By Ragan M. Conteh
The Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Positive Attitude and Sustainable Development (CePAD), Daniel Sara Turay, has informed Nightwatch press that no villages, in the upper sections of Kalanthuba Chiefdom, that host Bumbuna Hydro Dam in the Tonkolili District, have road accesses.
According to Daniel Sara Turay, housing in those villages is mostly made of thatch roofing, interspersed with sticks and mud, rather than zinc roofing.
Kalanthuba Chiefdom, Mr. Turay intimated, is strategically located adjacent to the Bumbuna Dam and Reservoir on the Seli/Rokel River, near Bumbuna Town, in the northeast corner of Tonkolili District in the Northern Region.
“Compared to rural Sierra Leone, in general, Kalanthuba is a much less developed area,” he said.
He revealed that a primary school was opened in Folladugu section in 2017, after a baseline study of Kalanthuba Chiefdom, which was undertaken at the invitation of Daniel Sara Turay, a member of the royal house of Kalanthuba Chiefdom, who arranged the Research team from Houghton University in New York State.
According to Daniel Sara Turay, there were no schools in the upper section, adding that births that occur in the villages are attended by traditional birth attendants.
Mr. Turay pointed out that, as a whole, the chiefdom has symptoms of under-development, informing that the adult literacy rate in that Chiefdom is estimated at 2%, with the notable exception of one section out of six.
He revealed that most villages, throughout the chiefdom, rely primarily on untreated surface water. There is also restricted access to education, health care, and markets for agricultural produce.
“There are no feeder roads and no access to electricity,” he said.
Among the strengths of the chiefdom, according to Mr. Turay, are their social capitals, especially at the village level, where strong social ties enable villagers to work together in a large number of labor groups that assist farmers, maintain roads, footpaths, water sources as well as develop and maintain community schools without government assistance.
The CEO of CePAD says the chiefdom is committed to self-help, having already embarked on a program of road building by means of village labor using hand tools. He said the economic development potential lies primarily in opportunities for eco-tourism, which is focused on the area wildlife and both forest-based and water based recreation. He added the strengthening of access to markets for agricultural products, especially tree crops.
As part of their effort to connect villages and provide other amenities to villagers, the CEO said they have established by-laws to govern the process of Self-help Road Construction Project and the organization of Tool Libraries.
“Sections/villages are at liberty to design additional by-laws for effective work implementation of their local projects,” Daniel Sara Turay progressed.
He pointed out that CePAD and Chiefdom authorities are mobilizing resources for tools and other needs, either cash or in- kind, with authorities taking the lead in contributing resources as well as establish and train Tool Library Committees composed of persons of literate and non-literate backgrounds.
One of the important developments, he highlighted, is that the Chiefdom authorities appoint monitors/supervisors for the Self-help Road Construction Project, asserting that these monitors/supervisors locally are to conduct village surveys and register able-bodied persons in each village for the Self-help Road Construction Project.
“The age limit ranges from fifteen (15) to fifty-five (55) years,” the CEO continued.
CePAD Founder continued that sections/villages agree on a particular day in the week to perform road construction, but they may extend work to another day if they failed to complete the portion assigned to them on the day work was conducted. He disclosed that all monitors/supervisors of Self-help Road Construction Project agree on a day each week to meet together and make a situation report.
Mr. Turay opined that Chiefdom authorities have also designed incentive schemes for monitors/supervisors of the Self-help Road Construction Project as well as head monitors/supervisors attending and reporting to monthly meetings of the Chiefdom Development Committee.
Mr. Turay said because the Chiefdom is a new, they are suffering of funds and equipment to carry out their self-help projects effectively.
Stakeholders in the community are calling on the Government of President Julius Maada Bio, charitable organizations and individuals to help uplift the lives of the less privileged in that newly established Chiefdom in Tonkolili District.