Defence for Children International – Sierra Leone (DCI-SL) has donated school learning materials to 100 in-school adolescent girls in two chiefdoms and five communities in Karena district. The school support was to assist in-school adolescent girls in the selected communities to have access to relevant education to support their development cycle.
The donation which was completed on Thursday 7 September 2023, with Irish Aid funding, and support of IRC through the Adolescent Girls Empowerment and Protection Project Phase 2, include essential educational supplies such as textbooks, notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, backpacks, and school uniforms to children in need.
The donation was made in 2 chiefdoms: Sanda Loko and Sella Limba covering 5 communities: Kagboray, Kakamba, Kabba Ferry, Laiya Loko and Laminaya. The initiative was designed to address the challenges faced by girls and adolescents in accessing quality education in the selected 2 chiefdoms and 5 communities. The lack of adequate learning resources often hinders their educational progress, making them more susceptible to dropping out of school.
The programme Manager for the Adolescent Girls Empowerment and Protection Project in Karena district, Sulay Kalokoh, during the presentation of the supplies stated that “Materials distributed will help parents to save cost and provide other services such as medical and livelihood for the family during this difficult moment when the prices of food and essential services are very expensive,” he said.
He went on to explain that This donation was born out of the need to empower adolescent girls in communities to have access to relevant education and options for employment. Irish Aid through the International Rescue Committee (IRC) believe that giving girls more educational opportunities will reduce child marriage and teenage pregnancy that will help them to achieve their full potential in Society.
Local residents praised the initiative for its potential to improve school attendance and academic performance among girls and adolescents in the selected communities. “Access to learning materials is crucial for in-school adolescent girls to engage effectively in the classroom and school activities. With these supplies, we expect to see a positive impact on attendance and educational outcomes. We will monitor these supplies to ensure that the items are used for the right purpose” remarked Ya Alimamy Sallay Kargbo, town chief, the female town chief of Kagboray community.
In her statement, Sento A. Sesay, one of the recipients of the school supplies stated that “it feels good to have received these items today, because our parents could have struggled to buy them for us. So, we are grateful for this project and we will make good use of these items as we continue with our education,” said Sento.
The distribution of school learning materials is part of a broader effort by Defence for Children International with funding from Irish Aid and support from IRC, to advance education and gender equality in the Karena district. The organization plans to monitor the progress of the girls and adolescents who received the materials, provide ongoing support, and collaborate with local schools to ensure that the materials are put to good use.
At the climax of the donations, DCI launched a technical skill training program for 40 older adolescent girls from the selected 2 chiefdoms and 5 communities in Kerena district, aiming to improve functional literacy, numeracy, technical, vocational skills, and apprenticeships for employment.