Eleven students have graduated after completing a three-year course in various skills at the Muloma Women’s Development Association (MUWODA)’s skills training centre in Kenema.
The graduation ceremony started with a March pass from the Gava Forest Industry’s grounds through the main streets to the school campus at Swarray Street with music provided by the Government Secondary School brass band.
This is the second graduation ceremony undertaken by this Institution since its establishment in 2001.
In his statement the head of Technical Vocational Institutions in Kenema, Madam Musu Koroma, said Tec. Voc. emanated from science and that it had four main components namely food and nutrition, family life education, adult education, and family resource management.
She told the grandaunts that, “this is not the end of your career but the start of it,” and encouraged them to work and enter the Eastern Polytechnic for another certificate. “Put into practice what you have learnt as you are the ambassadors of your Institution”.
Giving a report about the institution the programme coordinator, Jeneba Nyallay, said when the rebel war broke out in Sierra Leone in 1991 it was characterized by massive looting of property, indiscriminate killings and violations of human rights, women and girls’ rights were particularly targeted as they were raped and or made wives of the fighting forces against their wish.
“The dreams and concerns of these women ignited or prompted series of meetings that were organized exclusively by the women themselves out of these meetings, the organization Muloma Women’s Development Association (MUWODA) emerged. It is a membership organization of 350. MUWODA is officially registered with the ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs. It was a skills training component which is also officially recognized by the ministry of Education Youth and Sports. MUWODA is a member of the regional child protection committee. Successful implementation of our development aspiration has inspired us in recent times to upgrade our status and thus, this small CBO which has been doing great things is now a local Non Governmental Organization (NGO) empowerment of grassroots women and marginalized youths and children for development activities in the eastern region of Sierra Leone,” she narrated.
MUWODA focuses on socio-economic development of rural women and youths through increased food production programmes, micro credit schemes, peace building, vocational training and the protection of children in difficult circumstances. MUWODA aims at capacity building of women, marginalized and disadvantaged children for socio-economic reintegration and development.
Jeneba Nyallay pointed out that MUWODA’s main constraints had been and still was the lack of fund for the payment of staff, saying that support from their main donor ended in December 2007 and since that time not a cent had been paid to their tutors and other staff.
In his keynote address the District Inspector of Schools Kenema, Mustapha Yembai Kallon who represented the District Director of Education East (DDE), called on the grandaunts to make use of the knowledge gained during their course of study.
He said the ministry had expressed the need of Tec. Voc Institution in any community saying that previously every one was looking for white collar jobs, adding that during the war most of them were not able to take care of themselves as compared to those that were having trade.
Mustapha Kallon explained to his audience the steps involved in establishing a school in any community, and assured the Institution of government’s fullest support.
Rev. S.E.B. Kpambo, a board member of the Institution who chaired the ceremony, called on the government and the community people to embrace the Institution.
Distribution of certificates and start-up kits climaxed the ceremony.