Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ann is going back to the UK .....but not for long - we won't allow it :-)

Ann Beatty has been supporting EducAid since before she visited for the first time some 4 years ago but she moved out to live in Maronka and head up the Girls' Safe House in September 2011 and has become a completely invaluable member of the team.  She is thinking, hard-working, committed and has the kindest heart you could hope to find anywhere.
Sad day today as she heads back to the UK to see family and friends but..... not for too long.  We think the feelings are mutual.  Ann has fallen in love with the kids at Maronka and EducAid's work as much as we have with her!
Ann plans to be back in April to continue her good work on the self esteem projects with the girls, capacity building and coaching of the staff, supervision of construction and so much more.
She will be greatly missed and we will all be waiting with open arms for her return.
If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans please go to and

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Working in partnership with the Sierra Leone Teachers' Union

I was visited a few days ago by the head of the Sierra Leone Teachers' Union (SLTU) and was very encouraged to receive this email from him this morning:

It was good to see educaid and the effort you are making to get our children go to schjool and get our teachers trained in a way to help the education process.
SLTU will be prepared to be with you for the mutual benefits of our joint programmes and we are prepared to share with you at all stages of our work to build a strong education process in Sierra Leone.
Please let us know of you schedule of programmes to ensure we take part in some of them to learn of them and contribute on how to strengthen each other.
Thank you very much for your time and effort so far.
Davidson Kuyateh

We look forward to a constructive partnership where we all work to build capacity and support the transformation of competence within the education sector here.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to and

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Bike Ride - Let's get cycling


Sponsored Bicycle Ride from
Hoek van Holland to Brussels via Amsterdam outskirts

30th August to 2nd September 2012

Proceeds to benefit Educaid, Sierra Leone

The trip will start with all cyclists catching the 20.00 train from London, Liverpool Street station to Harwich on Thursday 30th August and boarding the overnight ferry which departs at 23.15. The ferry will arrive in Hoek van Holland at 07.45. Bikes will be unloaded and cycling will start along the coastal route towards Haarlem and then south towards Gouda (80 - 85miles).

On the second day cyclists will ride along picturesque canal paths catching a glimpse of  Dutch countryside and sampling delicious food. The second day (75 miles) will end close to  Antwerp. The final day will be a short cycle ride (50 miles) into Brussels ending with a celebratory meal before boarding the 17.59 Eurostar arriving in London at 19.03.

A support vehicle will accompany the cyclists throughout the ride as well as a catering vehicle which will carry supplies to sustain cyclists. Paul Gage the ‘Bike Mechanic’ will cycle with the group to support any cyclists requiring maintenance for their bikes. All bikes will be transported to Holland in a van which will be loaded on Wednesday evening in London and will return with the bikes to London after the ride. Bikes can be collected on Monday morning.

In order to raise funds for the project we are asking participants to raise a minimum of £1,000 each in sponsorship and to cover their own costs, which are estimated at £300 per person which will include Eurostar tickets, ferry ticket and cabin, two overnight stays as well as food during the ride.   A limited number of places will be available for full-time students who will be asked to fund 3/4 of their costs and to raise a minimum of £500 in sponsorship.

With only 50 spaces available don’t miss out on this great opportunity to have lots of fun while supporting Educaid!!! Contact Janet Broadhurst  as soon as possible with your £200 deposit (cheques made payable to EducAid bike ride).

We will arrange for sponsorship donations to be made on-line through Sponsorship forms with gift aid facilities will be available too.

Janet Broadhurst can be contacted on 07956 423 223 or

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to and

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Long Dry Season

We have had lock down on the well today.  Drinking water pumped up first thing in the morning and then the whole thing locked so that all washing and laundry water be taken from the swamp.
The Maronka well when it was first dug,
capped and producing clean water.
This is really just the first half of dry season so it was more than a touch disconcerting to realise that the well was almost dry yesterday.
The 'well man' has been round today and we will be getting it dug out further, on Sunday.
Let's really hope that this will be enough to keep things healthy and safe for the whole population which has so significantly increased since the well was dug originally.
Note to self: wash when the sun is still hot - swamp / river water is much much colder than well water!!!!
If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to and

Radio Bankasoka

We have just got back, in the middle of the night from a good session at the Radio Bankasoka, the local information station.  Reverend Andy interviewed Isata M, ex-EducAid student who is currently working in the Girls' Safe House, Sumaila Bockarie, ex-EducAid student who is currently teaching in the Maronka primary school and me about EducAid.
There were a good number of callers and Sumaila and Isata had so much to say, they left with a strong desire to go back and say more.
Isata is hoping to go and study Development Studies at the University of Makeni, with the hope of contributing to their local Radio station while she is there.
This gave her a taste of being on air and she greatly enjoyed it.
May this be the beginning of many sessions where she can stir things up, make people think and laugh and engage people's concern as she speaks to them.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to and

Friday, January 13, 2012

Family Literacy has started in Maronka

Having mentioned the idea over a year ago, of getting the parents and families involved in literacy classes, it has taken us too long to get round to starting.  Obai and indeed his wives have been on my case gently reminding and at long last we have started.

Ann, Jane and Isata registered over twenty-two adults in the classes last Friday and they have enthusiastically attended each session since.  Three times a week from nine til ten o'clock the whole group is learning to read, write and speak in English.  Their clearly stated purpose of learning is so they can support their children's education better.

The Maronka community continue to be a delight to work with: always enthusiastic for the next step forward; always willing to take a risk or to make an extra effort if it means development for their community and their children.  If there were many such, Sierra Leone would be a different place!

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to and

Rolal Training Centre starts phase one of the Quality Enhancement Programme

From 6th to 8th January 2012, the principals from our new partner schools, the target for our Quality Enhancement Programme, attended the Rolal Teacher Training Centre to launch the training cycle.
Running small junior secondary schools in rural Port Loko District, these men have a tough task.  One aspect that makes it particularly challenging is the lack of trained and qualified teachers available to teach in these schools.  Many principals are nevertheless loath to let their underlings develop lest they threaten their position and authority.  It is a great shame but happens frequently.  We have sought to undermine this possibility by involving the communities who are the only people in a position to hold them to account.  In reality, those that attended were very enthusiastic about the programme and were thirsty for the support EducAid will offer.  Some did not make it however, and we know they will be a blockage to any further development there unless the communities are strong and willing to take up the fight.
The needs are great: at present, students trying to gain an education in rural Sierra Leone are really in trouble: approximately 40% of teachers are trained and qualified and while many of them are doing their best but that is simply not enough.  Approximately 40% of students sitting the junior secondary exams, BECE, pass them.
By being very practical in our support, we hope to have a very quick impact on these horrible statistics, at least in the schools where we are invited to work.
If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to and

UniMak - looking good

Isata contemplating a future in development work and communication.
The tertiary education options in Sierra Leone often leave me feeling almost desperate.  We preach a message of destruction of inequalities through education but in practice we find that the right connections and the willingness to pay on the side is what really makes it possible to make progress at tertiary level.  Our students, not having access to either short cut, are seriously disadvantaged, not that we would want them to use those means but we do want them to have equal access to progress and get the grades they deserve when they study hard.

Yesterday, a small delegation went to visit the University of Makeni, UniMak.  What a difference!  Their reputation is indeed in strong contrast to that of all other tertiary institutions in the country but it was great to see and get a feel for the place for ourselves.  UniMak is run by the Roman Catholic Church and seeks to give good quality education to poorer people and to have an ethos that tackles the daily corruption that suppresses progress in the country.  Sound familiar?  It felt like meeting EducAid's big brother.  There are fees to pay but they also seek scholarships for needy cases when they can.  A lot of energy is going into improving the facilities and getting good quality lecturers and making sure that the education provided is of the highest standard possible.

We really hope that this will become a good solution for many of our young people who gain sponsorship into tertiary education.  It is not encouraging to get sponsors to may for something that will never be forthcoming in full because of corrupt systems.  If our students get in to UniMak we are far more confident that sponsors will get what they are paying for.  Hopefully, Isata, currently working in the Girls' Safe House, will be one of the first to put this theory to the test.  She seemed excited by her findings yesterday and will confirm her choice in the next few weeks.  The prospect of doing Development Studies with a possibility of working with the local radio station as part of her course had her beaming with delight!

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to or

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Emily hits the roads of Paris for EducAid

Emily née Inman
Emily is training for the Paris marathon and will run to raise monies for EducAid.  She has set up a Just-Giving page:
Please do support her!

We are happy to be able to confirm that, as all overheads are covered by the trustees, all donations will go directly to the project and change the lives of some of the most vulnerable young people in the world.

It costs approximately £10 per month to educate one student for a month (£120 per year).  It costs approximately £100 per month to cover the costs for one teacher (£1200 per year).  It costs approximately £1000 per year to support a quality enhancement programme for teacher training for a whole school (EducAid has a project supporting subject teacher upgrading for some of the schools around the Port Loko area where less than 40% of teachers are trained and qualified. We hope to have an impact on a really good number of children through this new initiative.)

All the best with your training, Emily.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid's work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to and