The President of The Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma visited the Gbonkolenken Chiefdom on March 9th 2012. During his tour, at the request of President Koroma, a visit was scheduled to e-Luma and the Lion Heart Foundation.
President Koroma was welcomed to Gbonkolenken by the Paramount Chief of the Gbonkolenken Chiefdom, Bai Santuba Osara III along with the Country Director of the Lion Heart Foundation, Mr. Donald Keus and the Director of e-Luma, Laila Velji. His Excellency visited the NedOil Mill, followed by a tour of the by-product of the palm oil production at the Soap Factory.
The tour also included the Lion Heart Medical Center, the newly refurbished water treatment facility, and the hydro power plant. In addition, President Koroma graciously allowed for a private meeting to discuss the future plans for extension of energy services to a larger part of the region, a plan in which e-Luma will play an important role. Later in the afternoon, President Koroma visited the e-Luma site where Laila shared the development plans for the upcoming development center and discussed the impact of such a development in the community.
At the end of the trip, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma addressed the community of Yele. In his address the President expressed his pleasure in being in Yele and witnessing the progress and efforts of the LionHeart Foundation, PowerNed and e-Luma along with the entire team and expressed his deepest gratitude, several times to the team in attendance.
‘…….They provide energy for the community and on top of that they bring clean water get them to the homes of people. I believe this is an integrated approach to development of the community…these sort of projects, under normal circumstances are supposed to be carried out by the government. We, as a government, are glad with what we see and we believe that we will do what you need to make these programs succeed. When it succeeds we will take it from Chiefdom to Chiefdom. We now know this is a new concept of integrated development and we hope to take it across the country. To crown it all, they are modernizing the market systems for us though the e-Luma. We commend you for your efforts and we will use this pilot in Yele and see how we will learn from the Yele, Gbonkolenken example for the development in the country.’
Extract transcribed from the Speech of His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to the community in Yele, Sierra Leone on March 9th 2012.