The Jeneba Project is committed to contributing to the reconstruction of the Mano River Union countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea through targeted educational projects. Our aim is to improve the lives of children in these countries after a decade of civil war by expanding educational opportunities. Our projects are distributed across three main areas: a) Providing scholastic supplies; b) Providing scholarships for girls; and c) Providing long-lasting educational infrastructure such as libraries and schools.
Why Education in Sierra Leone?
• From 1991-2002 Sierra Leone endured a brutal civil war triggered by poor governance and prolonged by the looting of “diamonds.” Violence against civilians was rampant, and by the end of the war, tens of thousands had been killed and over a million civilians had fled to neighboring Guinea. During the war, over 60% of educational infrastructure was destroyed, leaving a critical void in the education sector.
• Children were particularly affected by the war. Not only were they victims of amputations, they were also forced to become primary perpetrators of violence as child soldiers. This traumatic past has left a dire need to re-establish basic community foundations, especially for children born in war, and to reintegrate former child soldiers into a more stable and healthy environment.
• Ten years after the civil war, Sierra Leone is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. Reasons for absence from school include extreme poverty and the inability to pay school fees, lack of educational infrastructure and trained teachers, and inadequate parental support for young children. Girls are particularly vulnerable as their education is often considered second to that of their male counterparts. Girls often face issues such as sexual harassment and teenage pregnancy, which hinder education at junior and high school levels.
The Jeneba Project believes that education is the fundamental agent in the development of a society. Education develops individuals and allows them to become better participants in society, to financially sustain themselves and their families, and to escape poverty. Through the expansion of educational opportunities for youths, we aim to make an impact on the greater community by addressing problems of illiteracy and larger issues of poverty and underdevelopment.
Education allows individuals to become agents of change within their communities; it trains them for future leadership, entrepreneurship, and self-directed development. Students will be prepared to pursue tertiary education when available. Moreover, students will develop skills to diversify the predominantly subsistent agricultural economy, thus stimulating economic development and reducing crime.