ataya Base is playing in enhancing democracy in the country. He pointed out that the Secretariat also view the Ataya Base as integral partner in the fight against negative attitudes.

He called on all to be law abiding citizens for the development of the country.

Contributions were made by executive and ordinary members of the Ataya Base. Members from another Ataya Base known as the Bagdad Ataya Base were also in attendance.

Courtesy of ABC Communications Unit

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  • I’m sure the Atayabase have decided to change their behaviors through the massive sensitization done by the ABC and organizations in the country.But those in big offices too must change their attitudes by avoiding corruption.
    This is something that we should not encourage if we all want to see the development of our country. Let’s us try to know why people go to Atayabase properly and what is happening there.
    Samuel Ben Turay-Atayabase Consultant Sierra Leone.

    23rd June 2013
  • I am sorry but many of the children in schools that the ABC Secretariat travels around the country lecturing to obey the law and respect elders may not even have had breakfast on the day members of the secretariat visited these schools to deliver these messages.

    For the elders to be respected there have to be stability in the homes first and foremost because as a parent you should be able to provide for your children if they are to take you seriously and treat you with respect.

    If you cannot feed your children how can you afford to send your children to school for them to make a difference in theirs and your life as a parent? Any child going to school on a hungry stomach can hardly focus on anything they are being taught. On top of that they may become very disruptive and become vulnerable to joining gangs if they are boys and may end up end up going out with men sometimes twice their age in the case of the girls, thereby putting their lives in danger.
    The increase in teenage pregnancies is directly linked to girls who may end up being molested simply because someone is providing them with food and attention that they really can do without.
    For the teachers to be productive the recruitment and selection process should be rigorous and these teachers should be assessed regularly to see whether they are up to the required standard and if not they should be given the necessary assistance to attain such standards.
    But the fact remains that they should be paid a living wage and be paid on time rather that 12 months later. For as noble as a profession as teaching is it remains one of the most difficult professions anyone can embark on as their mission in life.
    Disruptive and normal students and even the brightest students taunt teachers and call them names and I was no exception. And this is one of the main reasons teachers should be well looked after.
    A teacher selling a pamphlet or conducting Saturday lessons may be doing so because the salary does not get paid for months. Surely they are human beings too and they have to feed themselves and their families.
    Rather than having a go at the teachers- most of who are only trying to make ends meet I strongly believe the government should ensure the teachers are provided for as they are carrying out one of the most important duties in society- preparing the leaders of the future.
    The guys sitting down all day at the Attaya bases and smoking joints (posts) all around the country are there because they have nothing else to do. Most are very young and able bodied individuals who would do any job as long as there is a guarantee of them getting paid at the end of the day.
    There are lots of things that the government that get these guys to do such as cleaning the streets, gutters and manual labour generally just to keep them occupied. Having too many idle young men and women in society with nothing to do day in day out is preparing a fertile recruiting ground for thieves, robbers, prostitutes you name it.
    Most of the women who are hanging around the clubs, street corners and the beach resorts do resort to this kind of activity because for many that is the only thing they can do for them to eat and with all the risk of violence and disease that comes with this kind of activity.
    When it comes to bad attitude and bad behaviour people will never change the way they do things unless the authorities make them do so- and this has to be enforced with punitive penalties if necessary.
    The prison officer that is letting a prisoner escape will never dream of letting that happen if consequences for losing a prisoner will be severe and far reaching. The government officials turning up late for work and not doing their jobs and hanging around bars at 11 am will continue doing so unless many are made to lose their jobs and all their benefits including pensions.
    So is the police and customs officer who takes bribes daily. None of these will change unless they are make to pay for such criminal behaviour.
    For Sierra Leone to develop as a decent society the government needs to change the fundamentals of society. And it is not a difficult task because the majority of the people are aware of this and really want this to happen.

    Abu Bakarr Bangura
    London, UK.

    14th January 2013

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