From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Action Aid Ends one day Distributions of Awards in Kono.
By Aruna Lukuley and Ishmael Jalloh in Kono
Oct 6, 2010, 17:06

Pupils in three Chiefdoms in Kono District were proud recipients of awards past Saturday, courtesy of Action Aid a non-governmental organization working in the district to end poverty through support to primary school pupils in Nimikoro, Ngorama Kono and Nimiyama chiefdoms respectively.


Kono district prior to the intervention of organizations like Action Aid, has been reputed largely for the mining of diamonds, hence the low output of school pupils’ performance in public exams over the years. In a bid to stall this trend therefore, Action Aid, in collaboration with its overseas partners, presented awards to 22 Best Class Five Pupils and 48 Girls with the Best NPSE results for last year in these three chiefdoms. The awards cover school materials including shoes, shirts, shorts and skirts to the recipient boys and girls who excelled in their examination over the past year.

 

Welcoming guests to the ceremony, the Head Teacher of Sumbeidu Primary School, Sahr Mattia implored representatives to advocate for the welfare of teachers while thanking Action Aid for their gesture in meeting the felt needs of the beneficiaries at “such a crucial time when schools have just reopened.”

Cross Section of beneficiary Pupils


A representative of World Vision, Mr. Morsay, called on the parents of the beneficiary communities to ensure that they send their girl-children to school whilst noting that education is a panacea to ending poverty. He mentioned poverty, preventable diseases, and cultural practices amongst others as some of the impediments that hinder girls from in those communities from completing school. He further cautioned parents to stop the habit of marrying off girls at early ages, noting that girls have long been marginalized in favour of their male counterparts.


The National and General Representative of Action Aid-Sierra Leone, Mrs. Bernadette Turay, who also doubles as Principal of the Koidu Girls’ Secondary School explained to her audience about the membership of Action Aid-Sierra Leone that has grown to the level of Action Aid International owing greatly to the recognition accorded the organization through hard work and their interventions in deprived communities.

 

A representative of the Deputy Director of Education in Kono District, Joseph Gbenda, underscored government’s commitment to improving education in the district, with the indication that school structures with qualified teachers are found in almost every part of the district.

 

The Manager of Action Aid-Kono, Alpha Bangura explained that his organization works with 22 schools and 16 communities in Kono District. The Manager further explained that his organization streamlines its programme in concert with government’s strategic educational plan. He also called on parents to send their children to school, whilst encouraging pupils to make good use of the school materials awarded them.


Many of the guests present at the occasion expressed satisfaction with the work of Action Aid-Sierra Leone in the district.


Tamba Moiforay, a youth in Nimikoro chiefdom commented to these reporters that Action Aid’s intervention was “timely” as it would motivate parents to send their children to school as well as motivate the children to stay longer in schools.

 

“The inability of most parents to provide school materials for their children due to the economic hardship in the district is the principal demotivating factor for the low attendance level and high rate of drop outs in the district,” Tamba noted, adding that with the gesture of Action Aid-Sierra Leone, “most if not all of them are now seeing light in the tunnel for their children.”


The presentation of school materials to beneficiary pupils formed the highlight of the occasion, while other speakers who made meaningful contributions at the ceremony included a representative from the Mother’s Club, Councilors, and the Chiefdom Speaker of Ngorama Kono Chiefdom amongst others. 



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