BUSH FIRE SPARK BEGINS AT LANGUAGE WORKSHOP
This workshop was conducted at the right time.  It is like the blacksmith who sharpened a blunt cutlass to brush a thick bush.  This workshop has sparked a fire in the life of the literacy teachers in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is a virgin bush to be brushed. And the teachers have been equipped for the work.

THANKS AND APPRECIATION
Thanks is due to many people, both individuals and organizations.  I mention LBT, KIBTRALA and TISLL (The Institute for Sierra Leonean Languages) in Freetown for their joint effort which has sponsored the workshop financially. Special thanks goes to Mr Lamin Henry Kargbo, the TISLL program manager and to Mr Tamba Bundor, the chairman for the Kissi Bible Translation and Literacy Association (KIBTRALA) in Monrovia, Liberia. Both persons provided technical and administrative advice for the workshop.  They also advocated on behalf of the Sierra Leonean Kissi people, so this workshop would be successful.   I also extend gratitude to Mr Tamba Kende, the literacy coordinator for KIBTRALA, who also served as an energetic facilitator for this workshop along with his colleague Mr Thomas Samunah. Their deep and accurate knowledge of the language and Kissi alphabet have impacted the Kissi literacy teachers in Sierra Leone so they are now equipped “with cutlass in hand ready to brush the bush.”

PARTICIPANTS

There were two facilitators and 21 literacy teachers at the workshop.

 


LESSONS COVERED
1. The six levels in the Kissi literacy teaching.
2. Vowels and consonants
3. Building sentences in the Kissi language.
4. Pronunciation skills in the language.
5. Helping students to read and write the language
6.  The four steps in the daily lesson.
7.  Literacy teacher’s guide.

The teachers came knowing the language but they don’t know how to prepare, guide and teach the lesson.  After the workshop they were able to prepare, guide and teach the lesson effectively.

CHALLENGES AND  POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
Looking at this heroic task at hand, there are tremendous challenges ahead of us. The challenges are:

QUALIFIED TEACHERS
There is an alarming need for qualified teachers. This is one of the problems that is affecting the Kissi literacy learning in this country. The trained and qualified teachers that we have to run these seven literacy centers are too scanty. Without qualified personnel the training will not be effective in these centers. We need sufficient teachers for these centers that we have established. This need to be taken into consideration, or else the centers will soon diminished and extinct.

In order for our people to have quality education in their native language, we need to continue to have these teacher training workshops that we have planned. These workshops will help our teachers to be effective in their work.

OFFICE SUPPLIES
We have seven centers for the Kissi literacy program. But there is an urgent need for office supplies such as blackboards, paper, chalk, textbooks, etc. Moreover, for us to have effective classes, we must have these items at hand. All of the centers need these materials.

The world today is faced with financial difficulty, but office supplies are a serious need for the smooth operation of this program. There is saying,  “A famer cannot cultivate large portion of land without him having sufficient working tools at hand.” Therefore, for this program to regain her glory there should be office supplies, so that effective work can start.

OFFICE SPACE
Office space is also an alarming need for the Kissi language program. For the past years, the program has been running without office space. Because of the absence of the office space there were  lots of lapses in the program. Also the program was haphazard and chaotic. Therefore, there is an urgent need for office space for proper coordination.

To coordinate a program like this effectively there should be an office space for the efficiency of the work. Office space also provided a corridor for dialogue in case of any deficiency in the field of work. It also helped in term of reporting and filing of documents etc. It makes the program effective and admirable.

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, I want to congratulate all those who participated financially, morally and physically in this Kissi literacy teacher’s workshop. I am also thankful to the almighty God who works in the minds of those denominations or mission heads for their kind financial support, even though things are difficult. May the God who started this good work in you may carry it to completion.