Freetown - Sierra Leone — Twenty ECOWAS volunteers, recruited from six Member countries have arrived in Sierra Leone to boost the country's education sector.
The volunteers, young men and women from Benin, Gambia, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo and Cote d'Ivoire, in arrived the country since last week. They are the first batch of 40 volunteers who will put their expertise and experience to work in reinforcing the education and health sectors of the country.
They will serve as French and Science Teachers in the Port Loko, Tonkolili, Koinadugu, Kabia, Bo, Pujenhu, Bonthe, Mattru, Moyamba, Kono and Kenema regions.
The Deputy Minister of Education, Hon. Osmond Hanciles, who has been involved personally with the process, expressed “deep satisfaction” with the arrival of the volunteers, who themselves, expressed their "happiness" to serve in Sierra Leone where they feel “very welcome”.
The volunteers, aged between 20 and 35 years, met the Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology and other key stakeholders before departing for their respective duty stations across the country.
Reacting to the deployment, Mr. Francis Chuks Njoaguani, Director of the Ouagadougou-based ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre, which hosts the regional office of the EVP, stated that the “EVP Regional Office welcomes the new Volunteers in the ever-growing ECOWAS Volunteers family and wishes them success in their mission”. He indicated that twenty more volunteers, comprising of medical doctors and intensive care nurses, would soon join the group in Sierra Leone, once the on-going recruitment process is concluded.
ECOWAS Volunteers are young men and women professionals from the 15 Member States, who contribute to regional development efforts and the consolidation of peace and reconstruction in crisis affected-communities of the region.
They commit to serve and demonstrate an ability to adapt to different and, at times, difficult conditions, and serve mostly as teachers and health workers in the different communities where they are deployed, helping to strengthen the capacities of local organizations, establishing and supporting partnerships between communities. They also help promote a culture of peace, gender equality, networking and collaborate with other development partners.
Four countries- Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone are covered under the pilot phase of the EVP, which was launched in March 2010 in Liberia.
The Programme is expected to be scaled up and expanded to cover all ECOWAS Member States.