Young People who make up the largest demographic group in Sierra Leone lacks so many opportunities to thrive in our democratic nation. From an educational system that is not diversified enough to encouraging computer based training, technical and vocational institutions, young people and students needs the required marketable skills to earn better paying jobs that are even not readily available in the work force.
In Sierra Leone, many of our young people, even after graduation from college, are left without jobs and incomes to support themselves and families. They don’t have access to better health care facilities, opportunities to even chase their dreams such as obtaining a loan to open new businesses or create a private practice (such as law, accounting, engineering firms. etc.) and be gainfully employed by their own government.
NDA will address such social and economic inadequacies by investing in education, attracting foreign direct investments, expanding the private and public sectors with lower taxes and variety of business incentives, training young people and students to develop their own talents in the diversified performing sectors like agricultural empowerment programs and as small business owners in the rural and urban communities.
Millions of Sierra Leoneans particularly children go to bed hungry in a nation that is richly endowed with an arable fertile land and gifted natural wealth. Obviously, the issue of corruption and mismanagement of Sierra Leone’s natural resources and the lack of national serious commitment to investing in agricultural food production renders many of our citizen without the basic three square meal a day.
NDA will rebuild the Agro-farming sector through joint partnership and serious capital investment with local farmers including farmer’s organizations like Newtown Vegetable Organization Farmers and the National Federation of Farmers to create dependence on the growing of local products especially in the massive cultivation of rice which is predominantly our staple food.
Farming activities with the availability of new modern technologies and industrialized production system will generate increase food production and address the looming national problems like: widespread hunger, unemployment challenges and major loss of government revenues in the agricultural sector. Diversified farming like the livestock and poultry industry will be heavily encouraged in Sierra Leone when NDA becomes the next democratically elected government by the people.
An NDA administration will make farming activities the engine of economic growth and the road to self-sufficiency in a nation that once was the bread basket of Sub Saharan Africa on its cocoa, coffee and rice production in the 1970’s. The renowned Sierra Leonean Scientist, Dr. Morton Jones, would be invited to lead the “NIRECA” rice industrialization and commercialization project in Sierra Leone.
SIERRA LEONE TEACHER'S UNION
The Sierra Leone Teacher’s Union has long played an important role in the country’s educational system and its labor movement. With more than 30, 000 members, the SLTU is the largest and perhaps the most powerful union in Sierra Leone today. Nonetheless, the union struggles with challenges unheard of in developed countries. It represents teachers in an educational system that was ravaged by its eleven-year civil war (1991-2002).
Not only are working conditions extremely difficult for teachers (classroom overcrowding, lack of educational materials, low pay and often late pay), the union must negotiate agreements with the Ministry of Education, which itself has no direct influence on the nation’s coffers. Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Finance and more importantly, the International Monetary Funds set policies that directly impact the quality of Sierra Leone’s education systems and its teacher.
NDA will address these logistical and educational problems by increasing the funding problems from its current 2% to at least 7% within two years and subsequently 10% in the next 5 years. Revenues from massive recovery in controlling corruption, waste, fraud and abuse in government institutions and renegotiating mining contracts that are revenue killers and shady deals from its current 6% to 45% will pay for the increase funding gap on priority areas like: education, health and Agriculture.
COLLEGE STUDENT UNIONS
Student unions in our universities have been politicized and marginalized by the ruling government especially when their growing influence in the 70’s and 80’s were the bedrock of our democratic opposition to dictatorship and the one party rule system. Today, Student Union bodies are marred by financial, social and educational challenges in college campuses that are extremely unfriendly to their vision and mission.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will reignite the flame of public servant leadership through mentoring and internship positions when it comes into political governance. Student Union will be seen as a training ground for “young generation leaders” of our vibrant nation. They would be included and involved in national decision making process as well as given the opportunity to share their innovative ideas and talents that will immensely benefit Sierra Leone.
The bottom line: student unions are the untapped human resources of any progressive nation. They must be seen as stakeholders in our fledgling democracy and multi pluralist system. NDA will never catalog them as: “rioters and inciters of violence” but as responsible and respectable citizens who are determined to uphold our national values of commitment to democracy and development. After all, student unions are potentially the next government ministers and public servants in waiting. Such national potentials must be seriously harness and encourage.