By Victoria Saffa
Student Movement for Girls Education, Fourah Bay College (SMOGE-FBC) last week held a two-day training for 100 pupils from 10 schools in the Western Area on leadership and advocacy skills. The workshop was supported by PLAN International-Sierra Leone.
The training, held at the Mary Kingsley Auditorium at Fourah Bay College, brought together students from the college, teachers and girls from 10 secondary schools, including Annie Walsh Memorial School, Methodist Girls High School, Model Secondary School, Vine Memorial, Freetown Secondary School for Girls, Ansarul Islamic Secondary School, and Rokel Secondary School.
While welcoming participants, Programme Coordinator of SMOGE-FBC, Alpha Jalloh, said the group is a voluntary campus based organization that advocates for girl child education as a means of contributing to sustainable development in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
He said the movement was founded in 2005 following a meeting between students and a United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) officer, noting that they are determined to do all they could to contribute to the development of girls’ education in the country.
Jalloh revealed that in a bid to enhance effective action for advocacy on girls’ education, the movement has been extended to other tertiary institutions and 10 schools in the Western Area, while in 2012, SMOGE signed an agreement with PLAN-Sierra Leone for the implementation of the Girls Power Project.
Founder and facilitator of SMOGE, Kai Joseph Saquee, said that the movement has been expanded in primary and secondary schools because the number of girls gaining admission into universities was discouraging, in view of the fact that girls are part of future leaders who would pioneer development in the country.
“We want the girls to know that what men can do in leadership, they too can be able to take leadership position, and we want them to have a fixed mindset and inspiration for them to focus on their education,” he said.
In her statement, Secretary General of the movement, Fatmata Dumbuya, said the training was their first, albeit they have been engaged in symposia, teaching in schools, popularization of the code of conduct, school debate, and formation of SMOGE schools clubs nationwide.