Connect for the Kids
Join us tomorrow as we kick off our “Connect for the Kids” campaign with our first ever live stream event! Beginning at 7:30 PM, you’ll have the opportunity to hear about our work overseas, connect with our staff in Sierra Leone, enter giveaways, and partner with us as we continue our mission.
EduNations Implements Home-Schooling Program
In an attempt to decrease the spread of COVID-19 throughout Sierra Leone, the government ordered that schools be closed starting on March 31. Undaunted, EduNations immediately implemented a home-schooling program for our national examination candidates. The program was needed because our students live in remote villages where there is no access to the radio-teaching program provided by the national government as preparation for the National Primary School Examinations (NPSE) and Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) 2020.
As part of the home-schooling program, EduNations assigned students to 98 teachers for personal tutoring. Each teacher was assigned to visit one to three students for 2-3 hours at a time, three days per week to help the student in their study and examination preparations. The teachers are working with a clearly defined strategic study plan for each student to assure strong preparedness for the exams in July 2020.
Study materials are based on school curriculum and a collection of past external examination papers. Although the home schooling has been additional work for EduNations’ teachers and administrators, we are hopeful that EduNations students will continue the history of excellent results in this year’s national exams.
EduNations HQ is Moving!
As you might imagine, since EduNations’ schools are in remote inland villages, travel from the seaport capital of Freetown has always been a long, frequently difficult trip. So moving EduNations HQ to Makeni, much more central to the six schools, will make such travel much faster and easier for our staff.
Since EduNations’ microfinance office is also in Makeni, the move will also facilitate synergy and cooperation between the microfinance and the administrative staff. There will be cost savings due to shared resources such as internet services. Paying teachers will also be more efficient since monthly pay vouchers will no longer have to be sent from Freetown for signatures and back for final accounting. Time previously spent in travel from Freetown is now available for even better oversight of various staff functions that support the delivery of the best quality education to our students. The new location will also allow closer cooperation with regional and district authorities and ease of access for community relations.
While the organizational advantages and efficiencies are many, the move has still meant personal displacement for staff whose homes had been in Freetown. We would appreciate prayers that God would ease the resettlement of our staff and their families as well as bless their work in the new location.
“Mask Up and Stay Safe!” – Responding to COVID-19 in Sierra Leone
With over 500 positive cases of COVID-19 and 33 deaths to date in all but 3 of 16 districts in Sierra Leone, the once seemingly distant global pandemic is indeed in Sierra Leone.
Even though Sierra Leone governmental Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is strongly urging all citizens to practice basic hygiene of regular hand washing, social distancing and the use of face-masks, most of the people including our EduNations students cannot afford to buy face-masks. To help protect our students, staff, and communities, EduNations has taken many steps including providing hand washing facilities and fever thermometers in each of our six communities.
Additionally, in a program called “Mask Up and Stay Safe!”, EduNations has donated 800 face-masks to teachers, students in external examination classes, pastors and their families and community stakeholders in just the last two weeks despite the difficult conditions presented by rainy season roads.
While the importance of using face-masks to prevent airborne transmission of the virus is well known, the challenge of getting people in the villages to stop laughing at the idea of using face masks (or misusing them as chin masks) was frustratingly painful. EduNations Psychosocial Coordinator, Fatu Koroma, traveled from village to village and from house to house to reinforce the importance of using face-masks and showing how to use them properly. As more and more people protect themselves, they will also shield their friends and loved ones, and our goal is that whole villages will be spared from illness. Led by EduNations teachers and students, the “Mask Up” campaign is gaining popularity and momentum. What we say to our teachers and students, we are also saying to you, “Mask Up!”
New Poultry Project for Makump and Mabum
If you want chicken for dinner, you probably just head to the grocery store and buy whatever you like all ready to cook. Not so in the remote villages of Sierra Leone where EduNations has built schools and subsistence farming is the norm. In fact, if you want chicken, you have to either raise chickens, or travel to another village that raise chickens.
In 2017, the village elders of Makump and Mabum, having learned of EduNations’ sustainability initiatives, made an appeal for funds to build a small poultry farm. While it took some time, one of EduNations’ donors provided all the funds to supply 1000 chicks from Holland, and the villagers mobilized to supply local material of granite, sand, wood, and water to start building before construction was halted by COVID-19 pandemic measures.
While the villages wait for flights to resume to bring the chicks and construction to be completed, EduNations personnel provided training in poultry farm operations and management and conducted research on viable market opportunities for the sale of fresh eggs and chicken. With the opening of the Rokassa Senior Secondary Boarding Home School, the prospect of generating funds for the people of Makump and Mabum to support their children’s education as well as providing fresh eggs and a healthy meal for the students in Rokassa has made the project well worth the wait.
On behalf of the people of Makump and Mabum, thank you to the generous donor for this project and everyone who continues to support EduNations in providing quality education for “the least of these”.
Mapainda gets a New Pre-School Building
EduNations operates five primary schools, each with a pre-school for younger students to comply with the mandate from the government of Sierra Leone. Over the years the Mapainda pre-school, primary school, and secondary school shared space in two buildings originally meant for the primary and secondary schools. With the increased enrollment in the Mapainda schools, accommodation became a challenge and it became clear the pre-school needed its own building.
During his June 2019 visit to the United States, EduNations’ President Samuel Sesay was invited to dinner by Reverend Tom Holmes of Manor Presbyterian (EPC) Church in Slickville, Pennsylvania. While thanking Reverend Holmes, whose church donated funds to build the Mapainda EPC church, Samuel spoke of the need for a nursery school in Mapainda. Reverend Holmes brought the need to the church congregation who generously provided enough to build the school.
Today the building is completed with two large classrooms that can accommodate more than fifty to sixty students, the head teacher’s office, a staff room and a large playground. Grateful village parents also helped in the provision of some local materials. The head mistress of the pre-school said she is thankful to donors, God, and EduNations for making this vision a reality.