The Section Director, Amnesty International Sierra Leone (AISL) Section, Solomon Sogbandi, mentioned that, induction of newly elected board members is a normal tradition of the section since the inception of Amnesty International in Sierra Leone. According to the Director, the induction training is primarily done to increase knowledge and understanding of newly elected Board members about their strategic function as Board and the operational mandate of management including the background, mandate, Mission, Vision, structures, policies and activities of Amnesty International at global and national levels.
In a relaxed but confident mood, the newly elected Board Chairman, AISL, Sylvestre Sidie Kallon mentioned that he would provide the requisite leadership for the fulfilment of the Section’s mission and vision and its compliance with global policies and standards. The Chairman further promised that collectively with his colleague board members they will provide oversight supervision for judicious use of the Section’s finances and will ensure protection of the Section’s reputation and resources. “Before, the end of my tenure as Board Chairman, the presence of Amnesty International will be effectively felt in all the political districts of Sierra Leone”
The National Youth Representative who is a co-opted member of the Board, Johannes Davies mentioned that young people have played and will continue to play key role in Amnesty International’s human rights campaign, including in the most recent global campaigns “My Body My Rights” and “Stop Torture”. He further added, “I will champion the capacity building of youths towards mitigation of youth violence and inculcate the culture of human rights in their lives”
One of the newly elected female representatives on the board, Ms Hawanatu Bangura who also doubles as a member of Amnesty International Sierra Leone Artist group and Women’s group confidently stated that women’s participation on the Board and in human rights activism is crucial for achieving gender equality and human rights for all. “We no-longer want to be bystanders but effective and efficient agents of change in communities”. Optimistically, she further mentioned that she would contribute towards membership drive and retention.
The Section Director further revealed that since the inception of the Amnesty Section in Sierra Leone, induction training of newly elected board members have been exclusively done by facilitators from the International Secretariat in London or from the West Africa Regional office in Dakar, Senegal. This is the second time that the Section has conducted induction training for newly elected Board members with the former Board Chairman, Patrick J. Massaquoi as lead facilitator. “This expresses appreciable capacity in the Sierra Leone Section in terms of human resource and a pool of experts,” he concluded.
In his personal opinion the formal Board Chair, T. K Mamoud, who is currently serving as a co-opted member on the board described this year`s induction training as “educative and informative”. He added, “we are exposed to increased knowledge in the new topics added to Amnesty International traditional topics including and not limited to: Leadership skills, Voluntarism, Resources Mobilization, Time Management, Presentation skills & Techniques etc”. He encouraged board members to translate the trainings they have acquired to practical realities that would have positive impact in the board, the section and in their respective regions and communities.