Visiting the Girls Empowerment project in Sierra Leone
In February, Abigail travelled to Sierra Leone to visit the Girls Empowerment project and the team in the West Africa Mission Development Office. West Africa Mission Coordinator Br. Abu Kargbo accompanied Abigail to the Smaller Bo Chiefdom to learn more about the Girls Empowerment project and to meet with beneficiaries, their parents, the steering group and various community stakeholders to hear about the impact the project is having on the community.
The project provides support to 70 beneficiaries across two schools, St. Joseph’s Secondary School and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School, including school materials, sanitary pads and medical care. The girls most at risk for exploitation are being supported now. Through peer education, the project sensitizes the community on prevention of teenage pregnancy and early childhood marriage.
During a gathering of the beneficiaries and their parents, St. Joseph’s Secondary School Pupil Candy reflected on her participation in the project:
‘It is because of this project today that I now know my rights and responsibilities in society. Children have the right to be educated and our responsibility is to attend classes and study hard to pass our exams. It is because of this project, my colleagues and I can sensitize our fellow colleagues on their rights.’
Everyone in the community was delighted with the project. The Paramount Chief, who is an active member of the steering group, said this is the first project that has come to the area that has been completely transparent about the project design and funding amount. Because of this transparency, the community have fully supported the initiative and participated in all activities.
After visiting the Girls Empowerment project, Abigail had the chance to visit the St. Martin’s school in Freetown to meet with the Principal and to see the classrooms funded by Misean Cara. She also was able to spend time in the West Africa Mission Office meeting with Programme Manager and Finance Officer to explore opportunities for partnership, as well Br. Albert Gomez and Br. Paul Luseni as the West Africa Trustees.