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Friday, July 1, 2022

For creating covid-19 awareness in schools… GPE-NGO Consortium hailed

By Alhaji Haruna Sani

Pupils, Teachers, parents and community leaders across four districts in Sierra Leone have hailed the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the Consortium of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) led by Save the Children International (SCI) for creating massive and successful Covid-19 awareness in their schools. Other members of the seven NGO Consortiums include International, Concern Worldwide, Handicap International, Plan International, Focus 1000, FoRUT and Street Child

In order to implement some components of Covid-19 Education Emergency Response across Sierra Leone, MBSSE established an innovative partnership with a consortium of seven International and National NGOs with support GPE through World Bank.

The project was implemented in all 16 districts with 101,336 (54,556 girls and 46,780 boys) in over 500 Primary and Junior Secondary Schools. The project was supporting the MBSSE to address strategic communications, strengthening continuous distance education service delivery of basic education and ensuring safe reopening, and health and safety of students, including the most vulnerable.

Mabinty Abdul Manaf Conte, Class Three Teacher at the Sierra Leone Muslim Brotherhood Mangeh Bureh in the Portoloko District, a volunteer of the Global Partnership for education said prior to the GPE project they were almost completely ignorant about rules and regulations that help protect people from contacting the Covid-19 virus.

“Through the GPE project which was implemented by Save the Children International and Plan International in our school, we were thought about social distancing, proper hand washing practice, how to cough and sneeze whiles in public places and proper hygiene management. We were never maintaining any social distancing rules in our schools until the project was implemented,” she said.

Alhaji I. Krgbo, 10 years old class four pupil of SLMB, Mange said he became knowledgeable of everything about Covid-19 including social distancing rules, use of face mask, hand wash and more through posters and wall bins which were pasted all over the school compound. He maintained that he also learnt about the virus and the disease through the solar radio that was supplied to him by GPE.

“I also use the suggestion box to write and complain about teachers treat me badly and posters in my school teach me better about corona virus and its prevention,” Kargbo explained.

10 years Mabinty Kanu of the same school, Teacher Maju Bah and caregiver, Kadiatu Sesay among others expressed that they only became informed about Covid-19 after the project was implemented in the school. They said the project dose not only impact schools but the community as well. “We wish this project will continue,” Kadiatu Sesay expressed.

Gibralla Kamara, School Management Committee (SMC) Chairman, Sierra Leone Islamic Federation Primary School at Masorie Baimba – Masiaka said the project rose enough awareness on Covid-19 through wall bins, solar radios supplied to the kids not only in the school, among teachers but also in various communities around the school. Teachers, parents, pupils and some community stake holders expressed similar view about their awareness of Covid-19 pandemic

Elizabeth Mawendeh, Head teacher of United Brethren in Christ (UBC) Jusu Memorial Primary School in Bo thanked GPE for their support especially on Covid 19 awareness raising. “We were supplied with veronica buckets, hand sanitizers, face masks and posters to educate pupils, teachers and the entire community about the disease there for we are really yearning for the continuity of this project,” .

Teachers, pupils, community stakeholders among others in Bo District Education Committee Primary School in Mano Jaiama Chiefdom, Roman Catholic Primary School, Pehala, NIM Primary School in Pujehun, Roman Catholic Primary School Panguma, Services Primary School in Kenema all radio jingle on GPE hour thanked GPE for their astute and proactive role in training volunteers that conducted covid-19 house to house sanitization, supply of face masks, veronica buckets, face masks and more.

All interviewees expressed glad over the GPE project and desire for its continuity.

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