Mayatta Sports Meet
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is a well-known proverb. It means that without time off from work, a person becomes both bored and boring.
To maintain the social and physical development of the students, each EduNations school takes time every year to divide the students into teams known as “houses” – the Weaver House, Kennedy House, Krieger House, and Rumer House – in order to compete in various athletic activities. This athletic meet allows the students to showcase their skills and interact with other students in a non-cognitive learning environment. They compete in track and field events such as short and long relays, high jump, and long jump and participate in amusing games such as musical chairs and “tug of peace” (as a friendly alternative to a “tug of war”).
Both the EduNations staff and students who are voted into the various houses are allowed two hours every week to practice for the three weeks leading to the competition. The competition itself runs for two days – Friday and Saturday – and all the parents and other community members are invited to watch the teams compete. The athletic meet is always filled with lots of energy and excitement amidst the thrills, disappointments and cheers for victories. The students enjoy this opportunity to demonstrate their talents, enthusiasm and sportsmanship, as well as make many memories that they can cherish forever.
This school year, the Mayatta Nursery and Primary Schools were the first to hold their inter-house sports meet, taking place on February 15-16, 2019. The guest of honor for the competition was President of EduNations, Samuel Sesay. After the lighting of the torch and the house colors parade, the President was asked to address the staff and students, as well as all those who had gathered around the school field to watch the events – approximately 5,000 people! Speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors of EduNations Inc., Mr. Sesay noted the importance of sports in improving an individual’s physical and mental health and encouraged the pupils and staff to demonstrate professionalism, sportsmanship and maturity to ensure the successful completion of all events. “In every competition, there must be a winner”, said Mr. Sesay as he reiterated the need for all competitors and teachers to accept the final results as presented by the judges.
After two days of competing in over 60 different events, students departed with big smiles on their faces as the Rumer House emerged as House Champions with a total score of 726 points, followed by Krieger House with 712 points, Weaver House with 682 points and Kennedy House with 664 points. The Head Teachers of the Nursery and Primary Schools, Mrs. Kadie Sesay and Mr. Daniel Mansaray, were proud of their staff and students and thanked them for their good sportsmanship and cooperation. The Section Chief, Village Headman and other honored guests made brief statements commending the ability sports have to unify a community and thanked the EduNations Board of Directors for bringing hope to their community through education. The next schools to hold their inter-house sports meets are the Nursery, Primary and Junior Secondary Schools in Mapainda on March 1-2, 2019.
Demonstrating commitment to ongoing education, EduNations school administrators and staff receive training so they can serve their students and teachers more effectively. Below are two programs of special interest.
A team from North Park Church will train EduNations’ school heads in the use of computers which are scheduled to arrive by July 2019. Use of computers will yield many benefits as teachers will be able to more efficiently prepare operations reports, analyze student grades and external examination entries, and make presentations to teachers and students.
In a project funded by the European Union, EduNations’ administrative staff have completed training in “Improving Management of Civil Society Organization in the Education Sector” provided by the Italian NGO, AVSI.
Understanding EduNations goal of ongoing improvement, AVSI selected EduNations to receive training in five critical functional areas:
- Accounting and Budgeting
- Project Management
- Human Resources Management
- Team Work
Psycho-social training was designed to improve early childhood education. The training was centered on kindergarten education as an important entry-point experience which can positively affect the whole of a child’s education.
Accounting and Budgeting training covered three different topics – budgeting, financial controls, and taxation. The budgeting aspect focused on a proper preparation of budgets according to the EU-approved format and the training in financial controls taught our staff to properly account for and control expenditures according to the budget. The third topic, taxation, focused on how to comply with tax regulations in Sierra Leone.
Project Management is critical for the success of EduNations’ diverse projects. Thanks to the training, staff with project management responsibilities now have critical knowledge on the planning and implementation of projects in contemporary Sierra Leone society.
The training on Human Resources Management and Team Work was designed to help EduNations develop high performing teams through a better understanding of the phases of team development and critical success factors in each of those stages. Attending were Edunations’ Admin and Finance, Education, and Psychosocial Officers who learned how they can be leading others in working better together.
We are confident this training will improve the performance of our staff and organization. We also believe professional development is a critical motivator which demonstrates how EduNations values its employees.
Addressing the Challenge of Sexual Assault
Sexual violence against women and children is a continual and serious worldwide problem. It is not only a violation of human rights but also limits the contributions and development of women and children in emerging countries like Sierra Leone. According to recent statistics from Sierra Leone, sexual assault is increasing and has catastrophic results. With over 11,000 cases of sexual assault in 2018 in a country with slightly over 3.8 million women, this means that one in every three-hundred women in Sierra Leone suffers Gender Based Violence (GBV) every year. The female school dropout rate exceeds 60 percent in Sierra Leone with 90 percent of these dropouts related to sexual abuse. Even with efforts to encourage reporting of assaults and hold perpetrators accountable, it is believed that up to 60 percent of pupils in Sierra Leone suffer GBV and that only about ten percent of cases are reported. Since girls experiencing GBV suffer physical, socio-economic, emotional, psychological, and spiritual effects, it is critical that we make every effort to reduce GBV and help victims to recover.
EduNations’ goal is to fully eliminate GBV incidences at our schools and encourages reporting of assaults as a critical component of justice for victims and prevention of future GBV. Last academic year there were 11 cases of GBV or teenage pregnancy reported at EduNations’ schools. In the current academic year, it is encouraging but still sad that we have recorded 5 cases of GBV or teenage pregnancy. All cases have been reported to the police, and we are providing the psychosocial and practical support to the girls and their parents as they pursue justice and healing.
In December 2018 after the new Sierra Leonean national administration took office, the First Lady of Sierra Leone and other West African First Ladies launched a campaign called ‘HANDS OFF OUR GIRLS’ to protect girls from GBV, teenage pregnancy, and early marriage. The First Lady stated that the biggest problem in Africa as a whole and Sierra Leone in particular is that teenage girls are being disadvantaged by sexual activity at an early age. The campaign represents her commitment to fight for the girls’ safety and to encourage young women to stay in school and reach their full potential.
In February 2019, the President of Sierra Leone declared rape and sexual assault as a national emergency. In his speeches he made it clear that, ‘Sexual attack on minors- which account for a third of all cases – will be punished with A LIFE SENTENCE.’ The president’s declaration underlined the government’s serious commitment to progress against GBV.
As a result of the high rate of sexual assault and teenage pregnancy, EduNations decided to embark on its own sex education campaign for all EduNations’ schools and communities. The campaign includes educational films and group presentations as well as community information on the ramifications of sexual assault and teenage pregnancy. The campaign was centered on protecting girls from sexual assault, discouraging consensual sex before marriage, and the benefits of staying in school.
EduNations’ campaign started in the Mapainda Community with students age 12 and above. Four videos (listed below) were shown to them and followed by additional explanation and discussion.
- The Reproductive System and Puberty
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’S)
- Early Marriage
- Formation of a “Virginity Club”
After watching these videos, the students asked several questions, especially about STD’s. Some of them asked if EduNations can help them pursue medical testing so that appropriate remedies can be pursued where necessary.
Some of the students made a resolution to choose “God’s Dream” by committing themselves to abstain from sex prior to marriage. In Mapainda, these resolutions were affirmed with formation of a teacher supervised “Virginity Club” for both male and female students, wherein students can support each other to keep their promise and reach their dream.
EduNations will continue to work with the Government of Sierra Leone’s efforts to eradicate rape and sexual assault. Our vision is for all girls and women to be respected and that girls will be allowed to finish their education and contribute to Sierra Leonean national development.
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BIG NEWS: WE’RE GETTING A FACE LIFT!
As EduNations looks ahead into the future after 15 years of igniting hope in Sierra Leone, we are releasing a new, updated brand! You’ll begin to see this new look being rolled out over the next few months. We believe that our new look better matches who we’ve become over these past 15 years – an organization dedicated to igniting hope through education and empowerment.