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Sierra Leone News : UNOPS Trains 55 Engineers on Solar Panel Installation and Maintenance
By Emmanuel I. Kamara
Apr 20, 2017, 17:06
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The United Nations for Office Operation Services (UNOPS),  in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Power through the President’s Recovery Priorities Programmes (PRP) has on Tuesday 18th April 2017 commenced a 4-day training sessions for selected installation local companies at the Golden Tulip Hotel, former Kimbima Hotel in Aberdeen western part of Freetown.


Addressing journalists on the purpose of the training and it’s importance to the selected local companies, ASACO Managing Director, Ramzi AbuSaid stated that ASACO General Trading & Contracting has been in Solar businesses for the past 25 years and has been working for UN for fifteen years now across the world. AbuSaid added that they are in Sierra Leone to complete a project they signed with UNOPS as UNOPS is implementing a UK funded project to electrify 50 Community Health Centres (CHCs) across the country with 24hrs solar power. “UNOPS asked us to design a system that will be installed in 50 CHCs across the country. We are asked to trained local companies on with the hope that they will be able to maintain the project in the future. UNOPS has selected these companies and we will give them the required training to install and maintenance solar panels nationwide” He said.


Ramzi AbuSaid continued that the installation will be done by Sierra Leoneans and that is why they are given them the required training to meet that demand. The training is divided into two, Mechanical and Electrical aspects.


The theoretical aspect of the training runs from the 18th to the 20th April 2017 and will be followed by 14 days of on-the-job sessions (practical) in Patifu and Conakry Dee Communities, in Port Loko district. AbuSaid maintained that two installations on those sites will be done by facilitators and trainees in its entirety to get a practical knowledge of the job itself. ASACO, the supplier of the solar equipment, is providing the training facilitators and installation tools.


Participants of the training are selected from Barefoot Women Solar Engineers Association (BWSEA), Frontier Business Solutions (FBS) and APTECH Africa Limited. AbuSaid stated that training contents include, Photovoltaic (PV) system basics, types of solar systems, arrays and connections, project safety and guidance on using the installation checklists.


He elaborated that the objective of the training is to maximize accurate connection and functionality of the various parts, to enhance the timely and proper completion of the system. “In line with the project objective, this training will ensure the solar equipment are installed correctly and products warranty requirements are not violated” AbuSaid ended.


The Sierra Leone Rural Renewable Energy Programme (RREP) initiative is to be implemented in four (4) years period, from October 2016 to October 2020. Half a million people over the next four years will benefit for at least 90 mini-grids powered with renewable energy.


Ethiopia to visit Sierra Leone to ‘take lessons’ from the President’s Delivery TeamSenior Ethiopian government officials have written to Saidu Conton-Sesay, Chief of Staff, commending the work of the President’s Delivery Team (PDT) and expressing their interest in visiting Sierra Leone to ‘take lessons from the operations of the PDT’.


This was following the Tony Blair Institute’s inaugural Africa Delivery Exchange in March, a benchmarking and best practice forum, which brought together public sector leaders from around Africa, to share their experiences of service delivery.


In Sierra Leone, the PDT is responsible for ensuring the progress of the President’s Delivery Priorities – the investment programme initiated after Ebola and the commodities price slump.   It is headed up by the Chief of Staff.  At the Africa Delivery Exchange, the PDT came in for particular praise from Muktar Kedir, Ethiopia’s Head of Social and Good Governance Delivery Support, which is part of the Office of the Prime Minister.


He has subsequently written to the Chief of Staff saying: “My team and I were very impressed with the discussions and the work of the President’s Delivery Team in Sierra Leone.  We would like to take lessons from the operations of the President’s Delivery Team.  In particular, we would like to get first-hand experience on what the day to day functions of the delivery unit look like.”  His team is expected to be in Sierra Leone in the last week of May.


 Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Team Leader for the PDT said: “As the biggest service provider in the country, improvements in public service delivery positively impact the lives of millions of Sierra Leoneans.  Across the continent, there are exciting and successful examples of innovations in the sector. By sharing these with each other, we have more chance of achieving outcomes which meet the particular needs of our countries and citizens.”

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

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