Wednesday, August 17, 2011


DATE: Saturday August 13, 2011
TIME:   5:00pm – 7:00 pm
VENUE:  St. Joseph’s Secondary School Makeni

      1.  Opening Prayers
      2.  Introduction of members
      3.  Chairperson’s Opening statement
      4.  Matters arising from past meeting
 5.  Financial update
 6.  Future projects for the school
 7.  Golden Jubilee Celebrations ( Dates, planned activities)
 9.  AOB
10. Thanks & appreciations.
11. Adjournment and Closure

COGAM Members Present at the Meeting

The meeting was called to order at about 5:30 pm, by Sunkarie Kabba Kamara

Present at the meeting
1.   Madam Sunkarie Kabba Kamara - Focal person
2.   Beatrice Koroma -Secretary for the meeting
3.   Suard H Koroma
4.   Haja I Suma
5.   Aminata P Koroma
6.   Patricia Thoronka
7.   Agnes A Kanu
8.   Martina B Bangura
9.   Bridget O Kamara
10. Mary Yabonet Conteh

Absent with Apologies
1.  Manjula B Bayoh
2.  Aminata Jalloh
3.  Rugiatu Koroma-nee Bangura

1.   Opening Prayers
Individual silent prayers were observed by all.

2.   Introduction of members
Individual introduction was made by all attendees.

3.   Chairperson’s Opening statement
In her opening statement, the focal person and chairwoman of the meeting, Madam Sunkarie Kabba welcomed all present at the meeting and made emphasis on the importance for attending these kinds of meetings. She went further to spur up old girls to put their interest into the association. She said as a school with good merits in the region and even the nation as a whole, St Joseph Secondary School Makeni has made great contributions in the lives of many. As such, Old Girls should also act strongly to lift the school up as it is time to give back what the school had invested in her pupils because she contributed to make what each Old Girl is today.

4.   Matters arising from past meeting
An overview of what was discussed during the last meeting in December meeting was given as follows:

Registration of members:  All members were to pay a registration fee of twenty thousand Leones (Le 20, 000) and a monthly contribution of ten thousand Leones (Le 10, 000). The said amounts were to be paid to either Sunkarie or Suard H Koroma.

Fabrication of school sign post:  A new school sign post has being fabricated and erected at the school gate by COGAM. This idea came from some old girls in the Diaspora who were dissatisfied with the status of the old sign post at the school gate. The idea was supported by all in that meeting which led to the fabrication and erection of a new signpost for the school.

Page post in Facebook:  A COGAM Group Page has been created on Facebook and all are invited to join the group.

5.   Financial update
The financial position of the association in the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, Makeni branch as of the 19th November, 2010 was read as follows:
·   Total money received Le, 3,668, 000
·   Expenditure Le, 800, 000
·   Bank Deduction Le, 10, 000
·   Balance as at 12/08/11 Le, 2, 858,000
The financial statement was accepted and suggestions for the payment of contributions on time were made.

6.   Future projects for the school
The following proposed projects are suggested by members present to be undertaken by COGAM:
·   Fabrication of a school gate to march with the new fence and the signpost
·   Increase the height of the school fence with razor wires to reduce the high rate of thieves in the school compound
·   Re-building the old school security post
·   Equipping the home economics lab for the Senior School
Note: These are identified based on institutional needs.

7.   Golden Jubilee Celebrations ( Dates, planned activities)
The following activities were agreed on for the Golden Jubilee celebration:
·   Launching of the Golden Jubilee- Dinner (tentative date is 1st October 2011, venue WUSUM HOTEL to be confirmed)
·   Celebration of the foundation day 2nd October 2011
·   COGAM hour ( Radio discussion weekly)
·   Production of Golden Jubilee T-Shirts and caps ( task to be done by Diaspora)
·   L&D S/ Symposiums for school children
·   May festival celebration
·   Re- Union Night ( date to be determined)
·   Football gala
The list continues……!!

8.   Action Points
      Sunkarie to contact Sr. Amalia for the school logo and to also get an ICT person to design the  membership card

      Mrs. Agnes Adama Kanu to contact the Old Girls in Freetown to get the constitution
      Sunkarie Kabba, Suad Koroma, Beatrice Koroma & Aminata Koroma to make a courtesy call on    Mr. Vincent Kanu, proprietor of the Wusum’s hotel for the use of the Wusum’s conference hall for the fund raising dinner and launching of the golden jubilee in October 2011

9.   Project Proposal for funding: A suggestion was made to develop a viable project proposal for the school and submit to multi-national companies like African Minerals for possible sponsoring as part of their Corporate Social Responsibilities.

10. Thanks & Appreciations
All attendees were appreciated for making it to the meeting. Special thanks were extended to Bridget O Kamara and Patricia Thoronka for taking the bold step to travel from Kabala and Freetown respectively to attend the meeting.

11. Adjournment and Closure
The meeting was adjourned to the 27th. August 2011. The meeting ended with silent individual prayers and the school song climaxed it all.

 The minutes were compiled and submitted by:  Beatrice M. E. M. Korom

New Sign Post Erected in August 2011 by COGAM

COGAM Members after the Meeting
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Blog created and posted by:  Mary Hawa Turay

Monday, April 4, 2011


Anne Marie Javouhey
Founder of St. Joseph's
Sisters of Cluny
The Cluny sisters established St. Joseph’s Secondary School Makeni (SJSSM) about 50 years ago, as an institution to educate the ‘Girl Child’ in Sierra Leone. Although a Christina/Catholic Institution, girls from different religions, regions, tribes and social statures are enrolled each year in this institution.  This institution have nurtured thousands of girls to help them realize their talents, skills and abilities to become successful and confident women in a society where dating back to the 60s girls were especially vulnerable populations and had much less privileges and access to acquire education. SJSSM Girls are trained: “with the understanding that they are stronger when united”.  

For the past 50 years in which the Cluny sisters have run this institution, SJSSM has been one of the top Secondary School for Girls in the country.  But with the effect of the 11 years of war in the country which have lead to many of the Missionaries to flee the country, the school is now left in the hand of Sierra Leoneans.

Today, thousands of Convent Old Girls of Makeni (COGAM) are thriving at home and in the Diaspora. We want to remind you all that, it is the responsibility of every COGAM Members to assist in the continued development of the school.  To further our objective and fulfill our mandate, despite trying times we are continuing to build everlasting relationships with students and families who are portraying a positive image of our school locally and abroad to advance our mission.   COGAM will also like to acknowledge some of our friends and members who are assisting in different ways to help us impliment ourschool projects.


Dr. Michael Kargbo
We thank Dr. Michael Kargbo, an Old Boy from our Brother School St. Francis Secondary School, for visiting our Alma Mater on November 3, 2010.  Dr. Kargbo met with Mrs. Cecelia Barrie the Principal of the Senior Secondary School and COGAM member and with Sunkarie Kamara Kabba a COGAM member, to continue the discussion and even took some time for a few photos.

Update from Dr. Kargbo:
“Please take note: 2012 marks the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of your school. Mrs. Barrie is calling on you all to work towards making it a memorable one.  The situation is not as grim as that depicted by the picture you shared but it is indeed symptomatic of the problems currently faced by Government-supported schools in Sierra Leone. The good news is that your school has been able to phase-out the two shift system imposed by the previous government in the immediate aftermaths of the war…”

Basics Updates:
Board Chairman: Monsignor Gabriel Koroma
Senior Secondary School Principal: Mrs. Cecilia Barrie
Junior Secondary School Principal: Sr. Amalla
Convent Old Girls Association (national) President: Mrs. Margaret Daboh

School Problems:
1. Sitting Accommodation
2. Increase in dropouts due to school fees
3. Electrification of the school – need for a generator
4. Lack of Computers for the administration and students
5. Existing Water well can no longer adequately serve the school
6. Need to reconstruct the front and back fencing of the school
7. Extension of the playing field
8. Need for a physics lab and teachers (currently there is no physics and so students wishing to offer physics have to go elsewhere)
View Photos of Dr. Michael Kargbo
Now GOGAM members, this is where we stand in terms of needs for the school.


With reference to our blog posted on Thursday, February 03, 2011  titled “Our Alma Mater: St. Joseph’s Secondary School Makeni”, COGAM Members agreed to setup a bank account were in we can make donations to address the needs of the school.

Here are some suggestions for opening the Bank Account and the way forward
·    We need to setup a temporally financial committee so that we can open the Bank Account in November 2010
·    Erect a new school sigh post so we will need to get the cost as soon as possible
·    Set up a mailing listserv because not all members both at home and in the Diaspora are on facebook
·    Set up a date for a meeting at Makeni this December. If the meeting takes place,

These suggestions were made by COGAM members through Face Book.  Our only means of communication at the time.


Sunkarie Kamara
We thank our COGAM members at home for facilitating the process.  Sunkarie Kamara Kabba contacted COGAM members like Mrs. Adama Kanu, Mrs. Isatu Fofanah and others in Makeni.  The group scheduled a meeting with Mrs. Cecelia Barrie to discourse the following:

  • The issue of reactivating COGAM Makeni Branch
  • The issue of opening a local Bank account
  • A radio discussion to inform all locally based Old girls about COGAM reactivation
Update from Sunkarie on November 15, 2010
“Hi guys, Just a quick update here. The meeting with respect to getting a mandate to open a bank account went on as planned and the mandate secured. I am now working on the mandate. When this is complete it will go for signature to Mrs. Cecilia Barrie (Principal SSS), Mrs. Isatu Fofanah (Deputy mayor Makeni City Council) and myself. It has been tentatively agreed that I be the principal signatory until we get things sorted out…

·   With respect to the sign post, the fabrication will cost Le. 400,000 whilst the printing will cost Le 200,000. Erection will cost Le 70,000.
·   The radio discussion program and general meeting still stands at 18th and 19th November respectively.

Hope we will be able to mobilize more members at local level.  Please continue to send your comments, advice suggestions to help us rekindle this course…”

Update from Sunkarie on November 19, 2010
“… we had a very successful radio discussion program last night. Other panelist failed to show up because of one reason or the other; however myself, Mrs. Barrie and Swad Koroma handled it well.

·    Issues around the reactivation of the Association was high on the agenda
·    A clarion call for all who attended the school to participate in the association was also dealt with, references were made to women of substance that are products of the school in positions of trust
·    The determination by old girls in the Diaspora and the great work been done by the Cluny Sisters to abolish the two shift system by constructing school buildings for the JSS were all amongst the issues discussed
·    Finally, we thank the Cluny Sisters for their support to the girl child education which has made all of us what we are today and encourage all old girls that it’s time to pay back. The school needs our support in addition to what has already been done.
·    The Golden Jubilee issue was also highlighted and planning of activities around this celebration greatly hinges on the turnout for the meetings scheduled

We are very democratic and would like to hear each and every member’s voice. A maiden meeting has been scheduled for today, 19/11/10 at the school compound.  I succeeded in opening the bank account at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank- Makeni Branch…”

This is just a wonderful update.  Thank you Sunkarie.


This progressive and positive update form home has fueled motivation form members and opened the hearts of some to make pledges to the new account.  We were able to raise enough money to take upon our first project the erection of the new school Sign Post.  We continue to ask for the support of COGAM members and friends towards the development of our Alma Mater.
We Need to Rebuild Our School

Stay connected and send your updates to
By:  Mary Hawa Turay

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Alia Sheriff visited our Alma Mater, St. Joseph's Secondary School Makeni. A renowned Secondary School for Girls in Northern Sierra Leone.  Her pictures sparked interest and brought back a lot of memories to the Old Girls both at home and in the Diaspora.  It has been in the thoughts of many Old Girls (COGAM Members) to support our school and to provide an excellent educational environment for the current student. Even though other Old Girls have been providing support to the school in their own little ways, these pictures instigated the need for us to work together for the common goal of our Alma Mater.

Alia Sheriff“Am really happy that this picture brings back a whole lot of memories of a place that shaped us to be what we are today. I hope we can all come together as one and help in whatever way we can to continue the legency of Convent Makeni...”

  • Florence Seisay: “Oh my God, my heart is drawn again today to this institution of great learning. The best in the world…”
  • Fatmata Sheriffe Lewally: “omg . Wow school of discipline. Was glad to be part of its product...”
  • Cecilia Amonoo Richards:  “This is the place where our future was shaped. A wonderful school. Proud to be an old student of SJSS...”
  • Hawa Daramy:  “I am so proud of this building because without this structure I will not be able to stand strong and I will remain strong with a deep and profound belief in myself...”
  • Maria Mabinty Kamara: “This is where the seeds were sown, where we were prepared to be people of today! In this noble institution, we were trained to face today’s brave new world that's full of joy and sorrows. We are thankful for our continued devotion to the cause of liberty that is geared towards improving humanity! Kudos to our gallant teachers, including the St. Joseph’s Sisters of Cluny! But hey, we have a lot to give back to that school...”
  • Fatmata Fatima Sesay: “That sign post is indeed" rickety" quoting Maria even though it has brought forth bright and hardworking girls like us. The war did not help the school either.  In my strong opinion what some of us are glorifying is in the past. What can we all do to bring the school up to better standards? How many of our girls are making it to university/colleges? How equipped are our science labs, library ... Is the school in the computer age or still using type writers? How qualified and committed are the teachers? We need to ask ourselves a lot of questions to help the school “sow the right seeds…"
  • Amie Pejcic: “…how about a contribution for some computers and lab stuff, even if it’s one or two for now. With time it can improve. Were there’s a will there is a way...”
  • Sunkarie Kamara Kabba: “Thanks guys, I have been monitoring your mails and suggestions as to how together we can make our alma mata a conducive learning environment for our girls. I have been in close contact with the Ag principal of the school Sr. Amala Ranee who has explained to me the prevailing situation in the school. I have seen all these brilliant ideas of moving into the computer age, getting trained and qualified teachers (a problem that the state is still grappling with), provision of teaching, learning materials.... These are all brilliant ideas but let’s start by addressing the felt needs of the school as stated by the Ag. Principal as follows:
1.   Lack of safe drinking water in the school.  This can be address by getting a hand pump well with a submissive pump and a generator to pump the water in to the tank.  The school also requires drinking buckets and cups for each class and the staff room.
2.   Part of the school fence is so low (i.e. around the field area) that the neighbors are now using the school campus as a refuse dump … you can imagine what an unfriendly school environment that is.......  Let’s think globally and act locally with the zeal and enthusiasm; we will make a difference for our girls…. Let’s give this a thought. Kind regards. Sunkarie Kamara Kabba, Head Girl 1988/87…”
  • Clara Fatmata Korma“Hi ladies, thanks for your brilliant ideas, but where do we start? Who will take the bull by the horn? Who is ready to start the ball rolling? …. Count on me always, the doors are open…”
  • Mary Hawa Turay:  "Greetings from Canada and thank you all for the facebook posting and comments about our beloved School SJSS. With all that we have said, it is time for us to take action. I will suggest that we each make a pelage to donate any amount that we can afford before Charismas 2010 to support our school.  We already have 25 wonderful ladies that have responded to this facebook posting and have confirmed that SJSSM has contributed to what we are today.  This is a good group to start with and it is time for us to give back to our school….  I also agree with Sunkarie Kamara Kabba’s suggestions that we ask the current principals to identify the most pressing needs for the school rather than us making the decision for them..."
We are very grateful to the Catholic Church especially to the Sisters of St. Joseph's of Cluny for establishing this institution in the 1962 that have educated "The Girl Child" in Northern Sierra Leone from diverse social backgrounds and religions.  We were all given the opportunities to excel beyond our comfort zone and aspire to our best abilities.  Now that we are ripping the benifits from the seeds that were sown, it is time for us to take the time to look back and support this institution.
As we are preparing to celebrate our school's 50th Anniversary in 2012, we call on all COGAM Old Girls and their spouses, partners, friends and families to step up and help us raise funds to  refurbish the school structures and to enhance the educational capacity of the school. Let us demonstrate our commitments to our school beyond wards.  We are asking you all to join hands to raise funds, use your time and talents to assist with the organizing and planning of our 50th Anniversary.  Do something for the glory of our school.  After our Anniversary, we plan to continue to support our ALMA MATER.  So invite your friends, husbands, partners and families to support our course.

 Stay connected and send your updates to
By:  Mary Hawa Turay