New year, new plans!
Back in January, we travelled to Sierra Leone to find out about the challenges they faced in vocational education and explore potential partnerships to support this area of work. This marked the start of our journey, and what a great start it was! We had high level meetings with staff from Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce, The Vice President’s office in Freetown, The Mayor’s Delivery Unit in Freetown City Council and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
So, what did we learn?
We found out that there’s a big interest in TVET and using the UK curricula, and that many opportunities exist to develop vocational training within Sierra Leone, particularly within Travel & Tourism. But, the lack of investment in Sierra Leone means that TVET centres have a shortage of qualified staff to deliver training. They also face significant energy challenges as a result of deforestation which affects their ability to deliver training.
On a wider level, deforestation has also contributed to excessive flooding and dangerous mudslides within the country. Sanitation and access to clean water are also huge issues meaning that almost 95% of the city doesn’t have access to water mains. Most people in the city therefore rely on bottled water which has resulted in excessive plastic pollution.
Manja Kargbo, team leader at the Mayor’s Delivery Unit in Freetown’s City Council, told us about their new Transformation Freetown Strategy which aims to address these issues. They’re currently working on an exciting new initiative to replant one million trees.
And we want to help! In fact, we’re already planning our return visit for a working group with key stakeholders to learn more about the challenges that deforestation has led to. We also want to explore how we might be able to support our partners with an awareness raising campaign that sheds light on the devastating environmental impact that cutting down trees has. By working together we hope to develop proposals for an initiative that will help address these. A carbon off setting programme will be a key focus of our discussions.
We also plan to explore the TVET opportunities that exist in Sierra Leone and find out how we can support job creation within the tourism sector.
Watch this space for more updates!