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"Kabala in Sierra Leone Prepares to Host 7th National Science Festival"
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The northern Sierra Leonean town of Kabala is gearing up to host the 7th edition of the National Science and Leadership Festival (ScieLeadFest2024), attracting science and culture enthusiasts once again.

This annual event serves as a platform for scientists, innovators, policymakers, and students to convene and explore the nexus of science and leadership. Over four days, participants engage in discussions and cultural performances, with a focus on psychosocial well-being.

Organized by Project 1808, a non-profit dedicated to empowering future leaders, the festival aims to foster collaboration and idea-sharing to build social capital. ScieLeadFest2024 is themed “STEAM and Leadership: Ideas to Action – Promoting Food Security, Climate Resilience, Youth Opportunities, and Combating Substance Abuse.”

Scheduled from Thursday, January 11, to Sunday, January 14, the event will take place at the Red Cross Compound campus of the Koinadugu College. Last year’s event drew over 1000 attendees, and this year, organizers anticipate an even larger turnout, with participants from overseas and across Africa.

Dr. Alhaji Umar Njai, Founder and Chief Strategist of Project 1808, promises an enriching experience, encompassing science, technology, arts, leadership, entrepreneurship, music, storytelling, theater, and cultural performances.

Participants can attend presentations covering various disciplines, including biology, chemistry, agriculture, environment, climate change, arts, culture, information technology, leadership, behavioral sciences, sociology, governance, and mass media. Hands-on experiments using basic and advanced scientific tools will be available for students of all ages.

Previous editions featured panel discussions on critical social issues like drug abuse, environmental protection, and food security in Sierra Leone. The festival culminates with a hike up the iconic Wara Wara Yagala Mountains and tours of the Kabala community on January 14.

Kabala, the headquarters of the Koinadugu District, is known for its underdevelopment. ScieLeadFest2024 is part of Project 1808’s efforts, along with other initiatives, to drive development in the district and the nation. This year’s festival coincides with the inauguration of the Koinadugu College, the district’s first higher learning institution, which welcomed its first students for the 2023-2024 academic year last September.

Piers Potter

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