British citizen to become Member of Parliament
John Sabom Gbla (in photo), Sierra Leonean born, British citizen, will be the latest to join the All People’s Congress Party (APC) in parliament if he emerges as victor in the bye-election of Constituency 62 Tonkolili District slated for June 29th.
John Sabom Gbla born September 27, 1964 at Rochen Kamadaooh, Tonkolili attended Saint Francis Secondary School, Makeni from 1986 to 1982.
In 1994 he founded the Community Initiative Programme (CIP-SL). During the same year, CIP-SL opened its office in Freetown, Sierra Leone with the initial goal of engaging in agricultural activities, health and sanitation, advocacy and child welfare promotion in their locality. In 2002, the organisation was restructured and registered as a community based organisation with the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone. CIP-SL is also registered with Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs. As a result of expansion in its membership, target beneficiaries and operational areas, CIP-SL broadened its mandate and in 2005 the organisation was registered as a charity in England and Wales, hence it became known as CIP-UK and Coventry as its head office. CIP-UK is the primary fundraiser for CIP-SL and the funds are utilized in Sierra Leone to deliver projects focusing on the following areas:
- EDUCATION: Reconstruction and Rehabilitation, construction of schools and provision of furniture, learning and teaching materials to schools.
- FOOD SECURITY AND LIVELIHOOD: Agricultural inputs (seeds, tools) support to rural farmers for food production.
- HEALTH AND SANITATION: Provision of furniture and medical equipment to health centres.
- HIV/AIDS PREVENTION: Awareness raising campaign in rural communities and schools.
CIP Achievements in Sierra Leone from 2004 to date:
- CIP-SL provided seed rice to 1,000 returnee farmers as food production packages in Yoni Chiefdom.
- Constructed one grain store at Rochen Kamandaoh Junction for seed preservation for the supported farmers.
- Trained 500 farmers on HIV/AIDS prevention and stigma reduction and control of common diseases such as malaria, cholera, dysentery, etc.
- Provided furniture such as beds, tables, chairs, benches, bicycles, first aid kits and mosquito nets for Rochen Kamandaoh Health Centre.
- Supported ten primary schools with football kits, school uniforms, and footwear for 400 vulnerable children.
- CIP-SL supported 100 war-affected women farmers with goats for re-stocking to support their children’s education.
- Provided vegetable seeds to 100 women farmers for vegetable production and marketing.
- CIP-SL provided agricultural loans to four women associations in four communities in Yoni chiefdom for food production and marketing.
- CIP-SL triggered 100 communities and trained 60 natural leaders in Yoni Chiefdom for community-lead total sanitation activities and health promotion.
- Distributed 20 bicycles to 20 natural leaders for health promotion activities in 100 communities in Yoni chiefdom.
- CIP-UK continues to support the local community in Bo, Sierra Leone through its local partners, in their drive to manage and run affairs at the Tony Blair International Academy.
- CIP-UK has supported them with used IT equipment, office furniture and other school equipment.
- CIP-UK has also distributed used football kits, musical instruments and lab equipments to several schools in the Southern region of Bo (including TBIA)
Personal Contributions to the Development of Education in Sierra Leone
In 2008, John invested in Education in Sierra Leone by establishing The Tony Blair International Academy school project in Bo. The school now has a nursery, primary, junior secondary and senior secondary schools. The school now has 850 children and employs 42 staff.
Contribution to improving the health of the people of Yoni Chiefdom
- Working with UNICEF to assess the availability of proper toilet facilities, safe drinking water and hand-washing facilities in ten selected primary schools in Yoni Chiefdom.
- UNICEF made funds available through CIP-SL for the construction and provision of proper toilet facilities, safe drinking water and hand-washing facilities in ten selected primary schools in Yoni Chiefdom.
- Distributed drugs, medical equipment to several health centres as well as equipment for disabled individuals in Yoni chiefdom.
Provision of full scholarships to 55 Men and women to study at colleges and universities in Sierra Leone
- The aim of this scholarship scheme is to encourage young men and women from the constituency to achieve qualifications and in-turn contribute to the development of the country as a whole.
Conflict resolution after symbol allocation primary elections
- The aftermath of the primary election saw high tension disputes in several towns and villages in constituency 60, 61, and 62.
- This sparked bad feelings among APC supporters, with some even threatening to leave the party altogether or support independent candidates. To resolve some of these issues, John led a team of men and women including ‘ALLIANCE’ group from Mile 91, provided the vehicles and other logistics.
- They travelled to key villages, holding meetings and apologising on behalf of the president for the actions of some APC members. As a result they were able to win back the hearts and minds of supporters which was manifested in the results for Yoni Chiefdom.
Campaign and other Pre-election activities
- Provided eight vehicles and five motorbikes including fuel throughout the campaign.
- Provided a musical set and public address system that was used in the campaign.
- Was responsible for providing food, drink and other refreshment on a daily basis for up-to 42 supporters that made up my campaign team.
- John bought 500 party colour T-shirts which he distributed to villages across the constituency.
Activities on polling day (November 17th)
- John provided eight vehicles and five motorbikes including fuel which were used to move voters from every village to and from polling centres.
- Provided payments to drivers and other key officials.
- Provided rice, water and other logistics to every polling station in constituency 62.
Current on-going projects
The people in Yoni Chiefdom as a whole have difficulty in accessing reliable supply of portable water. John has seen the urgent need in joining H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s APC government in triggering the process of addressing the issue of access to portable water. He has constructed ten protected water wells in Yoni Chiefdom and a pure water factory in Mile 91. This has drastically reduced the price of all pure water supplied to the chiefdom and it surroundings from Le: 5,000.00 to Le: 2,500.00 per bundle; and shall also drastically reduce the effects of water related diseases in the environs.
By Dennis Jones
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