SALWACO Concludes 3-Days National Retreat in Kenema

*26/10/23 – 28/10/23*

The Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO) has concluded a three-day national retreat in Kenema, East Sierra Leone. The events which started on Thursday October 26th 2023 came to a close on Saturday, 28th October and Sunday October 29th was the returning day for staff. Several stakeholders and dignitaries, including invited ministries, departments and agencies witnessed the activities as they unfolded in Kenema at the Albertson Hall, Maxwell – Khobe Street.

On Thursday, moments after the team’s arrival, there was a massive publicity float parade in Kenema which attracted admiration from residents and onlookers. The SALWACO team led by the retreat committee chairman, Joe Ansu Foray who also doubles as the company’s national human resources manager publicized SALWACO activities to residents and justified the need for people to pay the minimal water rates of SALWACO. Later that evening, the SALWACO team entertained the Electricity Distribution Supply Authority (EDSA) in Kenema in a friendly football match at the Eastern Technical University football pitch. The match attracted the presence of the Hon. Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, SALWACO Board Member, Mrs. Rosaline Macarthy who was a representative of the Board Chairman of SALWACO, Ing. Mohamed A. Jalloh, Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director of SALWACO and the entire team.

The retreat was chaired by Mr. Brima Munda Sowa, the Senior Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation who welcomed all and sundry and underscored the significance of the activity. Similar courtesies and pleasantries were shared by the representative of the paramount chief of Nongowa Chiefdom. Mr. Sowa particularly singled out the retreat’s theme ‘revenue generation for sustainable development’ and called on the SALWACO leadership and staff to ensure that the thrust of the theme was fully realized.

‘’The Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation looks forward to SALWACO to initiate a variety of sustainable revenue generation methods and to provide transparent reporting on the environmental and social impact of its revenue generation activities, sharing progress and results with stakeholders’’ – Mr. Sowa had earlier noted. He said that the ministry was ready to support and provide the policy guides and directives to see that departments and agencies are able to effectively carry-out duties. 

The declaration of the opening of the retreat was done by Mrs. Rosaline Macarthy, a Board member of SALWACO who represented the Board Chairman, Ing Mohamed A. Jalloh. The SALWACO MD and Deputy also made statements and expressed optimism to move the company forward in line with the vision of President Julius Maada Bio. Deputy Managing Director SALWACO, Albert Harrison Harvey said that the retreat should be a time of reflection, among other things. MD, Ing George Lamin Vandi in his statement presented the company’s strategic plan and touched on modalities that have been put in place to achieve results. He called on staff members to continue to work as a team for and in the best interest of the institution. “We must align our operations with our strategies, focus on the key deliverables and milestones that will enable us achieve optimum delivery, and move away from matters that have little or no relevance to the successes of the Company to those that are the key expectations of our stakeholders,” the MD had earlier stated.

“SALWACO is delivering President Bio’s Agenda on Water” – Deputy Managing Director SALWACO, Albert Harrison Harvey who later presented the newsletter, which captured major interventions of the company, that had been prepared ahead of the retreat. 

There were specific presentations on revenue generation and regional presentations of regional and station managers of SALWACO on successes, activities and challenges in various areas of operations. There were also presentations on bowser management and customer connection policies, followed by a presentation of targets to big and small stations. All of such presentations were done by various directors of SALWACO, including the Finance, Research and Administration Directors.

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Water Resources spoke on how water was both a social and political commodity and assured that his committee will ensure that SALWACO is able to fully deliver on its mandate. He furthered that they will always be available to give the necessary support and to see that revenue is generated for the company. He promised to push talks about staff welfare and to see that more goodies continue to happen for SALWACO in the best interest of staff and the people of Sierra Leone. 

Delivering the keynote address, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Dr. Sao Kpato Hannah Isata Max-Kyne stated that team work is of the essence and called on the SALWACO leadership to work in line with the priorities of the government more so towards the realization of the big five game changers of the government of President Julius Maada Bio. ‘The expansion on the sanitation aspect of the ministry reflects the recognition of the critical role that safe drinking-water, sanitation, and hygiene play in enhancing human health, overall well-being, and the creation of resilient communities,’’ she had previously noted. 

She expressed appreciation to all stakeholders and commits to ensuring that there would be constant engagements with all players and points on the need for more collaborations at all levels. She emphasized on the linkage between water and sanitation and spoke on how the two can help government is realizing manifesto commitments. She said that the revenue generation theme is very timely and that there is need to engage all persons to achieve same. 

She said that staff represented during the retreat speaks to the fact that all sectors, departments and units are fully represented. The Water Resources Minister called on SALWACO to recruit more female engineers and to see that more positive results are achieved, including placing the recruited female staff in other sections. She added that the retreat makes further sense because it creates a platform for positive interactions. 

She also commended the SALWACO Board for the guidance and invaluable directives and urged that more deliverables are realized. She said that there is also a need to build staff confidence and to have frank and open participations that will help to address crucial issues.

Several other dignitaries made valuable contributions that touched on the need for SALWACO to do more and to achieve positive results. They include, the National Water Resources Management Agency, Guma Valley Water Company, EDSA, SLRA, Ministry of Lands and the NPPA. 

A cocktail party ended the retreat, but before that was a session tagged ‘frank talk’ which allowed SALWACO staff to express views about the company and work attitudes of colleagues with a focus of improving and standardizing working conditions and a smooth working environment. Awards and certificates were also given to deserving employees and retirees as a way of motivation. Positivity, industriousness, staff capacity building and salary increments formed crucial aspects of the discussions. 

The mission of SALWACO is to provide quality water and sanitation services to the provinces at a commercial and environmentally sustainable manner to the satisfaction of customers and the vision is for the entity to be the leading water and sanitation utility in Africa. The Company is providing various schemes of water supply to multitudes of communities in the 14 provincial districts (i.e., gravity water supply, hand-dug wells, boreholes, rainwater harvesting) including conventional water supply to Bo, Pujehun, Bonthe Island (in the South); Kenema (East); Makeni, Magboraka, Mile 91 (North), Port Loko, Lungi, Kambia (North-West). Massive constructions are on-going for optimisation/supply of water to Kambia, Magboraka, Kabala, Moyamba, Pujehun and Kailahun under the 6 Towns Water Supply Project and the Bonthe Water Supply Project. Pipe line projects to commence soon include the Kingdom of Saudi funded 100 boreholes in 81 chiefdoms/93 communities in the 14 provincial districts and the India Exim Bank funded 4 Towns Water Supply Project for Njala-Mokonde (Moyamba District), Mattru (Bonthe District), Daru (Kailahun District) and Mongo (Falaba District).

The company is poised to do more for the people of Sierra Leone and government has openly shown the commitments needed as seen in open declarations and statements. There is therefore strong government commitment to support the water sector as seen by the following remarkable statements: “Government has made significant investments in WASH in Schools and Health Facilities nationwide. My government is equally committed to ensure that water is provided in every corner of this nation, in line with Goal 6 of the SDGs’’ – President, Dr. Julius Maada Bio. ‘

’It is our commitment to undertake all the necessary institutional and regulatory reforms and infrastructural development that will support the sustainable provision of water supply and sanitation services throughout the country,” Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh.‘

‘’Since water is life and sanitation dignity, we will support to strengthen systems, construct water facilities and infrastructure and encourage citizens and residents to collaborate with SALWACO to enhance revenue generation to achieve the SDG Goal 6 by 2030’’ – Ing. Francis Alpha Kallon, Deputy Minister of Water Resources.

‘Lots of developments have taken place and are still taking place in the Water Sector in Sierra Leone.’’ Chairman, Board of Directors, Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO) – Ing. Mohamed Alieu Jalloh. 

©️ *SALWACO Communications Unit*