Fifth School Funded

Posted on Dec 18, 2013

I got the news this week- we have raised the £68,254 needed to finance the building of the fifth Millione school in Bo, Sierra Leone’s second city in the south of the country. Construction will begin in January 2014 with the aim of having it completed within six months before the rainy season starts in earnest. It will open for classes in October.

The money is being transferred to Action Aid’s office in Sierra Leone as I write and the tendering process is under way. As always every detail of design, construction and expenditure is carefully monitored and accounted for. The governance is impressive.

Two things are different about this school compared to the previous four.

First, the money raised has not come primarily from selling wine. Infact profit on wine sales has made up only 20% of the total (please get drinking). The rest has come from two large donations, one from a supportive individual and another from a company that uses part of its annual profits to support ethical projects. We are extremely grateful to both of them. Donations can play a very important role in achieving our funding aims. If you know any people or companies that may like to support us please send them our way (via the Contact link above). Every £ counts no matter how much the amount.

Second, we have increased the budget to include community activities. The main expenditure is of course building and equipping the school. This involves constructing a new six classroom block for 300 students and providing desks, chairs, blackboards and learning materials for both teachers and children; building two separate toilet blocks for girls and boys; and digging a water well with hand pump. In addition teachers will be enrolled in a Distance Education Programme to raise the bar on quality.Kadiatu Luseni fetching water to school Gollu, Bo

The additional money will be used to increase the involvement of local people in community issues in and around the school. This is an important new initiative which sees the school serve as hub for more general community development. Parents, teachers and community members will be trained to participate in the school and water management committees; 30 women from the Mothers Club will learn about the importance of education for girls, supported by radio broadcasts on the issue to the community at large; additional resources will be given to the Violence Against Girls campaign; 30 women will be trained in Entrepreneurship and Business Skills; and a revolving small loans fund will be created.

Of course education does not exist apart from the many other issues families have to deal with. The more integrated approach makes a lot of sense to me and I look forward to seeing the results.

Here’s wishing a very merry Xmas and a fabulous 2014 to everyone.

One Comment

  1. Well done Jerry. Brilliant news. We promise to do our best to drink a lot of Millione over Christmas!

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