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Schools for Sierra LeoneSierra Leone is a country with an abundant amount of natural resources located on the West Coast of Africa. From 1991 to 2002, Sierra Leone endured a civil war that had detrimental effects on the country’s physical, social and economic infrastructure. After the civil war, Sierra Leone made significant progress in almost all sectors. Unfortunately, its education sector is still facing challenges. Organizations such as SOS Children’s’ Villages International and Schools for Salone, with the support of the Government of Sierra Leone, have stepped in to help better Sierra Leone’s education sector.

School Attendance Rates

Since the civil war, Sierra Leone has made great efforts in rebuilding destroyed, abandoned and damaged schools, but most schools are still in need of repairs. Furthermore, many schools lack sufficient learning materials or qualified teachers. However, Sierra Leone has seen an impressive percentage increase in primary school enrollment. Nearly 100 percent of both boys and girls attend primary school. There is only a 2 percent difference between boys and girls completing their education, boys at 69 percent, and girls at 67.

Although primary school attendance rates have continued to increase, school dropout rates for both boys and girls is an alarming concern. When it comes to secondary school, the numbers drop to 57 percent of both boys and girls attend lower secondary school. Unfortunately, that number drops even further to 29 percent for boys and 26 percent for girls when it comes to enrolling in upper secondary school. There is a 53 percent drop out rate of both boys and girls. There is even a bigger disparity in attendance rates and completion rates for both girls and boys in rural areas of Sierra Leone because of the lack of access to schooling.

Since 60 percent of people in Sierra Leone live under the poverty line, it makes it difficult for many households to afford school for their children. It was reported, in the 2015 Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis, that 35 percent of households don’t enroll their children in school due to lack of funds and about 28 percent don’t have a functioning school in their village or community. Building more schools for Sierra Leone, especially in rural areas, is important and vital for the future of the people and the country.

Organizations Making a Change

SOS Children’s Villages provides various programs to make sure that children have access to quality education and training to prepare them to become independent adults. Some of the things the programs have created and supported are improving child-centered quality education, creating inclusive learning environments, working with communities and authorities to build schools as well as providing speech therapy and after-school tutoring, mentoring and coaching for the youth. SOS Children’s Villages also runs the schools that it has established and built in order to ensure quality education. About 3,000 students have benefited from the organizations’ schools and programs in Sierra Leone.

In 2005, Schools for Salone began its mission to provide quality education to the people of Sierra Leone. Since 2005, the organization has built 22 primary school buildings and three school libraries. These facilities serve more than 6,500 children across Sierra Leone. Schools for Salone has also provided training opportunities for more than 150 teachers. Its main missions are to build schools, keep boys and girls in school and provide scholarship opportunities for the children of Sierra Leone.

The civil war in Sierra Leone had many repercussions and has affected all of the country’s sectors; however, it is most apparent in its education sector. Organizations such as SOS Children’s Villages and Schools for Salone have decided to help improve the education sector of the country. More schools for Sierra Leone could mean a brighter future for the country’s education sector, but more importantly, a brighter future for the children of Sierra Leone.

Jocelyn Aguilar

Photo: Flickr

Global Partnerships for Education
Global Partnerships for Education (GPE) is bringing people together all over the world to ensure everyone is awarded access to an education. Created in 2002, GPE is a one-of-a-kind organization, with a goal of strengthening the education system in impoverished countries to raise the number of children enrolled in school.

The organization supports more than 60 countries around the globe, in places where it has historically seemed impossible for children to achieve an education. With the help of many different organizations and countries, GPE has provided millions of dollars to countries in need.

What is GPE 2020?

GPE 2020 is the organization’s aid plan for 2016 through 2020 to ensure inclusive and quality education for all, especially for those in the most vulnerable settings. According to Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there has been vast improvement in the number of children enrolled in school over the past 15 years. But in the poorest areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southern Asia, thousands of children are still unable to attend school.

In the poorest areas of the world, schools are not easily accessible. Due to the poor conditions of schools and lack of qualified teachers, many children miss out on an education because of their societies.

To combat these issues, GPE and many other partners invest millions of dollars to countries with high need. In April of 2018, GPE and The World Bank approved a $100-million grant for the country of Madagascar, a country in Africa with serious educational challenges. Four out of 10 children in Madagascar drop out of school before finishing the last grade, but with the help of GPE, this rate is projected to significantly decrease. Fortunately, Madagascar is just one of the many countries benefitting from GPE’s efforts.

How Does GPE Accomplish Its Goals?

Global Partnerships for Education receives its funding through various sources, including donor countries, international organizations and private sectors. Since 2003, the organization has received over $5 billion from 27 donors, with around 21 percent coming from the United Kingdom alone.

The money donated is given as grants to countries based on poverty level and the number of children not enrolled in school. The donations go to building schools, paying for supplies and hiring qualified teachers.

The Reach of an Empowering Organization

Global Partnerships for Education believes that education is a right for everyone, regardless of status or gender. GPE focuses on ensuring that everyone is able to access the schooling they deserve, and providing support to countries most affected by poverty and conflict.

The organization believes that people are empowered when they are able to achieve an education — something that so many of us in privileged societies take for granted. Through the utilization of available resources to support equal learning across the globe, Global Partnerships for Education is changing lives, one child at a time.

– Allisa Rumreich
Photo: Flickr