Sierra Leone: NATCOM Celebrates ITU Day, Trains Girls in Basic Computing

National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), has on 17th May, 2019, supported the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to celebrate the world telecommunications and Information Society Day.

Held in the Moyamba District Council Hall with the theme "Bridging the standardisation gap", NATCOM took this year's celebration, for the first time, to Moyamba town, where chiefs, traders' union, women groups, commercial motor bike riders' union, Moyamba District Council officials, pupils of primary and secondary schools, among others, were in attendance.

Chairman of the occasion, Emmanuel Turay, Media and Public Relations Specialist in the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), said ITU was incepted in 1967, adding that since then, May 17th has been slated for its celebration.

He said NATCOM has, for the first time in ITU's history, took the celebration to Moyamba so as to help the people to understand the use of internet and other information, communications technology (ICT) facilities.

"Some people have never touched a computer. This is the time to do so now because NATCOM has brought many computers to Moyamba so as to enable the pupils of primary and secondary schools to have basic knowledge in computing. We are now in an era of technology and the use of computers is very crucial in this," he said.

He said MIC collaborated with NATCOM to celebrate the ITU day and bringing the celebration to Moyamba was a very good idea on the part of the organisers.

He advised the people of Moyamba to use technology wisely, especially the mobile phones and social media, noting that some people are now in the habit of misusing the latter.

Chief Administrator, Moyamba District Council, Veronica Fortune, said the move taken by NATCOM to celebrate ITU with the people of Moyamba was timely and in the right direction.

She said it means a lot for one to be technologically-informed as access to effective and efficient communication could bridge the standardisation gap.

She warns people against the misuse of social media, adding that it was a privilege for Moyamba to host the ITU day celebration.

Mamie Vanjah, an elderly resident of Moyamba town, noted that there was NATCOM office in Moyamba town but the past regime closed it, calling on NATCOM to re-establish its branch in the town.

She encourages NATCOM to be organising skills training for the people of Moyamba district, which will subsequently make them to be self-reliant.

She called on girls to focus on education as there is now a free quality education program brought by President Julius Maada Bio.

"I want to thank and appreciate President Bio for introducing a lifetime jail term for perpetrators of rape and sexual abuses. This will deter men to from having an affair with girls and that will enable the girls to realise their potential," she noted.

James Korwei, Youth Leader in Moyamba district, said with this 'New Direction' administration, the people of Moyamba would smartly see the improvement of internet and access to telecommunications facilities.

He disclosed that there are about 60,000 youth in the entire district and information, communications and technology (ICT) would help them to reach each other.

He encouraged all the youth that he believes that there are gaps in telecommunications facilities but urged that those gaps would be soon bridged, especially at a time when NATCOM has focussed its attention to the district.

Deputy Director General of NATCOM, Daniel Kaitibi, said the ITU celebration in Moyamba was a clear manifestation of President Bio's vision to ensure that telecommunications facilities and ideas are spread to every corner of Sierra Leone.

"Since the inception of ITU day, it has been always celebrated in Freetown. I want to make it clear that Freetown is not only Sierra Leone. We have 16 districts in this country and once President Bio is in power, NATCOM will never centralised the ITU celebration in Freetown, it would be rotated," he said.

He said besides the celebration of ITU day, NATCOM has brought some computers to Moyamba with an expert in Information Technology (IT), who was asked to train the girls in basic computing.

He noted that the theme for the training was "Girls in ICT training", and it would ensure that girls, who are mostly disadvantaged in our society, are given the opportunity to have basic knowledge in computing.

"The essence of this brilliant move by NATCOM was to encourage the girls to begin to choose a career path. The founders of DELL computers, FACEBOOK, Microsoft, among others, were able to do so because they had the opportunity to be exposed to ICT facilities and built their skills in them," he urged the girls.

He said he has taken note of the concern raised by an elderly resident of the Moyamba about the closure of NATCOM branch in the town, adding that as a 'Talk and Do' government, NATCOM would ensure that it re-establishes its branch in Moyamba.

He noted that NATCOM would ask the support of the Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB) to assist in the area of fibre optic for the people of Moyamba.

He urged the pupils, especially the girls, to focus on education.

He disclosed that NATCOM had not only come to Moyamba to celebrate ITU day, and train girls in basic computing, but brought 40 phones including sim cards to be given to the various stakeholders, from Africell, a mobile network operator (MNO) in the country.

He urged everyone who gets the phone to do a proper registration of their sim cards.

Rumours were that Kaitibi, an indigene of Moyamba district, has an ambition of becoming a Member of Parliament (MP).

But he calms down those insinuators that he was only doing everything he's done as a way of giving back to the district, thereby urging others to emulate.

Pupils of both primary and secondary schools being taught how to use computers during ITU celebration

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