Sierra Leone
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ChildFund hands over construction sites to two companies

The Programs & Sponsorship Director for ChildFund cutting the tape for the construction to commence.

By Yusufu S. Bangura

To increase access to secondary school education for 3,300 out of school children in the Western Area of Sierra Leone, Childfund in collaboration with Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has on Friday 9th June handed over construction sites to companies for the construction of secondary schools.

The official handing over ceremony took place at the Sierra Leone Muslim Congress Secondary School, Eastern and Sengbeh Pieh Secondary School, Hamilton respectfully. 

The three-year project (April 2023- December 2025) will be implemented by ChildFund Sierra Leone in partnership with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School (MBSSE) in 6 schools in the Western Urban and Rural Districts. The total cost of the project is USD 1,555,000 (One Million Five Hundred and Fifty Five Thousand).

The two construction companies, Associate Investment Enterprises and HI Construction and General Services would construct two set of three classrooms block with office, store, ramp and railing, two set of separation VIP Latrines with menstrual hygiene for girls and urinal for boys.

They would also construct two mechanised borehole with solar power, six taps and with Elevated Water Tower with two 10,000 Litter water tank.

Delivering her statement on behalf of the Country Director of ChildFund, Victor Kamara , the Programs and Sponsorship Director for ChildFund, Isatu O.C Venn said Childfund is an international organization that promotes societies whose individuals and institutions participate in valuing, protecting and advancing the worth and rights of children especially girls.

She said they have been in Sierra Leone since 1985 and their main focus is on the protection of children, adding that they implement their work on three live stages, stage one they target children from 0-5 years, stage two 6-14 years and stage three is from 15-25 years.

She further said for the construction of schools fall under stage two where they focus on having children that are educated and confidence,adding  that last year they did assessment of various schools.

She said the project is an inclusion, noting that they are also looking at children with disabilities, pregnant girls and sucking mothers.

She said they work with the deputy directories in identifying the schools and luckily Sierra Leone Muslim Congress and Sengbeh Pieh Secondary Schools were among the schools selected, so she congratulated both schools because they were others out in the country that are looking for support.

“The main focus of the project is training of teachers on the code of conduct and radical inclusion, construction of classrooms to decongest over crowing in the schools, construct VIP latrines to make sure t6hat we improve on sanitation and handwashing in schools, so it a three year project for different schools in the country so we are targeting two years this year. We are requesting for support from the schools, community stakeholders to maintain the structures that will be constructed,” she said.

Also speaking, Compliance Advisor from Korea, Grace Eunhye Yong stated that the project is geared towards the fulfilment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 and the government’s National Policy on Radical Inclusion in Schools.

She said the reason why the project was chosen in Sierra Leone was that the country has high poverty rate and gender inequality which cause serious threat to children’s education.

She added that the rate of girls dropping out of schools is also high, so the project will promote intervention to reduce social control discrimination and promote educational rights among out-of-school adolescent girls.

She further said the purpose of the project is to increase access to quality education and to provide safe, inclusive and equal education services to pupils.

 She said the project will also improve community’s awareness on education.

“Today, we are here to create a safe in educational environment for pupils, during this project the school will create safe educational environment with classrooms, gender toilet that will be use by girls and proving drinking water sanitation for them. I want to assure you all that we will not stop here but we will strive until the end when all children have rights to education,” she said.

Speaking from the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School Education, Suliman Sandy applauded KOICA for supporting President Bio’s flagship program, noting that KOICA has for over decades been supporting Sierra Leone’s educational sector.

He added that the Ministry is charged with education programmes for all pupils in the country, so they were happy for the support because President Bio places premium on human capital development, so the KOICA and ChildFund intervention is a step in the right direction.

He continued that the project is geared towards ensuring that out of school girls are supported to continue their education and communities are meaningfully engaged in the protection of marginalized children and enrolling them to school.

He concluded that the 6 schools that are due to be constructed in the Western Area will help return a lot of drop out girls and urged all stakeholders in the educational sector to come together and build a sustainable Sierra Leone for the project to succeed.

In a statement from the Principal of Sengbe Pieh Memoral Secondary School, Brima Kamara commended KOICA and ChildFund for such a support and encouraged the donors to fund more educational projects.

He said the project serves as a morale booster to teachers, pupils and community stakeholders because it will increase the number of classrooms for pupils to have proper accommodation, so he pleaded that such projects are to be established all across the country.

He promised that they would make sure that they take good care of the structures that would be constructed in due time.

The handing over ceremony attracted stakeholders in the communities, pupils, parents, ex-pupils, engineers from the two companies and members of the Fourth Estate.