Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, is remarkably common among young people around the world. In fact, some experts estimate that as much as 77% of the global population has some level of anxiety regarding public speaking, which Sierra Leone is not an exception. This common phobia can be linked to the fear of being embarrassed in public or rejected. In an effort to mitigate this common phobia, Sierra Dream, a young developmental organization founded by Mohamed Sahr Fofanah is set to inaugurate its maiden Western Rural Area District Inter-Secondary School Debate Championship with the theme “Engaging Pupils on Constructive Dialogue For Social Cohesion.”
The Debating Championship will see six schools in the Western Rural Area District going head-to-head to win the competition. The six schools are as follow;
- War Wounded Academy, Grafton
- Salam Islamic Secondary School, Kossoh Town
- Hutingdon Secondary School, Jui
- Peninsula Secondary School, Waterloo
- Agape Secondary School, Rokel
- Kellys Rural Secondary School, Hastings
The event will take place on the 24th February 2022 at the Grafton Police Barracks at 10:00 AM. The entrance fee for this historical event is just a little Le 5,000.
Abu Bakarr Jalloh had an interview with the founder of Sierra Dream, Mohamed Sahr Fofanah, to tell us what inspired him to bring up such a wonderful initiative.
Q. First of all who is Mohamed Sahr Fofanah?
Answer: Mohamed Sahr Fofanah is a young Sierra Leonean who is passionate about promoting education across all levels. He is currently a soon-to-be graduate of Njala University with a B.Sc Honors in Agricultural Economics. I served in the Student Representatives Council for two consecutive years; 2019/2020 and 2020/2021. After serving as an SRC member, during the 2020/2021 academic year I was appointed as the Minister of Finance, Students’ Union Government, Njala University, Njala Campus. I also severed in so many capacities and has proved to be outstanding.
During my tenure as the Minister of Finance at Njala University, I instituted so many financial policies which proven to create a positive impact in the lives of the general students’ body. Because of my stringent fiscal and monetary policies, I was awarded as the cabinet member of the 2020/2021 academic year.
Q. What inspired you to initiate an Inter-School Debate in your district?
Answer: Public speaking is a major challenge for school-going pupils in Sierra Leone most especially for schools around the Western Rural Area District as they do not have the platform in which they can execute what they’ve been taught in the classroom. So I felt the need that, having a formidable Inter-school debating competition that will involve schools cut across the district will aid to mitigate the problem of glossophobia. It will also serve as a motivation and source of inspiration to become a public speaker and take public speaking as a profession. We want to see pupils engage in constructive dialogue for societal cohesion, that is pupils debate about topics that are more relevant in our society rather than things that will deviate their focus from more important issues. On that day we want to see pupils showcase their different public speaking, debating, and research talents so that other schools will also reciprocate the same. It is going to be a friendly competition. As an organization, we also want to contribute to the flagship program of the government, the Free Quality Education.
Q. What are your expectations?
Answer: Our expectations are very high on that day as we expect over 80% of the pupils on that day to be inspired, motivated and also gain a lot in terms of their academics. All schools have equal chances and we are expecting them to be well prepared to execute what they have been taught. It’s going to be a more memorable event for schools around this district.
For more information and inquiries contact Mohamed Sahr Fofanah on WhatsApp +23277614986