The Jeneba Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to developing leaders in Sierra Leone by providing targeted educational opportunities. We promote knowledge and skills alongside conscientiousness and civic responsibility. We enable youth to become agents of change and development in their communities.
Our projects are distributed across three main areas: a) Building educational infrastructure such as libraries and schools; b) Granting scholarships to girls; and c) Leading the Sierra Leone Memory Project to help communities cope with and heal from past trauma.
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 “blood diamonds.” Violence against civilians was rampant and by the end of the war thousands of people had been killed and over a million civilians 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, leaving a dire need to strengthen community foundations.
• Sierra Leone remains 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 also face issues such as sexual harassment and teenage pregnancy, which hinder education at junior and high school levels.
• The Ebola crisis has severely weakened already vulnerable institutions and particularly affected students who were unable to attend school during the country's school closure. Both a phenomenon and exacerbator of underdevelopment, it has emphasized the need for an educated leadership that can build the country's foundations, prevent and react to crises in a more efficient manner.
The Jeneba Project believes that education is a 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 and stimulate economic development.