As part of its continued support and partnership with the government of Sierra Leone to the education sector, Orange Sierra Leone, one of the leading telecommunications operator in the country, through its Corporate Social Responsibility Unit, Orange Foundation, on Friday 23rd July, 2021, donated a 500kva generator to the Njala University at a ceremony held at the Mokonde campus at Njala. Present at the ceremony were senior management staff of Orange-SL, which included The Annie Winnie Katta, Head of PR, Bollor Sesay, Head of Direct Sales, Madam Haffie Hafner, Acting CEO and Secretary General, Director of Program, Alpha Bundu, HR Director, Agnes Songa, while the government delegation consisted of Mohamed Rahman Swaray, Information Minister, Deputy Minister of Energy, Dr. Eldred Taylor, and Deputy Minister of Higher Education.
Speaking during the handing over ceremony, Ms. Jestina Betts, Orange Foundation’s Director said that the donation is part of the company’s commitment of $1.5 million that was pledged in material support to the Free Quality Education program of the government, after President Bio introduced the program, adding that the project reflects Orange’s commitment to contribute, engage and support sustainable development in Sierra Leone.
She furthered that the digitization of educational methods and the increasing availability of modern electronic communication gadgets, has presented a huge demand for electricity supply to power those systems. Thus the increasing demand for power in Pre-Schools, Primary, Secondary or Tertiary institutions, as a result of technological advancement cannot be understated, as it is the new norm globally for the use of handled devices in lecture rooms and incorporating same into lesson plans, thereby increasing dependence on energy to stay on top of lectures and lessons and ensure that students get quality education. She stressed that it is against this backdrop that Orange Foundation, on behalf of Orange SL, is making the donation of a 500 kva generator to support Njala University in addressing the growing need of power supply.
Updating her audience of the company’s activities in respect of its pledge to support the government’s FQE,
She stated that the company recently built and furnished three modern Pre-Learning Centers in three districts, supported schools with Labs and introduced the Super Coder programs and distribution of Free Sanitary Pads to female students in secondary schools across the country.
She stated that Orange is an essential brand in the country, determined to improve the daily lives of the people of Sierra Leone, through the provision of extraordinary digital experiences and connectivity.
Jestina Betts disclosed Orange is the cheapest mobile operator with the widest mobile network connectivity of over 450 sites across the country. She noted that the company does not only put premium on services and quality delivery, but takes pride in giving back to the nation, and has had strong attachment to Njala, with the donation of over 1,500 pieces of desk and chairs, ICT Lab equipment to the Njala University Bo and Mokonde campuses and has supported the Miss Njala Beauty contest for the past 5 years, also offering support to the Njala hospital.
In his Keynote address, Chief Minister, Jocob Jusu Saffa, expressed gratitude to Orange-SL for such great and timely gesture, adding that the New Direction government is determined and committed to develop the human capital and the middle man power of the country and this has been the rationale and driving force behind His Excellency’s introduction of the Free Quality Education program. He furthered that government has made several efforts in developing the education sector, with the improvement of skills training centers, increasing recruitment of, and timely payment of salaries to, teachers and lecturers.
In respect of the energy sector, J.J. Saffa said that the government is committed to give a final solution to energy supply, improve on water supply and infrastructure. He furthered that government will work with the management of the University to develop a business model for the effective management of the University. Noting that Njala’s record of producing expert agriculturists, he admonished the management to focus on that sector and produce more Agriculturists that will work in the Ministry of Agriculture, but also Entrepreneurs in Agriculture.
He call on other Companies to emulate the example of Orange-SL, adding that they have contributed tremendously to the development of the education sector and has saved the government from a lot of cost.
Professor Andrew Baimba, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, in his contribution, commended Orange for boosting the Njala University, stating that energy supply, water and Infrastructure have been major challenges for the campus. He stated that Njala College was established in 1964 and transformed to a University in 2005. He disclosed that students and lecturers have been suffering from absence of energy supply, as the NU is not connected to any grid, and this has had its toll on their academic work and researches. He maintained that the university has contributed greatly to the development of the country through the number of experts it has produced over the years.
This kind of gesture to the Njala University is just one among the many societal initiatives in the Orange CSR portfolio in its support to Education in the country and as well as national development.
The ceremony was climaxed with the official handing over of the 500KVA generator to the authorities.