Saturday, 01 August 2015 00:00

With funds from Welthungerhilfer…SEND to construct shelters for security at 25 border crossing points Featured

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Kailahun border crossing poinAs a way of showing their commitment in ensuring Kailahun District maintains its ebola free status with over 200 days without any new infectious cases, the Social Enterprise for Development (SEND) Foundation, with funds from DFID emergency ebola response fund, through Welthungerhilfer (WHH) will construct 25 shelters for security personnel at some of the border crossing points with Guinea and Liberia.

This was disclosed during the SEND Foundation monthly partner meeting at the organisation office along Buedu Road in Kailahun District, which attracted the Sierra Leone Police, the Military, the Office of National Security, the Traditional Leaders, the District Ebola Response Coordinator, the Kailahun Women in Governance Network among others.

It could be recalled that Kailahun District share about 56 (fifty-six) border crossing points with Guinea and Liberia of which 49 (forty-nine) are illegal which create rooms for illegal movement of people and goods in and out of the country. A situation that may create room for the reoccurrence of the deadly ebola virus disease into the District if any of the neighbouring villages report any case.

According to the Country Director of SEND foundation, Joseph Ayamga, when they received the information about the illegal movement of people using most of the illegal bordering points, they visited some of the crossing points and realised that people use those points due to lack of security personnel to mann the border.

He disclosed that upon proper investigation they realised that most of the border crossing points visited did not have office space nor shelter for security personnel who should be there monitoring the movement of people and goods in and out of the country, adding that there were no mobility to enable movement from one crossing point to another and that ebola screening facilities/items are also missing.

The Country Director maintained that based on those findings they decided to write a project, which WHH decided to fund to prevent ebola from entering the District. He explained that they have engaged and trained Chiefdom Taskforce in 32 remote border villages in District on ebola prevention in relation to security measures

“The purpose of the training is to increase ebola awareness and promote compliance with ebola preventive protocols at the 32 crossing points into Kailahun District. The training targets security personnel, religious leaders, Chiefdom ebola Task Force, Town chief, women youth leaders, Kailahun Women in Governance Network and the 12 women Councilors in the District.”

He stated that the project targets seven (7) Chiefdoms including, Luawa, Penguia, Malema, Kissi Tongi, Kissi Kama, Kissi Teng and Upper Bambara Chiefdom from which twenty-five (25) villages that have border crossing point will benefit from having shelters for the security personnel and other support staff.

According to the Immigration Officer who attended the meeting, Abdul Rahman Kamara, the entire Kailahun District with 14 Chiefdoms only have 10 Immigration Officers which prevent them from covering all the border crossing points complemented with the poor roads network.

The Chairman of the Council of Paramount Chiefs in Kailahun, PC Cyril Foray Gondor, stated that for any project to be successful the people must be included which is evident in the project they are discussing, explaining they have put the ebola virus at the back as their intention now is to see how they can protect their border crossing points.

“Fighting ebola should be a collective effort and not the Government alone. This was why we succeeded in Kailahun by imposing penalty on defaulters. With the information that SEND will build shelter for the security personnel, we as Traditional leaders welcome the idea and we will continue to give our support when necessary” he maintained.

According to the Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion in charge of the entire District, Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Bangura, they are presently covering 5 major border crossing points which they are referring to as forward patrol bases, stating that they are trying their best in covering most of the crossing using joint patrol with the Sierra Leone Police and that they sometimes engage the village Task force in providing information.

He maintained that with the involvement of SEND Foundation in bordering security activities means a lot as their personnel at those crossing point have started receiving solar lights and other equipment that aid them in their operations. He stated that the information about the construction of shelter in 25 border crossing points is welcome in good faith.

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SEND-SIERRA LEONE
Buedu Road, Kissi Town, Kailahun,
Post Office Box 54
Kenema, Sierra Leone
+232 78 20 68 53