Plan International Sierra Leone on Thursday 20th April 2017, at the Family Kingdom Conference Room in Freetown, has successfully called out the Girl Education Challenge (GEC) Project, which has supported the girl child and persons with disabilities with access to education in Kailahun, Kenema, Kono, Moyamba and Port Loko districts.
The project is implemented through a consortium of partnership with Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), Handicap International (HI), International Rescue Committee (IRC), and the Open University (OU).
The Girl Education Challenge Project (GEC) Program Manager, Madam Regina Saffa who works for Plan International, disclosed that the aim of the Girl Education Challenge Project is to provide support to marginalized girls and children with disabilities through a package of services that removed barriers to school attendance and facilitates a higher quality experience of education to school going children.
She added that the project targeted twenty-one thousand six hundred children in total (21,600) including twenty thousand and nineteenth (2,019) children with disabilities in primary and Junior Secondary Schools. She went on that the beneficiaries of the Girl Education Challenge Project includ but not limited to the following: girls living in single-parent homes, school drop-outs from poor families and girls affected by cultural and traditional barriers, girls living on their own with no reliable financial support, survivors of rape for whom schooling would also contribute to psychological healing, Orphans girls, girls who have at least one parent who is disabled and girls in care of low-income or unemployed homes.
She added that during the outbreak of the Ebola in 2014, as the Girls Education Challenge Project could not continue to support beneficiary’s enrollment and retention as the Ministry of Education Science and Technology shutdown all schools in the country, the Girl Education Challenge Project distributed solar powered radios to the girl child for them to benefitted from the broadcast Ministry of Education Radio Teaching program.
The representative from the Forum of African Women Educationalist (FAWE), and program manager of the Girl Education Challenge project for FAWE, Aloysius K. Kamara, said that as part of the support they got from Plan International, they target young women between the ages of 18-30 years.
He added that they supported young women to enter teaching training colleges and their aim is to increase the number of female teachers in rural communities.
He disclosed that they now have four hundred and eighty-three female students who are undergoing teachers training at the Freetown Teachers College, Port Loko Teachers College and Eastern Polytech and are expected to graduate soon.
Similarly, the representative from Handicap International, Mr. Joe Feika said that as part of the support they got from Plan International in the ‘Girl Education Challenge Project’ they successfully implemented the project at eight district of Sierra Leone, forty-three Chiefdoms and thirteen Wards in Freetown.
He added that they targeted vulnerable boys and girls especially the persons with disabilities and they have promoted disabilities and inclusive education issues.
Part of the beneficiaries of the Girl Education Challenge Project present at the ceremony, Abu Bakarr Kamara, Kadiatu Mansaray, and Adamsay Kamara have appealed to Plan International to continue with the project and help to empower the girl child and persons with disabilities to go school and complete school.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.