This donation marked the completion of Phase 3 of the All Pikin for Learn (McGovern Dole Food for Education) which is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on behalf of the American people. Since 2008, this program has successfully improved school attendance, especially among girls, reduced hunger, and improved literacy in primary education. The final program items donated included 5,400 government aligned and approved text books, 10,367 teaching and learning materials, and school furniture (desks, tables, chairs).
In a symbolic handing over ceremony held on Saturday, June 29th, 2019 in Kabala, the district capital of Koinadugu, CRS Acting Country Representative Daniel Mumuni, highlighted that “Education is key and unlocks the potentials of every child in Sierra Leone.” Mr. Mumuni thanked the Sierra Leone Government for their continued partnership with CRS, an INGO which has been working with the Sierra Leone people for over 60 years. He officially announced the closure of the McGovern Dole Food for Education Phase 3 and the start of Phase 4 which will run until September 2022 targeting 309 schools and feeding 69,731 students to boost their enrollment and academic performance. In attendance at the ceremony were the Minister and Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, the Minister of Works and Housing, national coordinator of Free Quality Education program and representative of State House.
The Deputy Minister, Mrs. Emily Kadiatu Gogra, thanked CRS for its commitment to the children of Sierra Leone and emphatically stated that CRS has been able to work in areas where the government cannot reach and has been unable to work. She testified to her field visits to these areas where communities tell her CRS is a ‘household name.’ Mr. Lans Keifala, a representative from State House, likewise commended CRS for their work in Koinadugu and Falaba districts and assured those in attendance that this work would be reported back to the president through the Chief Minister.
The Honorable Alpha Osman Timbo, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, highlighted that a country’s development is judged by its educational systems and citizens it produces. With Sierra Leone ranked 184th on the human development index the collaboration of organizations like CRS, the U.S. Government, and the Ministry of Education are crucial to the country’s future. The Minister was very pleased to report that CRS’ contribution to education has led to Koinadugu District placing in the top four districts in the 2018 Sierra Leone National Primary School Examination (NPSE).
In a related development, CRS announced a yearlong provision of fortified corn meal and vegetable oil to the Kabala School for the Blind and the Kabala Amputee’s Camp. This donation was the first in a yearlong commitment to feeding these children and demonstrated the values of CRS in solidarity and support to People Living with Disability (PLWD).
CRS will continue implementation of the 4th phase of the USDA funded ‘All Pikin for Learn’ with activities including provision of school lunches to 69,000 students, construction of 30 classrooms, provision of teaching learning materials, training of 100 teachers, and government capacity building, among other activities. USDA’s McGovern-Dole program, active throughout the world since 2002, has benefited over 30 million students, parents and teachers. The primary objectives of the program are to improve school attendance, especially among girls, reduce hunger, and improve literacy in primary education.