The Think Build Change Salone (TBCS) initiative seeks to help rebuild post-civil war Sierra Leone by providing training to young people placed at paid internship positions with local non-profit organizations so that they may gain work experience and contribute to development projects.
The person behind this project, Vickie (AKA “Nasratha”) explains the challenges she faced and how she was able to overcome them:
“One of the biggest challenges I knew I would face with the internship program was the placement of interns with local organizations. Inexperienced students are primarily seen as a liability in any professional work environment but I also knew that offering to pay the student’s stipend would remove some of the anti-intern feeling.
…I never did get the list I wanted so I had to return to the internet in search of local NGOs. I made visits to several offices that had been closed for over two or three years and no one had bothered to put down the sign.”
Edward Komba Chaka (23) is a 2nd year pre-med student at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS). He was placed in a National HIV/AIDS Control Program (NACP) at Connaught Hospital, Freetown. He explains his work experiences in the post “HIV is a Virus, not a moral issue”. He shares some catchy slogans to prevent aids.
Noah Dauda (25) a third year student of Financial Services at the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) and Alhassan Conteh, 22, a first year student of DES Institute of Business & Management were paired up to research the implementation of micro-finance in Freetown. Noah shares the state of development and background of micro-lending programs in Sierra Leone:
“Sierra Leone has experienced a high rate of failure of developmental projects over years. These failures did not begin with the onset of civil war. It must be noted that, the near absence of development for many years, declining per capita incomes, increasing competition from a rising population for limited resources and poor governance have contributed greatly to the erosion of civil society and the emergence of conditions that facilitated open conflict. It is this reality that the past government has been trying to combat with its National Action Plan for Poverty Alleviation, its programme of macro-economic reform supported by international development agencies and its policies of support for the private sector.”
He describes the traditional Osusu credit system and posts pictures of some traders who are using microfinance.
Noah Suluku (21) and Daniella Wilson (19), two Secondary School students, were placed on independent projects to highlight the lives of street children in different areas of the city. Noah writes:
“There are two categories (of street children). The first category is defined as children who stay with their parents /guardians at home but who go on to the street each morning to socialize or to earn money for themselves and sometime they return home in the evening. The second category is children who have abandoned their home and are permanently on the street living and working on the street. They are not under any parental care. Both categories are vulnerable to child abuse and child right violation.”
He noted some miseries and experience of those street children. He also posted some pictures of those underprivileged children.
Kadi Yata Kandeh (26) is a brilliant third year student of Nutrition & Dietetics at Fourah Bay College. She writes about her experience in the Conference on the Status of the Implementation of TRC- Truth & Reconciliation Commission Recommendations where she acted as a member of Technical Committee in Planning:
“It was an educative program, it gave me the opportunity to know about various civil society organizations and interact with so many. What interested me were the discussions between the civil society groups on various topics.”
Lastly we read an update from Emmanuel Joseph (24), a student of NJala University who worked as an intern in Peace and Development Corp Program, a project under National commission for social action (NaCSA). He lists the experiences gathered during his trips to the eastern, northern and southern Provinces of Sierra Leone and concludes with:
My documentary visit to the provinces have actually increase my understand(ing) of the provinces and how decentralizing work is being complemented by council and how working condition is like and the challenges of the different kind of bosses that one may encounter during work. Amazing among my discovery of Sierra Leone is that my country is a beautiful country and such build my interest of working in Sierra Leone to aid in developing my country.