Working Towards a Better Sierra Leone
William Clarkson in Sierra Leone
I left Sierra Leone for the Netherlands in 1999 and earned my bachelor's degree in International Business & Management Studies at the Rotterdam Business School. After my studies, I helped various Dutch businesses to enter the African market and specialized in project management. I highly believe in the effectiveness of the CD4D program and previously participated in its predecessor project Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals (TRQN) which motivated me to return to my home country and apply my skills to transfer my knowledge and expertise in various institutions.
Since the start of TRQN, I have been on 7 assignments. Over time I was able to see its impact. My very first assignment was at the Sierra Leone Ports Authority and it certainly made the most remarkable improvements with regards to their business infrastructure. On another assignment, I helped put together the feasibility studies - a research report- to construct a local playground as the Municipality of Freetown had no safe areas for children to play in. On yet another TRQN assignment, I went to the Sierra Leone Chamber for Agribusiness Development (SLeCAD) - an organization of local farmers and entrepreneurs - whereby I helped in expanding their business strategy from exporting packaging to adding value to local products which led to helping the community.
In July 2018, I concluded my second assignment with CD4D in Sierra Leone at the Institute of Advanced Management and Technology (IAMTECH) in Freetown. There, my focus was on re-designing the course curriculum, producing course manuals, submitting examination questions and training the thesis staff and lecturers.
The goal on my mind is for the university to meet the required national grading standards. There is still quite some work to be done. From IAMTECH's side, course schedules, general codes of conduct and classroom equipment could be improved upon. Among students, greater discipline is also desirable as they often lack clear semester timetables which hampers their time management.
"I find this project very interesting because it offers a window of opportunity to contribute to one's home country away from home. “
The true impact of my efforts will only be seen in time. However, I have already witnessed that students are better prepared to approach thesis writing and can articulate their work through digital presentations. Moreover, students have been prepared for the work place after graduation as they acquired a project-based approach to writing. It is wonderful to see how the standards of teaching and student participation increased exceptionally in the classroom.
"I am truly grateful for the opportunities CD4D brought me. The assignment has connected me more to my home country and because I am more aware of the needs and demands, I am better able to organize a third return trip."