African Minerals, a mining company established by consumate businessman, Frank Timis. is making headways in West Africa, especially in sierra Leone. The Corporate, Social Safety and Community Relations department of African Minerals (SL) Ltd. has engaged primary and secondary school pupils, teachers and head teachers in their latest strategy to promote safety measures and increase awareness around hazards associated with rail operations in the north of the country. On Tuesday October 11, 2011 the team was in Maforki chiefdom, Port Loko district. Almost all schools in the affected chiefdoms of Tonkolili, Bombali and Port Loko districts have been targeted and school authorities consulted and involved in the proper arrangement and execution of the one-month long sensitization effort. The campaign realized the role of the school communities and the vulnerability of pupils, hence the need to constructively engage them in the classrooms and during communal meetings.
Initially, some thirty-five rallying points, called centers, had each brought together at least six representatives from between eight and nine villages to several large meetings where a safety sensitisation was being held. The rail safety sensitisation community meetings, which are ongoing since they were inaugurated in September, would run through to October 15, 2011 by which time the team of dedicated safety officers, corporate assistants and communications support staff would have completed the first in a series of planned sensitisation campaigns. The message reads: “At crossing points you must stop, look, listen and you will stay alive.” This simple message, around safety and hazards associated with railway operations and trains, supported by universally accepted safety measures, is captured in videos and screened on giant projector with vivid graphics, all of them self-explanatory.
A slogan developed by community people in areas covered so far is: “LIFE IS ONE, LOOK AFTER IT.” This is part of AML’s comprehensive plans to complete the rail facilities ahead of full scale supply as scheduled. The message was short and could be easily translated into interesting local slangs by people living in villages along the company’s 200 kilometer long railway across the Tonkolili, Bombali and Port Loko districts, north of the country. The meetings have been planned to be highly interactive so that suggestions and concerns raised by community people could be further discussed in ongoing planning and where necessary incorporated into subsequent strategies. Feedbacks so far indicate that the message was simple to understand.
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