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Friday, February 1, 2019

Swachh Bharat .. ..National Cleaning day initiative in Sierra Leone

A new campaign introduced by the country's president, has called on people to get out on the streets and clean in order to improve everyone's hygiene. Cleaning days are held on the first Saturday of each month.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, campaign was launched on 2nd Oct 2014 at Rajghat by our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji.  The mastermind scheme  is India's largest cleanliness drive to date with three million government employees and students from all parts of India participating in 4,041 cities, towns, and rural areas.The campaign's official name is in Hindi and translates to "Clean India Mission" in English. The objectives of Swachh Bharat include eliminating open defecation through the construction of household-owned and community-owned toilets and establishing an accountable mechanism of monitoring toilet use.  In Dec 2014, SYMA too launched a Swach Triplicane programme, trying to clean the streets and tried keeping it clean by employing conservancy staff for a period of 5 months or so .. .. sadly, we could not sustain that for long !

The new campaign mentioned in first para, is a call given by the President of an African Nation.  Sierra Leone  is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa.  Sierra Leone is a constitutional republic with a directly elected president and a unicameral legislature. Sierra Leone was a British Crown Colony from 1808 to 1961. Sierra Leone became independent from the United Kingdom on 27 April 1961, led by Sir Milton Margai. In May 1962, Sierra Leone held its first general elections as an independent nation. On 19 April 1971, Siaka Stevens' government abolished Sierra Leone's parliamentary government system and declared Sierra Leone a presidential republic with Stevens as the country's first president.

In April 1992, the Sierra Leone military toppled Momoh from power. In January 1996, the military government under Brigadier GeneralJulius Maada Bio returned the country to multi-party democracy.  Sierra Leone has had an uninterrupted democracy from 1998 to present. In January 2002,  the civil war  was ended with  the rebels defeated by military force with the help and support of Ecowas, the British government, the African Union, and the United Nations.About 16 ethnic groups inhabit Sierra Leone, each with its own language and customs. The two largest and most influential are the Temne and Mende.

Sierra Leone has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base. It is also among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite, is a major producer of gold, and has one of the world's largest deposits of rutile. Sierra Leone is home to the third-largest natural harbour in the world. Despite this natural wealth, 53% of its population lived in poverty in 2011.

Julius Maada Bio is the 5th and current president of Sierra Leone since April 4, 2018. He is a retired Brigadier General in the Sierra Leone Army and he was the military Head of State of Sierra Leone from January 16, 1996 to March 29, 1996 under the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) military Junta government. Bio was the presidential candidate of the main opposition Sierra Leone People's Party. He defeated Samura Kamara of the ruling All People's Congress in the runoff vote of the 2018 Sierra Leone presidential election with 51.8% of the votes to Kamara"s 48.2%.   Bio succeeded Ernest Bai Koroma as president, who was constitutionally ineligible to run for the presidency having served the maximum two five year terms.

Bio has a Masters Degree in International Affairs from American University in Washington, DC. Bio is also a cadet graduate from Sierra Leone prestigious Benguema Military Academy.  He is in news for this good intitiative.  As part of his strategies to sanitize and reform Sierra Leone, His Excellency President Brigadier Retired Julius Maada Bio has invoked a National Cleaning Day exercise scheduled for every 1st Saturday of each month and also reintroducing Sunday trading and commercial activities in the country.  BBC reports that this is not the first time for a national cleaning to be instituted by government. The National Provisional Ruling Council government of Captain Valentine Strasser first introduced a national cleaning day on the last Saturday of every month.

That practice disappeared into thin air just after the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) handed over power to a civilian government in 1996.Some people  welcomed the reintroduction of the national cleaning day, saying that it would help to make the country very tidy and clean at all times. They expressed hope that it would be sustained for the foreseeable future.There have been several pleas from traders and members of the public for the reintroduction of Sunday trading, which was halted during the Ebola crisis in 2014

We appreciate every good initiative and every effort to clean and good hygiene

With regards – S. Sampathkumar                                                               
1st Feb 2019.

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