Let me start this piece by doing what those book men and women that are called academics sometimes do when they start their work – they define key terms that they would be using. In this piece the key terms are ‘mobilize’ and ‘waiting sectors.’ I won’t waste time on mobilize, for I am using it as it is commonly used – to increase, to raise, to gather, to collect, etcetera.
By waiting sectors I mean those persons, groups, and institutions that are waiting or preparing for something to happen. Take students for example, they are waiting for or preparing for their certificates; or soldiers, they are waiting for or preparing to tackle grave threats to security; or take some youths, they are waiting for or preparing for a thousand and one thing.
My thinking is that we can use some of their waiting period to do great things. We can use college students, during their holidays to teach in primary schools in remote villages, record local court cases, and conduct adult education classes. We can use soldiers to build bridges and schools, till the land and vaccinate against deadly infections. We can utilize some days off vacationing professionals from the Diaspora to treat patients, set up institutional systems, teach some short courses and do a hundred other things.
These are things that persons can do beyond what they are already doing or preparing to do. It is a plus to what they are doing. We could thus have the student-plus, the army-plus, the youth-plus.
Last week I heard the army is involved in some agricultural activities upcountry, that is great. Sometime back the army hospital at Wilberforce provided great medical services to all and sundry, that was great, and it is good to hear that the hospital is now up and running under some dynamic management. I know a number of people from the Diaspora who do more here than just vacationing; I know a number of students who help out during the holidays, I see lots of youths coming together to do valuable voluntary work in their communities. All these are great efforts. But we need to entrench these efforts; we need to integrate them into the very center of our development agenda.
The resources are here to do all this. Already there are the students with good literacy skills, the soldiers under a command structure, the youths with the energy, and the JCs with the professional skills. Mobilizing a thousand students during the two months holidays at a hundred and fifty dollars per students cost a total of a hundred and fifty thousand dollars; appealing the JCs sense of patriotism and home and making their arrival at Lungi stress free would do the trick with JCs; with some additional allowance some units in the army could be commanded to do it; and some young people in various communities could be mobilize through vibes and small fees by people they identify with to get involved. We can do this without donor resources. The idea is the resource; the will is the resource, the effort is the resource, leaders are the resource, our bodies and soul are the resource.
By Mohamed Gibril Sesay