By: Mustapha Momoh, Communications Volunteer Sierra Leone YMCA
The newly elected board chairman of the Sierra Leone YMCA, Aiah Hindolo Kpakiwa envisions a YMCA with an informed and vibrant membership with a well-motivated staff.
He made this disclosure at the 1st quadrennial business meeting of the Sierra Leone YMCA held in Kenema on the 30th November, 2019.
Aiah Hindolo Kpakiwa holds a Masters in Politics and International Relations (Diplomatic Studies) from Keele University in the United Kingdom, Certificate in International Marketing and Global Competitiveness at the National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development, (NIESBUD), NOIDA, India and a B.Sc (Honors) in Business Administration from the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), University of Sierra Leone.
According to him, his mother taught him to be committed to public service when he was only seven years old. “My parents had given me the best gift that a parent can give a child by working hard to send me to school.
Fortunately though, my family had realized the importance of my desire for education and was able to barely afford to pay for my education’’, he noted.
Through the influences of both his parents who had no educational background, Aiah Hindolo Kpakiwa fell in love with public service at an early age which has today brought him to the position of National chairman of YMCA, one of the oldest and longest youth serving orgainisations in Sierra Leone.
Aiah Hindolo Kpakiwa followed this passion to the university where he had the opportunity to gain an experience in public service. He served as the Secretary General of the Students Union of the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), University of Sierra Leone. At the completion of his undergraduate studies, he was employed as an Administrative Assistant and also worked as the Associate Program Manager for the National Council for Technical, Vocational and other academic Awards (NCTVA), Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
It wasn’t more challenging working in the public sector, so he decided to challenge himself with a private sector job. In this quest, he had a call to quit with his full time job in the Public sector and opted in for an intern role at the Standard Chartered Bank, Sierra Leone. While at the bank, Aiah got another offer from the Great Missoula Family YMCA for an internship position for three months; and due to the job flexibility at the Standard Chartered Bank, he was granted permission to accept the offer from Missoula YMCA.
“I had no idea what type of risk I was taking, leaving the bank at that time when it had the possibility of a permanent employment, but I was sure of my ability that after my internship in the USA, I would become more competitive for employment. Of course, after my internship and subsequently returned home, I was permanently employed by Standard Chartered Bank.
Although leaving full time job was scaring at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made”, noted Aiah.
As event unfolded, Sierra Leone was entering into electioneering process in 2018, when he was contacted to work with the current Vice. President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh as Personal assistant; a role he played a significant part which led the Sierra Leone People’s Party to victory. Upon the victory, Aiah Hindolo Kpakiwa was appointed to serve as the Special Assistant to the Hon. Vice. President of Sierra Leone.
As the incoming National Chairman, Aiah Kpakiwa’s vision for YMCA is the outcome of his strategic engagement with YMCA Sierra Leone for almost 21 years.
Over the years, YMCA Sierra Leone has taken progressive steps to address the challenges of unemployment and livelihood of vulnerable young people in Sierra Leone.
The journey of YMCA Sierra Leone has been in part his commitment and aspiration to continue to create the environment where young people will harness their dreams and seek a better life for themselves.
To achieve this, Aiah Kpakiwa has highlighted the following actions which he will pursue during the course of his leadership;
The need for a sustained and energized membership that will support and promote the operations of YMCA Sierra Leone. As it is, YMCA Sierra Leone is below the membership threshold as set by World Alliance.
As National Chairman, Aiah Kpakiwa promises to pursue an aggressive membership drive by which YMCA Sierra Leone will have four regions - Northern Region being the addition but most importantly strive to create new branches in the East, South and Western area.
This vision is inspired by and seeks to realize the birth of committees which is both inclusive and attentive to the rights or needs of its most vulnerable members and community we serve.
It is envisaged that branches will reduce dependency on Regions, National Council and partners as well. In this light, the ongoing implementation of the first phase of the Sierra Leone Operating Plan (SLOP) following YMCA Sierra Leone graduation from the Global Operating Plan (GOP) in 2015 exemplifies YMCA’s commitment to its own development aspirations.
This program will seek to promote branches and thus improve the livelihood of its members and the community they serve.
This and other concrete efforts such as the progressive extension of the Development Support Grant to branches will go a long way towards improving on the development challenges.
The expansion of the national budget speaks volumes about YMCA’s commitment to tackling resource mobilization. In addition, the development and management of asserts – land and other properties across the country will be vigorously pursued in the spirit of the new economic model articulated in the Africa Alliance and YMCA Sierra Leone.
Also, Aiah is committed to the creation of a caring and inclusive organization with a spirit of togetherness just as our fore fathers thought of it in the enactment of the Paris Bases. “I will carry out my constitutional mandate by providing true leadership for all members. I commit to the development of policies and regulations that is fair and respect the ideals, beliefs and values of YMCA Sierra Leone. To this end, the youth and gender component of YMCA Sierra Leone will be the corner stone of my administration. I will ensure that strategic technical support is provided in the form of skills transfers targeting branches, regions and other groups, as well as project partners’’, Aiah avowed.
He is also aware that there is a gap in skills set in respect to volunteers, and he hope to take urgent action to address the in-balance particularly those in elected leadership positions. As National Chairman, Aiah promises to work with the National Secretary– CEO, to pursue an aggressive membership capacity development programs with the aim to improve the human resources. This will be done through seminars and workshops, skills training and apprenticeship.
The evolution of YMCA programmes has been anchored on a number of strategic themes through which the organization seeks to contribute to the greater government goal of creating a better life for all.The key priorities and goals spelled out in his vision will be implemented in order to meet a number of outcomes whose overall objective is to build and improve on the quality of life for all.
The shifting organization focus from outputs to outcomes will enables YMCA to assess the extent to which programmes and interventions respond to the overall national objectives. “The Strategic Plan identifies a number of programme-specific interventions which will form the bedrock of contribution to the eradication of poverty and unemployment. The extent to which we meet these goals will speak volumes about our determination to improve the lives of the people we serve’’, he reiterated.
The New national executive have a four year mandate which is renewable at the end of their tenure.