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NEWS : Local News  

Sierra Leone News : As Social Welfare Ministry to open a brand new office in Kissi Bendu... Government to Empower Women where Ebola broke out!
By Jeneba V. Kabbah
Mar 14, 2017, 17:12
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The Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Hon. Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden has on Saturday 11th March 2017 announced in Koindu Town, Kailahun district that she will be opening a branch of her Ministry to serve the people of the remote part of Sierra Leone known as Kissi Bendu. It can be recalled that Ebola broke out in that remote Kissi region and many researchers have blamed the lack of social services monitoring as being culpable for Ebola to spread insidiously and quietly unnoticed between February 2014 and May 2014 before it was detected; after it had already spread and killed many. Hon. Blyden also announced that subsequent to arrangements to be put in place by the Paramount Chief and traditional authorities of Kissi Teng Chiefdom, the Government of President Koroma was not averse to the immediate re-opening of the once-famous Koindu International Market. 

 

To loud cheers of support from women gathered from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, she therefore announced that it has pleased the Government to lift the ban on Sunday Trading inside Koindu “but only for those who had wares to specifically sell at the Koindu International Market structure built by Government since 2009 but which market was yet to be used”.

 

Prior to the Ebola crisis effecting a Government ban on Sunday trading, the once prosperous Koindu Town had Sundays as their own day for international trading with other neighboring areas having Fridays and Saturdays as theirs. The continued retention of a blanket ban on trading in Koindu has thus rendered the entire town and Kissi Teng chiefdom at a serious disadvantage to extent of depressing socio economic growth. Women are the most affected by this inability to conduct their Sunday trading with international neighbours.

 

In a bid to enhance the potential of restoring Koindu International Market to its pre-war state, the Government through the Social Welfare minister has announced an immediate lifting of the ban on Sunday Trading in Koindu “for as long as all such trading occurred ONLY within the constructed building of the Koindu International Market”.


The announcement was done by Hon. Minister at an auspicious event in Koindu Town, Kissi Teng Chiefdom, Kailahun District, Eastern Region of Sierra Leone during her keynote address to mark post-dated celebrations of International Women’s Day.

 

Hon. Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden told the huge crowd that H.E. President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is committed to empowering women and fostering business activities for their rapid economic growth. She assured her audience of the full cooperation of the APC government to the further development of the Koindu International Market even beyond commencing Sunday trading therein.

 

Hon. Dr. Blyden also maintained that knowing the importance of potable clean water to be flowing at such a market site, upon receiving the message of water crisis within the entire acreage of the Koindu International Market and surrounding homes, she quickly informed the President and President Koroma told her that his plans for reactivating Koindu are so much that water crisis should not inhibit those plans.

 

“When you were cleaning the market area of all the forests around it, you told me about the problem you encountered in the modern constructed water-well not working. So, I conveyed that message to the President. Do you know what His Excellency told me? He said ‘Madam Minister you know the good things I have planned to do in Koindu, so will we as a government be tired of making sure the water system works?’ and then he ordered me that he was giving me just one week to repair the water problem and serve water to the proposed Market,” Blyden recounted.

 

 

“With the pressure from the President, the Water problem here at the international market site was solved within just four days; this shows the zeal President Koroma has for revitalizing Koindu and the entire Kissi area,” Minister Blyden said.

 

Minister Blyden assured the people of Koindu that President Koroma and his APC government are determined to make sure that Koindu takes back its former glory which had seen the customs post there being second only to Freetown ports in terms of revenue generation.

“Government will find the money to help you restore Koindu because when Koindu is restored, everyone makes money including even the government through customs duties. We will go all out to find the money just like we did this week to ensure clean water flows.

 

The APC led government is promising you that we will find the money and make sure that Koindu is sweet again,” the Minister said adding: “The APC believes that the only way that Koindu will be sweet again is to empower the women so the President has instructed me that I should make sure that I open an office for the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs right here in Koindu with a special focus for empowering our Women and protecting them and their children”.

 

 

“I have spoken with the Paramount chief on that and very soon, my ministry will surely have an office here with senior staff manning it. I will only send university graduates to head the new ministry branch office here because Koindu is a very important place in this country and so well educated staff will be sent here,” Hon. Blyden said to loud applause.


The event itself was graced by the Paramount Chief of Kissi Teng Chiefdom, the Honourable Member of Parliament of Constituency 003, Chiefdom Speaker, Women’s Leaders, Soweis, Traditional Sierra Leonean Rulers including female Paramount chiefs from the Eastern Region like the longest reigning traditional monarch in Sierra Leone PC Madam Theresa Vibbi iii of Kandu Leppiama Chiefdom, Kenema district. Also present were elected Local Councillors in Eastern Region. A delegation from SOS children international as well as girls from the Children Forum Network, a host of Non-Governmental Organizations. Dignitaries of Mano River Union (MRU) from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone including the Regional Women’s Leader of Makona River Union (MaRU) Madam Haja Zainab Tarawally were in attendance. Also gracing the event with a 6-man delegation from Women’s Forum, the umbrella body for all Women’s groups in Sierra Leone, was their president, Mrs. Maude Peacock. 

 

Those who attended both March 8 celebration of International Women’s Day at Newton in Western Rural District and the post-dated March 11 celebration of IWD in Koindu said, the Koindu celebration almost outnumbered the Newton one in numerical turn-out.

 

The Newton turn-out has already been billed as the most successful IWD in Sierra Leone history. 

 

From another historical perspective, it must be noted that Koindu International Market was considered the biggest trade-fair market in the sub-region for decades until early 1990s when the Market was closed due to the RUF rebel invasion in Sierra Leone. The reopening of the market will boost the economic empowerment of Women living in the border areas of the three countries. Such an achievement that empowers rural women is close to the heart of the President and his APC-led government.

 

© Awareness Times Newspaper


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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