From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, 7 Successful Innovations for Maternal & Child Health
By Bintu Aminata Sesay
May 19, 2010, 11:11

The competition by Innovations, an initiative of Concern Worldwide that ended on the 5th March 2010 received 2,690 (two thousand six hundred and ninety) ideas during the one month call for ideas campaign. Twenty nine (29) ideas were selected for the semi-finals after a rigorous assessment process. Of these 29 ideas, seven (7) were chosen by a panel of judges to move on to the finals stage of the competition. These seven (7) final innovative ideas came from a broad range of people across Sierra Leone, including 2 students, a farmer, a health counselor, a TV presenter, an unemployed youth and an NGO worker.

It could be recalled that from 3rd to 5th May 2010, twenty nine (29) people from across the country gathered at Hotel Barmoi to present their ideas to a carefully selected panel of national and international judges, charged with the responsibility of choosing the best ideas for the finals. The semi finalists, some of whom had no educational background, had an opportunity to present their ideas in the language of their choice after being coached by facilitators trained by Concern Worldwide. These twenty nine individual ideas were selected by a pool of national and international assessors who scrutinized the ideas impartially soon after the campaign.

According to the Global Director of Innovations, Dr. Balwant Singh, who visited Sierra Leone for the semi­finals, he was deeply impressed by the number of Sierra Leoneans who submitted ideas and by the variety and quality of the ideas put forward. He said throughout the semi-finals they were struck by the power of the ideas that came from people from all walks of life, adding that they are committed to working with the government of Sierra Leone in improving the health of mothers, babies, and children.

"The Everyone Can Save A Life campaign called on everyone in Sierra Leone to be part of helping to solve a particular problem relating to maternal and infant mortality, specifically People who claimed that health workers perform poorly and have poor attitudes, while Health workers say that they work under difficult circumstances and get little support" he said.

The finals of the competition are scheduled for 9th and 10th of June 2010 in Freetown where the seven finalists will receive mentoring support to help them develop their ideas prior to the event. At the end of the finals, up to three winning ideas will be selected for implementation at district level and the winners will receive a cash prize not yet disclosed.



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