SABI intervention improved the environment of learning

Pupils in Gorahun Town

Since 2017, pupils attending schools in Gorahun Town, Tunkia Chiefdom, ward 37 in Kenema District, were not encouraged to learn, because the schools had a common problem of insufficient benches and unlockable doors. As school enrolment increases, most pupils sit on the floor to take classes. Teachers faced difficulties to teach because of distractions and pupils could not take notes properly.

School pupils in Gorahun Town – Congested classes

A SABI partner in the East, SEND Sierra Leone, supported the chiefdom leaders and the Ward Development committee Members to develop an action plan, based on evidence collected during the citizens perception survey, by Restless Development Youth Accountability Volunteers (YAVs) in Gorahun Town.

The Youth Accountability Volunteers and SEND Field Officer facilitated inclusive discussions which enabled community members to feed into the action plan, linking specific stakeholders using the accountable governance pathways. The action plan, which ranked ‘inadequate benches’ as the biggest problem affecting pupils in KDC primary and Ahmadiyya primary schools, was shared with stakeholders at ward and District level. They strategically prioritised education because they believed in education for their children.

As they mobilised support to implement the action plan, the community demanded that Chiefdom Leaders, namely; Councillor Bockarie Mansaray, Chief Kanneh, Paramount Chief representative, and Ward Development Committee (WDC) members, prevail on head teachers and school management committees, to use part of their school fees subsidies and 75% of the performance base finance to provide additional furniture for the schools.

The head teachers and school management committee chairperson prioritised the voice of the community and called up another meeting to discuss the way forward. Together they put plans into action, 50 benches and 10 long desks were provided, which was shared among the various schools. The town chief and youth leaders provided boards and doors to protect pupils in the schools.

The problem is now solved. Pupils in Gorahun Town now have a safe environment of learning. It’s two pupils to a desk.

Pupils in Gorahun Town

The head master, Mrs Agnes Yokie and the school management committee chairman, Mr. Harding, appreciated SABI for increasing their knowledge on the accountable governance pathways, including evidence presented, that inspired collective action from the community and school management committee.

The work of SABI made us think. Now we have an idea of how to prioritise our school challenges and take action. We didn’t think this was possible before – Mrs Agnes Yokie Head master, KDEC Primary School, Gorahun Town.

The intervention of SABI to work through partners to support citizens to identify problems and work with state service providers to overcome challenges in service delivery, has motivated community people to take leadership and ownership of their own development.