Planning to Test Feasibility: A Market Place in Sierra Leone

Hastings is on the outskirts of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. The civil war in Sierra Leone resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the internal displacement of more than 2 million people (IDPs) and about 1/3 of the population.

The recent Ebola epidemic severely impacted Hastings and brought to its doorstep two Ebola Treatment Centres. Ebola recovery, massive unemployment and other social issues are severely impacting the Hastings community and surrounding towns.

Two thirds of people in Sierra Leone live off less than AUD$2 a day. Unemployment is above 40%, and life expectancy is 48 years for men and 49 years for women respectively. Hastings is prominent for its regional police academy, an airport and a medical training centre. However, there is no post office, market, library or banking facilities in the town. PSA Project is working together with Jeremiah Temple and Architects for Peace on a plan to test the feasibility of a market place with these facilities to create a vibrant community centre in Hastings.

The community market project may be pivotal to the Ebola recovery phase. The market may be an icon of attraction to Hastings and surrounding areas. The predominant aim of the market is to provide employment and business opportunities for amputees, internally displaced people and the unemployed who will serve as traders and employees. The operation of the market will also promote economic activity for local businesses and community groups.

Jeremiah Temple is presently applying this program for a Certificate 4 in Community and Post Disaster Program Management with PSA Project. He sees this as the best value way to test and plan the feasibility and sustainability of it for all.

Jeremiah previous worked with Paul lecturing and helping with real life case studies in the RMIT Masters in Post Disaster Project Management. He also worked supporting Paul at the Hume Council and Brotherhood of St Laurence Community Leadership and Project Management courses. Jeremiah has a Masters in Business Management from Swinburne university and a Bachelor of Community Development. He has won various awards including a Victorian State Government Refugee Award in 2009 for his contribution toward refugee settlement in Australia and the City of Whittlesea Refugee Award in 2011 for supporting refugee communities there.

Jeremiah is working now to return to Sierra Leone and redevelop a resilient, sustainable community around the settlement of Hastings. He could make a good living here in Australia but he wants to return to his homeland and do all he and his supporters can to help it recover and to regenerate the community he loves and remember so well. Together with Architect Lorenza Lazzati, who also works with PSA Project and is on the board of Architects for Peace (AfP) and Yang Bai also from AfP, PSA is presently supporting the modelling to test the feasibility and sustainability of this program to be funded and brought to reality.

Anyone interested in this project please do not hesitate to contact us. Meanwhile we will report further on the progress of this program in the foreseeable future.

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