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UNIMAK hosting IMF Seminar on Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa Region

On Monday, 30th November 2015 UNIMAK will host a seminar on the October 2015 edition of the Regional Economic Outlook (REO) for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The Africa REO is produced twice a year by the African Department of the IMF, and complements the IMFs World Economic Outlook. The October 2015 REO focuses on:
i) the continuous deterioration in global external environment and implications for African countries;
ii) competitiveness in sub-Saharan Africa;
iii) inequality and economic outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa.
The seminar will be chaired by Rev. Prof. Joseph. A. Turay, Vice Chancellor, UNIMAK, and will draw participants from various faculties of UNIMAK, the office of the Mayor, Makeni City, Makeni District Council, the District Budget Oversight Committee, Makeni, the private sector of Makeni and Civil Society Organizations.

The program of events, and the invitation to participants are shown below.

imf programme

IMF seminar

New UNIMAK Laboratory will be World-Class Research and Teaching Facility

lab2The University of Makeni (UNIMAK) Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory was established as a collaboration between the University of Makeni, Sierra Leone, and the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. The project was facilitated by funding from the Wellcome Trust to enable rapid sequencing of Ebola virus genomes during the recent Ebola virus disease epidemic in Sierra Leone. During the epidemic, the laboratory was established at the Mateneh Ebola Treatment Centre, but was relocated to UNIMAK near the end of the epidemic. The laboratory now forms an integral part of the Makeni Biomedical and Biotechnology Research Platform, which was developed following the recent Ebola Virus outbreak in West Africa.

lab1The extent of the outbreak and the response illustrated the limited capacity of Sierra Leone to respond to such an emergency without significant external investment and involvement of international NGOs. The research centre is designed to function as both a research and training platform, and is intended as a centre for Sierra Leone to continue building on recent advances in capacity and knowledge, to provide trained scientists and technicians who can rapidly respond should such a crisis emerge, and to provide a world-class research facility for both national and international researchers.

lab4Within the UNIMAK laboratory, research scientists and students are trained in the latest research and laboratory techniques, as well providing a platform for extensive research projects throughout Sierra Leone. The laboratory contains state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, including the Ion Torrent ® PGM and Ion Chef® Next Generation Sequencing platform (Thermo Scientific), multiple real-time (Roche, Thermo Scientific) and standard PCR machines, biological safety hoods (level 1 and 2), and facilities for ELISA experiments. Equipment comes from a range of sources, including funding from Universities of Cambridge and Makeni, as well as generous donations from local and international NGOs. In collaboration with the Holy Spirit Molecular Biology and Immunology laboratory, researchers can also access to flow cytometry and biological safety level 3 facilities.

lab3The UNIMAK laboratory currently forms an integral part of the Ebola Outbreak Sequencing Service, in collaboration with government and non-governmental authorities, providing critical sequencing and phylogenetic information on new cases of infection, assisting with tracing the source of new infections. Current projects are focused on investigating diseases beyond Ebola, including rare and imported pathogens that may mimic the symptoms of Ebola Virus infection. In addition, more common infections are being studied at the centre, with the aim of monitoring the impact of pathogens on the community in Sierra Leone.

In the medium term, the Centre will form a part of the newly established University of Makeni Public Health Faculty. The faculty will offer Diplomas and Bachelors Degrees in Public Health, Epidemiology, Laboratory Skills and Pharmacology. The long-term goal of the project is to provide the University of Makeni, and Sierra Leone more broadly, with a world-class research and teaching facility, with local expertise that can support the prevention or containment of future disease outbreaks.

Read more about the background to this story here

UNIMAK presents paper at Africa Research Summit

Dr. Raoul Emeric Guetiya Wadoum, UNIMAK‘s Head of Department for Public Health and Allied Sciences, received an award for a paper presented at the UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit (UNESCO-MARS) held on 19th/20th October in Geneva, Switzerland.

The conference was planned as an opportunity for all those engaged and interested in health and life science research in Africa to learn about the full spectrum of ground-breaking scientific research currently underway, and prepare for the road ahead in Africa’s development as an international hub for research excellence and scientific innovation.

Dr. Raoul’s paper concluded: “Researchers across the world should come together to discuss the generation, sharing and dissemination of research data and integrate patients association in defining new policies . Such successful integration has been achieved with HIV/AIDS patients association and actually transfers successfully to Ebola survivors association in Makeni, Sierra Leone.”

Follow this link for more details of the paper ….

Update of the University of Makeni 2014-2015


As we end the academic year, we thank our God for accompanying us in our journey. It is his work and kingdom that we are invited to create.  Our thanks and appreciation to our Chancellor, Bishop Natalio Paganelli,  who has been appointed by  the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to shepherd  the Church of the Diocese of Makeni.  The episcopal consecration of Bishop Paganelli will take place on the 31 of October, 2015.

We have been supported and accompanied by numerous partners, benefactors and friends in these challenging moments. We are grateful and thankful for the many sacrifices they have made. We congratulate his excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and his government  for providing leadership in the fight against the Ebola epidemic and gradually leading us to a post-Ebola recovery stage.


The University re-opened in March 2015 with preparations in place to respond to any emergency in our campuses. As a University,   we had a visible presence in the fight against the epidemic by supporting the mobilisation, psycho-social and the clinical pillars in the Bombali District Emergency Response Task Force.   These initiatives have galvanised into partnerships with European and African Universities in establishing a legacy bio three level safety infectious disease research laboratory at the Sylvanus Koroma Campus, Yoni. In particular, we express our gratitude to the University of Cambridge, through the Pathology Department, Division of   Virology directed by Prof Ian Goodfellow; and the University of Tor Vergata , Rome with the support of Prof. Vittorio Colizi.    These partnerships would strengthen our School of Public Health and Allied Sciences in training, preparing lab technicians and eventually become an international centre for research bringing scientists from all over the world and building the scientific culture in our country.  We have also leveraged the opportunities provided by this crisis to strengthen our health systems by obtaining funds to construct a new School of Public Health and Allied Sciences at the Sylvanus  Koroma Campus.

Cooperation from staff during the Ebola crisis has been high, with low lecturer absentee rate, and there has been an appreciable turn out of students despite the outbreak leading to strong academic performance.  Student enrolment for the academic was well over a thousand and four hundred for both campuses. We have completed the academic year successfully with the commitment of both staff and students.  The academic year ended with an academic and administrative staff retreat on the UNIMAK’s new strategic plan 2015 -2020.  The new academic calendar is on our University website and classes would commence in November 2015.

Senate has met and approved the next cohort of students for graduation in 2016. We continue to explore diverse ways of promoting staff development and scholarships have been obtained for our staff in Italy, China, Korea, and Ghana. We will continue collaboration with partners and solicit support from the government in securing scholarships for further staff development.

The following staff will proceed for further studies:

  1. Collins Owens Cole:   Masters degree in Computer Studies and Information Systems in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana and supported by the Makeni Trust Fund, UK and UNIMAK.
  2. Charles Turay: Masters in Mineral Resource Economics and Sustainable development;  a one  year scholarship awarded by the University of Bologna, Italy.
  3. AlhaJi Kargbo: Masters in International Development; a  scholarship awarded by the University of Pavia, Italy


We want to thank Dr. Carmen Valle and Tamsin Evans who have steered the ship of our Mental Health Program with the European Union for the past four years. With the coalition members of the mental health in Sierra Leone, great strides have been made in establishing strong coalition and an enabling environment for training and advocacy for mental health services.

We welcome Dr. Rebecca Esliker, with a doctorate in Clinical Psychology, who will start our department of Psychology, UNIMAK and will be the technical consultant for our Mental Health program in Sierra Leone.

Aligning our curriculum with the needs of the country in order to be relevant and provide the human capital for our nation has been a priority for UNIMAK. We have introduced an executive MBA in impact entrepreneurship last year, in partnership with over six universities in Europe and Africa, in a bid to embed entrepreneurship in tertiary education in Africa and filling the much needed gap of social impact entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone.  Agriculture and Food Processing has also been introduced in collaboration with the University of Milan and Njala University.

We have signed an MOU with the Imperial College of Ghana to provide training in vocational and technical sciences as a start towards building the engineering component of the University. We are very much aware of the need to provide the needed human capital in civil, mechanical, mining and electrical engineering.  There is a huge deficit in the sciences in our country and we intend building a scientific culture with our partners by using the various laboratories to strengthen the biological sciences and other pure sciences thus paving the way for science education in the University.

Our Law department of the University has produced its first crop of lawyers who have gone through Law School and have been called to the bar. We are also grateful to the Government of Sierra Leone   for providing the enabling environment in democratising legal education by amending the Legal Practitioners Act allowing graduates from UNIMAK and any other recognised Universities to engage in legal practice in Sierra Leone. We are working towards diversifying legal training and fill the gap in providing the legal education in environmental law, civil law, and mining law.



Our community service programs on governance, social transformation and mental health are impacting our communities and promoting the common good. We have also completed special needs training for the visual impaired professional certificate program funded by Hellen Keller. Indeed building resilient communities is a priority of UNIMAK.   A partnership with the Special Needs department of the University of Winneba , Ghana , is being worked out.

A Practical Legal Education project was designed   to tap the latent access to justice potential of the University of Makeni Law Department‘s academic staff and students. The project engaged in five main lines of work: a paralegal assistance in the prison and police station b) legal representation for criminal defendants. C.) Paralegal representation to women d) civil representation for women, e) student internship. The University of Makeni, through its Law Clinic, appeared almost in every court sitting in Makeni and our paralegals provided consistent presence in the police stations and local courts.


We are quite aware that these are challenging times for funding for tertiary education in Sierra Leone.  And so we will work with our partners to secure funds for the development of the University. However, we are grateful to our partners who are supporting us in providing the enabling environment for our students to flourish.  We are also grateful to the Bombali district Union for taking the bold initiative in constructing a hostel, library and other facilities for our Students at UNIMAK.

Finally, we pledge our support and commitment in providing educational services in building our nation, Sierra Leone.

UNIMAK Embarks On Outreach Programs For Ebola Affected Community

As the University of Makeni stands for building a civilisation of love, it is therefore striving to attain this vision through its various programs both within the university and at community level. On Saturday 12th September 2015 the Development Studies Department of UNIMAK organized two grand functions, one held in the university auditorium and the other at an Ebola hit community.

IMG_0656The one held at the college was the Annual Development Studies Seminar 2015. In his opening remarks, the Head of the Development Studies Department, Mr Unisa P Kamara, said the occasion was both an educative and interactive session for outgoing students of the department as they are on the verge of leaving the institution to face the wider world where they will be expected to implement theories and practical work they have learnt at the university.

IMG_0671He admonished them not to be emotionally attached to either the college or a specific individual, as they will one day quit the confines of the institution and face numerous challenges in life. He called on all to be steadfast and provide good leadership for the country when they have graduated.

IMG_0666Dr Fr. Francis Shedu Sesay, Dean of Academic Affairs, told scores of jubilant students at the auditorium that all that they have studied in the past for four years must be used to develop people. He added that the seminar conducted for the students might be the end at their time at the university, but it can as well be the beginning to effect community service through values learnt at the institution.

IMG_0664The keynote speaker, Rev Fr. Peter Conteh, said as Development Agents, people must be at the centre of their development activities. He compared the role of a development worker to that of a steward or a waiter in a restaurant. Fr Peter therefore said the intervention of any development animator must be relevant, appropriate, effective and timely.

Outreach Program
IMG_0681On the same day, forty-five year two students of the Development Studies Department embarked on an outreach program at Makomp Dorong, an Ebola affected community in the Bombali Shebora Chiefdom of Bombali District.
IMG_0682Mr Gerald Sesay, a lecturer at the department, said as 21st September marks International Peace Day, they thought it fit as a university and a department to engage community people, especially those hit hard by the Ebola Virus Disease, when a lot of conflicts arose, for example by alerting health workers for a sick person to be taken for treatment, or quarantining of people, so the outreach program therefore aimed at restoring peace and confidence among the people.

IMG_0709Considering one of the three pillars of the University, which is community services, they employed conflict resolving skills to bring lasting peace in a community where at the height of Ebola a lot of differences among the people were created. It was therefore an opportunity for community people to express their ordeals during  the peak of the crisis in their village.

IMG_0699The engagement was indeed lively and fruitful as students also were able to gain a lot from the community members in terms of knowing their culture, tradition and their way of life. The interaction unravelled the daunting challenges the community faced and solutions were offered. At the end, many did breathe a sigh of relief as they were able to accept their long term enemies and ready to forge ahead with their normal routines.