The Sierra Leone High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Melvin Chalobah, on Monday 27, January 2009, appealed to the Chief Executive of Sound Seekers The Commonwealth Society for the Deaf to continue his humanitarian project in Sierra Leone.
At a meeting at the High Commission’s conference room, Mr. Chalobah said Sierra Leone has open hands for people like Gary Williams and that the government of President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is development-oriented.
Mr. Chaloba said the current President is very committed towards developmental projects and keeps a close eye on every single project coming into the country.
The High Commissioner thanked Mr. Williams for his support and said as a commission, what they do is to facilitate between Sound Seekers and the appropriate authorities in Freetown.
Mr. Chalobah said things have changed now taking into consideration the fact that when the project was launched it was Sulaiman Tejan Jalloh who was High Commissioner and his Deputy was James Allie, but now both men are no more.
Sound Seekers, in April 2006, launched a three-year HARK mobile outreach clinic project providing ear care facilities to people in the remote and rural areas.
According to Williams, his organization had spent over £200,000 on audiology equipment, but with the first phase of the project coming to an end by March of this year, Williams is expressing fears over the sustainability of the project.
He said their initial agreement with the government was to train their nurses and provide equipment including vehicle for the project for a three year period which they did.
He said his organization also succeeded in training a team of five nurses led by a specialist Karim Kabineh and sent three technicians from Freetown to Uganda for a six-week training course.
At the end of the three-year period, Mr. Williams said, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation should provide staffing that includes specialized people in the field.
The Ministry should also provide fuel for the vehicle and be directly responsible for the entire project including the payment of allowances.
However, barely two months to the end of the project, according to Mr. Williams, from their investigations, the specialist has been over-stretched with frustration and they fear that the project might not be able to survive after the first phase of the three year period.
”The sustainability of the project is credibly important to us” said Gary Williams adding that the end of March should not be the end of friendship or dialogue.
Mr. Williams said similar projects are successfully going on in several other countries including Ghana, Tanzania and Cameroon.
The Deputy High Commissioner thanked Mr. Williams and said it was good that the High Commissioner was present to discuss the issue.
At the end of the meeting, the two parties agreed that they get first assessment of the project to know its state of affairs to determine the need to inject more funds into the project to ensure its future survival.