Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a significant stride towards enhancing access to secondary education for out-of-school girls, ChildFund, in collaboration with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), has officially handed over a well-constructed three-classroom structure to the management of the Sengbe Pieh Memorial Secondary School in Hamilton.
The handover ceremony, witnessed by dignitaries from the government, ChildFund, and KOICA, took place on November 23, 2023, at the Sengbe Pieh Memorial Secondary School compound where the impressive structure now stands.
This initiative, a three-year project initiated in April 2023 and set to conclude in December 2025, is implemented by ChildFund Sierra Leone in partnership with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School (MBSSE). The project aims to construct six schools in the Western Urban and Rural Districts, two schools each year, with a total funding of $1,555,000, intending to bridge the gender gap in education.
The six schools slated for construction over the next three years are Congress Secondary School, Services Secondary School, Government Rokel Secondary School, Fourah Bay College Secondary School, and the Forum for Africa Women Educationists Secondary School.
During the handover ceremony, Deputy Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary School (MBSSE), Madam Mamusu Massaquoi, emphasized the significance of the event in increasing access to secondary education, particularly for young girls. She acknowledged the challenges faced by girls in accessing education due to socioeconomic barriers, cultural norms, and inadequate infrastructure.
Madam Massaquoi expressed gratitude for the progress made by President Bio in achieving educational equity for young girls in Sierra Leone, emphasizing the crucial role of education in national development.
The Deputy Minister highlighted that the new classrooms represent more than just physical structures; they symbolize a commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all children in Sierra Leone. She encouraged the students to embrace the opportunity with determination, emphasising that these classrooms are spaces where dreams will take flight, voices will be heard, and potential will be nurtured.
Madam Massaquoi concluded by advocating for policies that promote gender equality in education, investments in teacher training and professional development, and the creation of safe and inclusive learning environments.
Minjae Kang, Deputy Country Director of KOICA Nigeria, described the handover of the three-classroom block as a contribution to uplifting the country’s educational standards. Kang emphasised that KOICA’s involvement in Sierra Leone goes beyond constructing facilities; it is about building dreams and nurturing potential.
Victor Kamara, Country Director of ChildFund, highlighted the international organization’s commitment to valuing, protecting, and advancing the rights of children, especially girls. He noted that the project, funded by KOICA, ChildFund Korea, and ChildFund International, focuses on enrolling out-of-school girls and aims to work with the government to decongest schools and create an enabling learning environment.
Principal Brima Kamara of Sengbe Pieh School expressed gratitude to ChildFund and KOICA for their support, pledging to ensure the proper maintenance of the newly acquired property for the benefit of future generations. MJB/24/11/2023