February 8, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The First Lady of Sierra Leone and wife of the Vice President both have jointly initiated a project aimed at strengthening, identifying and addressing policy issues, strengthen community structures to provide safe progressive and development oriented space for girls.
The “Enhanced Inclusive Quality Education for all Girls” (ENIQUE) project will help in leveraging the influence and force of the voices of Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma and Mrs. Junta Foh, alongside donor partners, to support a comprehensive development of the girl child.
Addressing a presser in the Office of the First Lady last week, Project Consultant, Nana Bampoe, stated that ENIQUE seeks to address the issue of girls who drop-out of school, especially those caused by teenage pregnancy and related issues.
According to Mr Bampoe, a study published by the Population Council ranks Sierra Leone as the third highest country in the global in single motherhood, poverty, and child mortality, adding that it has prompted the first and second ladies to initiate the project in collaboration with donor partners and relevant ministries.
He said the project seeks a reversal in these trends and to build a brighter future for our girls, while stressing the need to provide sustainable platforms for holistic growth and development of the girl child, in support of a sustainable education and development of these girls.
He stated that the project also hopes to reduce the prevalence of drop-out rates among girls by 10% by end of 2017, by aligning community programmes with identifying and cushioning the shock, effect, and cost of drop-out induced parameters on the marginalised and “at risk”.
“ENIQUE targets a sustained drive towards national development through the education and development of girls. This goal is in line with Sierra Leone’s Agenda for Prosperity (A4P), Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Country Strategic Plans of most Development Partners and Donors,” he said.
Mr. Bampoe said strengthening policies that enhance institutional support for retention of girls in schools, strengthening community-based social and economic support for girls and providing comprehensive support for pregnant girls during and after pregnancy, as the pillars of the project.
He disclosed that the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has already committed Le465 million to the project, while Save The Children and Plan Sierra Leone have both pledged Le100 and Le75 million, respectively, towards the implementation of the project.