Dry season w at er supply plan for Freet ow n. He assured the audience of the Government?s commitment to ensuring safe water for Freetown?s population. ?We are fully conscious of the responsibility we bear to Freetown and its people. We are fully conscious of the social and economic impact of the dry season on households in the city. The key focus of the Dry Season Water Supply Backup Plan is to ensure a coherent and integrated response that mitigates these. If all the men and women of Freetown work with us to make this plan a success, the measures we have put in place will support us through this challenging period.? Flexibility to tackle urgent public service delivery needs has been built into the design of the President?s Recovery Priorities process. Working with the President?s Delivery Team, the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) and Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC) have developed a comprehensive dry season plan in collaboration with the UNDP, DFID, and UNICEF to manage water supply in Freetown. The Minister of Water Resources, Momodu Maligi launched the 2017 Freetown Dry Season Water Supply Backup Plan at Baoma in Goderich on 31st January 2016, during a ceremony to hand over the community?s new solar-powered borehole. The solar-powered borehole is one of twenty-two around Freetown, that are being fast-tracked as part of the plan. Speaking at the launch, the Minister thanked stakeholders such as development partners, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the Sierra Leone Water Company, the President?s Delivery Team, Strategy and Policy Unit, Freetown WASH Consortium and all of Freetown?s councillors and community stakeholders for being part of the planning process. The 2017 Freetown Dry Season Water Supply Backup Plan was developed as part of the President?s Recovery Priorities process. Learning from the experience of previous dry seasons, MOWR and GVWC started planning in September last year, to ensure that regular access to safe water around Freetown would be maintained. The plan entails implementation of a robust water rationing schedule to ensure that water supplied through the network is equitably distributed around the city. Additional water sources include the construction of twenty-two new boreholes in areas like Gloucester, Leicester, Old Wharf, Calaba Town, Allen Town, Wellington and Kissy. These complement a programme of rehabilitating 20 existing boreholes and protected wells, and the construction of four industrial boreholes in Babadorie, Brookfields and Kissy. Communities not connected to the GVWC network will be kept supplied with water by bowsers. To reduce the significant water loss resulting from ?created leaks?or pipe cutting, dedicated rapid response teams have been established to monitor and repair leaking pipes quickly and efficiently along the ten zones in Freetown, and a freephone number - 246 - set up to allow the public to report any concerns. He outlined the complex causes of the city?s water shortages saying: ?The Guma Dam is the source of 98% of Freetown?s water. It is backed up by other smaller sources ? Allen Town, White Water, Blue Water and Babadorie. Freetown?s dilapidated water supply infrastructure and the severe environmental degradation of crucial water catchment zones around dams like Guma Valley and Babadorie, mean that current water supply cannot reliably meet the needs of Freetown?s rapidly expanding population. Added to this is the widespread practice of cutting water pipes or ?created leaks? which allows 40% of the water supplied by Guma Valley to be wasted.?
Tow ards a m odernised educat ion syst em w hich can m eet t he challenges and opport unit ies of our fut ure By Dr. Minkailu Bah, the Minister of Education, Science and Technology Our population is a young one - over 40% is below 15 years old. An increasingly youthful population is not exclusive to Sierra Leone. Africa has more people aged under 20 than anywhere in the world. UNICEF estimates that over the next four decades, 40% of the world?s children and roughly 25% of the global population will be in Africa. The possible implications of this trend have polarised commentators. One camp frames our youthful populations as a great opportunity; the other as a great risk. In the first scenario, our youth bulge is a competitive advantage that sets us apart from industrialised countries, many of which have rapidly aging populations. Those who take the opposite position argue that in an environment of unemployment, low wages, and the need for substantial ongoing investment in health, education, and infrastructure, our overwhelmingly youthful population is a potentially significant risk to political and economic stability. For my Ministry and its stakeholders in the education sector, this is a time of great challenge, responsibility and opportunity. We know that education has the power to change nations. It can help prevent poverty and social exclusion, ensure human and civic values are maintained and help tackle all forms of discrimination. Educated citizens have the necessary skills to succeed in the labour market. They are key to improved economic growth and employment in Sierra Leone and in the sub-region. Progress in recent years has been encouraging. Seventy-six percent of students finish primary school, which is above the average for Sub-Saharan Africa, and 77% of these advance to JSS level. Yet too many of our young people, especially in rural areas, still lack adequate access to really high quality learning and teaching. Take for example, the high level of repetition in primary schools. At 15.6%, this indicates a need to increase the quality of our teaching and schools. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Teaching Service Commission are collaborating with national and international stakeholders and partners, to accelerate the modernisation of our education system. As part of this strategy, a Le257 billion (.3 million) investment in a series of urgent initiatives is being delivered under the President?s Recovery Priorities. These are intended to rapidly improve learning outcomes. They include the construction of 500 classrooms in schools across the country to reduce severe over-crowding in the worst affected schools; visiting schools nationwide to ensure they meet standards to be certified as Government approved; and a national school-feeding programme for all GoSL/GoSL assisted primary schools. The Accelerated Teaching syllabi that we produced in August 2015, was a successful response to the time lost due to Ebola. We are building on this with new lesson plans in language arts and mathematics, across all primary and JSS school grades. These give teachers the support they need to cover each element of the national curriculum and are complemented with training for in-service teachers. Our teachers are the backbone of a strong and vibrant education system and the Teachers? Payroll Verification and School Mapping Exercise will help our work in this area. It will support MEST in capturing, protecting and providing reliable information in the electronic environment. It is a critical step towards a strong financial and information management system which will lead to more effective teacher remuneration and professional development. This is essential to ensuring that we are allocating teaching and learning resources appropriately, where, how and to whom they are most needed. MEST also uses a Situation Room to monitor progress at an individual school level using indicators such as: pupil and teacher attendance, condition of WASH facilities, and school feeding, etc. This allows us to identify and resolve impediments to teaching and learning. The successful implementation of these initiatives will give the education sector an even stronger base from which we can progress towards the goals that we set out in the Agenda for Prosperity.