Stakeholder in Gao led a process to get improved school facilities

Stakeholder in Gao led a process to get improved school facilities.

The people of Gao Community, Dama Chiefdom, Kenema District now sees a different future and their role in it. With the initial spark provided by SABI, stakeholders in Gao Community now embark on solving multiple problems, to improve service delivery in their community.

Since 2017, the KMDEC School has been unsafe. The building was deplorable, pupils had no benches and teachers did not have enough materials to run the school. On top of that, the school was unapproved.

In 2018, SABI, through Restless Development, gathered evidence of citizens’ experiences of accessing education services in Gao Community, this provided more light on the severity of the problem, and stakeholders decided to prioritize it.

In April 2018, The Restless Development Volunteers, introduced the accountable governance pathways and worked with the community to document the problem by developing action plans, this created an opportunity for stakeholders in Goa Community to identify key stakeholders at district and ward level, who needed to take action. SABI encouraged the participation of women and persons with disability throughout the planning process.

The Councillor (Ibrahim Mohamed Konneh – ward 35), and Head Teacher (Ambrose Bockarie Tucker – KMDEC Primary School), attended the Kenema District council coordination meeting, where the Councillor presented their action plan and explained the condition of the school. This caught the attention of Ministry of Education and they all agreed to conduct an assessment visit to Gao Community.

The visit to Gao was useful, after 3 months, the authorities from the district council and ministry of education together solicited support from European Union, and commissioned KOBANGS General Merchandise to rebuild the school. Women, youths and young people in Gao Community worked together to mobilize local resources like sticks, stones and food for work. Stakeholders formed a committee, inclusive of women and persons with disabilities, to monitor the project.

A three classrooms school building was constructed in Gao Community.

A three classrooms school building was constructed, with office and staff room. The school now caters for pupils from class one to class six. A total of 111 children (50 boys, 61girls) now benefit from the school, including three disable children who were not attending school before, because they couldn’t walk 3 miles to attend school. Thinking of them, the Head Teacher, (Ambrose Bockarie Tucker – KMDEC Primary School), insisted that the school be giving a ramp. Pupils come from a nearby village known as Sembehun, (2 miles from Gao), to attend school in Gao Community.

I don’t see any of this happening without knowledge from SABI. We didn’t know how council works; we didn’t even know our roles in development. But with the enlightenment from SABI, we are now doing things we never taught we could come close to doing. We are truly blessed to have gained knowledge from SABI – Head Teacher, (Ambrose Bockarie Tucker – KMDEC Primary School).

 

SABI has made us bold in this community. Women in this community now work together with men to get what we want – Fatmata Kanneh –  SMC Member, Gao Community.  

With this new way of solving problems, stakeholders in Gao Community saw the possibility of using the same method to solve other problems. They immediately launched an appeal for school approval and the fabrication of furniture for pupils. They used the accountable governance pathways and action plans to work with various committee heads at the district council to solve the problem. The council enabled the M&E Officer to assess the likelihood for school approval in Gao Community, and the result turned out to be necessary.

In February 2019, the school was approved. Now the KMDEC Primary School receives school supplies like books, subsidies, food aid and other school materials. New furniture was constructed by the Ministry of Education, which improved the condition of learning for children in Gao Community.

KMDEC Primary School receives school supplies like books, subsidies, food aid and other school materials.

This motivated the Head Teacher (Ambrose Bockarie Tucker) to prepare 4 pupils for the National Primary School Exam (NPSE), and all of them were successful. The four pupils now attend Senior Secondary School in Kenema Town.

Gao Community did not stop there, they used the same approach to solve the water problem in their community. Now they have hand pump that benefits about 1000 people in the catchment area.

This happened based their engagement with district council and the District Health Management Team (DHMT) in Kenema District.