40 ECOWAS volunteers to support health, education sectors in Sierra Leone

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS has announced plans to deploy 40 volunteers to Sierra Leone to support the country’s health and education sectors, according to a statement issued here Monday by the West African regional bloc.

It said "To this end, a delegation of the ECOWAS Volunteers Programme (EVP) Regional Office, led by the Director of the ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre in Ouagadougou, Mr. Francis Chuks Ajoagwani has just-ended a four-day visit in Sierra Leone (8-12 April, 2013) to fast-track the process."

The ECOWAS team met with key stakeholders, including those from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; Ministry of Health and Sanitation; Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Ministry of Sports, as well as representatives of civil society organizations and the UNDP/UNV, the technical partners to the EVP, the statement disclosed.

Mr. Njoaguani described the outcome of the visit as “encouraging”, adding that “there is greater certainty that ECOWAS Volunteers will be deployed to Sierra Leone in the next 30 days.”

The EVP Regional Coordinator, Mr. Ibrahim Ouedraogo, said the mission had helped regain the commitment of all the key stakeholders, especially the primary beneficiary ministries.

The first batch of 20 volunteers earmarked for the Ministry of Education is expected to arrive in the country by end of April 2013 and the remaining volunteers for the Health sector, by the first week of May.

The ECOWAS teams also held a stakeholders’ consultative meeting with members of the National Coordination Council (NCC), chaired by the Head of the ECOWAS National Unit, which is charged with the successful implementation of the Programme.

ECOWAS Volunteers are young men and women professionals from the 15 Member States, who contribute to development efforts and consolidation of peace and reconstruction in crisis affected-communities of the region.

Most of them are teachers and health workers deployed to different communities where they help to strengthen the capacities of local organizations, establish and support partnerships between communities, promote a culture of peace, gender equality, network and collaborate with other development partners.

The EVP currently covers four countries under the pilot phase, namely Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Guinea Bissau.

The programme is expected to be scaled up and expanded ultimately to cover all ECOWAS Member States
-0- PANA PR/VAO 15April2013

15 april 2013 18:39:18

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