by Elga Contardi, AVSI SIERRA LEONE
On September 21, in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, the project “IMAGES: Improving MAnaGement Of CSOs in the Education Sector” was officially launched. The project is funded by the European Union and implemented in partnership with local FHM (Family associations Homes Movement) and SMHC (Saint Mary's Home of Charity).
The aim of the project is to improve the quality of education, to ensure access to the educational system to the most vulnerable and to strengthen the role of civil society organizations in local schools.
Thanks to the EU funding (a 1,207,136.35 Euros budget), AVSI and the project partners will involve 15 local organizations, the staff of 20 schools and educators from the Freetown Teachers College to activate development processes, starting from an improvement of the education system.
The project stems from the awareness that education is not just a mere transmission of knowledge, but that it can be a development engine, enabling people to help improving their own reality.
IMAGES will last 3 years (2018-2021), and it will take place in the districts of Tonkolili, Port Loko, Bombali and the Western Area, where AVSI and its partners traditionally work alongside local communities.
In particular, the project will allow 15 local organizations and their partners to improve their staff’s managerial and technical skills, in order to implement and manage real development projects in the 20 selected schools. In addition, AVSI will closely work with the school staff and Freetown Teachers College to improve the quality of educational offerings.
The project also includes introductory courses at work (sewing courses, electrician, ice cream maker, pizza maker and waiter courses are provided) for the most vulnerable boys and girls, holding a special attention to single mothers.
Important authorities took part in the launching, such as Tom Vens – Ambassador of the European Union in Sierra Leone, Samuel N. Pjohnson – Development Partners Coordinator and Desk Assistant for the Ministry of Education, Solomon Scott - NGO Desk of the Ministry of Economic Development, Edwuard Yokie – Deputy Coordinator Slango, Dr. Samba Moriba – Director of Freetown Teachers College as well as district representatives, civil society organisations and schools involved in the project.
Quality education should not be a privilege. It is a right that no one should be forced to give up.