For promoting girls education… UNICEF donates brass band to WCSL in Kaabala
School pupils from various Primary Schools on Monday 25th October 2010 marched through the streets of Kabala into the Community Centre where they were joined by parents, guardians, school and traditional authorities commemorating the Girls’ Education Week which started on 20th to 26th October 2010. The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF and the Government of Sierra Leone demonstrated their willingness to improve girls enrolment in school and also want to ensure that those that are already enrolled stay in school. This year’s theme was centered on: “Invest in girls’ education: make our schools free from sexual exploitation”.
The event marks the awarding of a brand new brass band to the Wesleyan Church Sierra Leone Primary School.
UNICEF’s Communication and Development Specialist, Frederick Borbor-James since 2004 unto 2009 the UN Agency has been giving material and other scholarship support on girls’ education week, but this time round a tremendous development has taken place with the support of UNICEF, teachers and development partners. “We have decided to shift from individual awards to building a school-community partnership. We set up a number of criteria before giving the award to the deserving school,” he said, and added that some of the criteria includes: the number of primary school girls that passes in the 2009 academic year, at least 50 per cent teachers’ qualification, commitment of teachers etc. Mr. Borbor-James reiterated the fact that out of the five Districts in the North, the WCSL Primary School in Koinadugu met the criteria. “UNICEF is hopeful that the brass band will help to bring more children to school and raise more resources that will make girls stay in school,” says the UNICEF Specialist, and warned that the school authorities, parents and community members should discourage teenage pregnancy, early marriage, corporal punishment and harmful traditional practices that hinders girls education. “Let us make the school system friendlier so that children will be happy to go to school,” he said.
Paramount Chief Kondowulay Gbawuru Mansaray III of Wara Wara Yagala Chiefdom commanded UNICEF and other organizations like Cause Canada, World Food Program and CCF for helping schools in his chiefdom. He said, as a Paramount Chief he will not sit by looking at things going the wrong way for the girl child. He informed the gathering that after he attended a workshop in Makeni together with some traditional women (Soweis), his chiefdom has instituted by-laws to prevent girls under the age of 18 to entering the Bondo society. “We want the girl child to stay in school. Most of these children spend three of four weeks in societal bushes, thereby hindering their progress in school,” he said, and warned that whosoever goes against these by-laws will be thoroughly dealt with. PC Mansaray III encouraged other chiefdoms in Koinadugu District to emulate this example so that girls will be well prepared for future development. He also informed the gathering that very soon they will be having by-laws that prevent children from going to night clubs, and it will also discourage school pupils from parading the streets at night. He concluded by encouraging girls to report to the chiefdom authorities whosoever that want to destroy their future.
By Fadda Bakish
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