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Edmonton: SLAA President presents report at AGM

By  | 18 December 2019 at 10:45 | 1905 views

The president of The Sierra Leone Association of Alberta (SLAA) Dr. Abu Conteh (photo), on Saturday 7 December 2019, announced the completion of one of the many projects his executive team has been implementing. It is the conclusion of a census of Sierra Leoneans living in Edmonton and surrounding areas, including compatriots who work out of town but are based in this city.

Dr. Conteh made the announcement in his president’s report, during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association. “The completion of the census is crucial because the results help us to get a clearer picture of the demographic structure of our membership,” he said. “With finer details, rather than mere estimates, we can plan and implement more effectively.”

The SLAA president also updated members on the status of all the other projects. One of them is the planned purchase of a community vehicle. This project got a big boost; with the recent receipt of a $13,000 grant from the Government of Alberta. The money is being provided under the province’s Community Investment Program (CIP). The grant is approximately half of the total amount of cash SLAA needs to buy a passenger van for community use. “We now have to raise the remaining amount, as an association,” the president explained. “In effect, SLAA has to match the funds provided through this provincial grant, to complete our vehicle acquisition project.”

Dr Conteh took office following his election in October 2018. The core of his campaign manifesto had the following 14 projects as targets of his presidency:
1) Census
2) Hall Acquisition
3) Consular Services
4) Social, Cultural, and Religious Projects
5) Skilled Workers’ Projects
6) Networking with Sierra Leoneans in other provinces
7) Linking New Sierra Leoneans to available resources
8) Networking with various levels of government (municipal, provincial, federal)
9) Values Project (focus on instilling and promoting respect, compassion, etc.)
10) Awards
11) Newsletter & Website
12) Education Foundation
13) Support for Seniors
14) Vehicle Acquisition

“Most of these projects are continuous or ongoing, by their very nature,” Dr. Conteh noted. “Some of them are composite projects, comprising smaller and more specific events or sub-projects,” Dr. Conteh noted. “Examples of these are the Social, Cultural, and Religious Projects; the Seniors’ Project; and the Education Foundation.”
Dr. Conteh used a slideshow in presenting his report; giving details as he delivered his report. For each project, he reminded members about its rationale, specified how much progress has been made so far, and what needs to be done moving forward. The SLAA president also informed the meeting that the Newsletter/Website Project is being funded by Edmonton Multicultural Coalition.

Later in the slide presentation, the president highlighted other notable events which occurred in the community in the past year. Among them were low points like the deaths of some members of the association. The slideshow featured photos of those members who passed away. There was a pause in the president’s presentation, as the meeting observed a moment of silence. This, in honour of the deceased.
In order to collect population and socio-demographic data for planning purposes, the SLAA Census Committee designed and administered a survey questionnaire to community members. Once completed, they submitted the data for analysis. This was where SLAA member Alimamy Mansaray, came in as an expert volunteer. A business analyst with City of Edmonton, Alimamy analyzed the findings. He then prepared a report of his analysis, which he presented to attendees at the AGM.
John Elliott, Auditor of SLAA, also used a projector to present spreadsheets which showed key indicators of the financial health of the organization. “This is a third quarter report, covering operations from January 1 to September 30, 2019,” John Elliott noted.

SLAA auditor John Elliott

Salimatu Jaffa and Fatima Turay were among other SLAA members who made presentations at the AGM. Salimatu, head of the Membership and Finance Committee made the case for members to pay registration fees and monthly subscriptions. “The results of the census give us a fair idea of the demographic composition of our community,” Salimatu observed. “We now need to start making steady financial contributions, to strengthen us as an association,” she urged. “When we pay our dues, we gain more respect as a body, and we stand on firmer ground in seeking outside funding for our projects”

Alimamy Mansaray analysing a survey on Edmonton’s Sierra Leonean population

Fatima Turay who heads the Social, Cultural, and Religious Committee announced SLAA’s plans for this Christmas. A special event is scheduled to take place at The Northmount Community Hall in Edmonton, on Sunday 22 December 2019. The goal is to have SLAA members come together and socialize in the festive spirit of the season. “We have a lot of goodies in store; enough to go around, especially for the children,” Fatima announced.

The AGM was held at the north campus of Al Mustafa Islamic Academy in Edmonton. It was chaired by Former SLAA President Augustine Marah.

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