In Sierra Leone it is not easy to attend secondary school. School drop-out rates are very high, and in the Koinadugu district (to which Serekolia, the village involved in AMU’s action, belongs) it is estimated that only a sixth of all children attends secondary school during adolescence.
The reasons for dropping out, as confirmed by UNICEF, include the long distances between the villages and schools, which not everyone can manage and which lead young people to move away from the protection of their families and communities, pregnancies and early marriages (the latter affecting 30% of girls under 18) and the practice of female genital mutilation (86.1%).
In order to increase school attendance, the community of Serekolia itself constructed a makeshift building in 2013 to start a secondary school which was approved by the government in 2019.
The school currently accommodates 210 pupils in only three classrooms, without any kind of essential services, like water and toilets, and unable to accommodate all the students who have finished primary school and would like to attend secondary school.
Thanks to the new school, many teenage girls in Serekolia will will be able to stay with their families and study close to home, protected and looked after by their own community.
The community will also act as a guardian for students attending the secondary school from neighbouring villages. In fact, as an act of reciprocity local families will offer them accommodation, food and supervision as their own parents would do.
- Expansion and fitting out of the school building with:
- 3 classrooms plus offices for teaching and administrative staff
- Sanitary facilities
- Well for drinking water
- 100 new chair/bench stations for students
- Awareness-raising meetings with at least 300 adult representatives from the 19 villages in the kingdom, on the rights of children and adolescents and the national regulations that guarantee those rights.