October 14, 2015 By Memunatu Bangura
Over 70 teenage pupils of the St. Joseph’s Convent, with support from the Girls Empowerment Summit Sierra Leone (GESSL) through their ‘Clean My School’ project, have completed a cleaning exercise at the school’s compound in Brookfields, Freetown.
Co-founder of GESSL, Moiyattu Banya, said the ‘Clean My School’ project is part of an ongoing partnership between the organisation and the St Joseph’s Convent school. She said the project is a part of GESSL’s community development programme that is aimed at inspiring and enabling girls as role models in their various communities.
“The girls in our programme identify problems in their community and think of sustainable ways to solve these problems. We as an organisation then ensure that they receive the necessary support to implement the project,” she said.
She added that GESSL has since 2012 hosted their annual summit for girls from different communities in Freetown to participate in self-development workshops, mentorship activities and peer-to-peer exercises.
According to her, the purpose of these exercises is to build a better sense of self esteem in the girls, encourage them to learn more about issues girls face, and developing practical strategies to collectively and individually solve them.
Ms. Banya disclosed that the girls have been involved in fundraising to create tidiness and a sustainable school environment since 2014.
Kaday A. Bangura, a pupil at the St. Joseph’s Convent, said they have been working as peers and have exhibited the idea of community service, leadership and sisterhood through the way they interact with each other, adding that their commitment is geared toward ensuring a clean school environment.
“One of the main skills I gained as part of this project is how to take responsibility for big decisions. I have learnt the importance of both acting responsibly and taking responsibility,” said Kaday, as she explained her experience of working with GESSL.
Meanwhile, Country Coordinator for GESSL, Maryam Darwich, said they would be recruiting teenagers for the next summit in December where girls will have the opportunity to work on project ideas which would be supported and mentored in 2016 if chosen.