Friday, 5 July 2013

Education is better than silver and gold

A Case Study on a Community Primary School
Compiled by Bernard Conteh Community Ambassador (Commonwealth School Enterprise Challenge Sierra Leone) and Global Change Maker Sierra Leone-British Council.


This is the biggest challenging slum community in Freetown since independence.
As the name implies Bay refers to a waterish community for decades and because of it legacy, it has drown attention to many people as a historical community during slave trade.
Nowadays when you reside at Kroo Bay someone will automatically class you as a poor, disadvantaged, misfortune, homeless and under-privileged.

This is one of the communities that have been neglected and abandoned.
Subsequently this is a community that has contributed to the development of Sierra Leone one way or the other.

Kroo Bay Community Primary School is a Community Based school established by community members to help children within the community to acquire Education since 1994.

Since it inception, it has being providing Primary Education to children in the Community especially to under- privileged and vulnerable children.
Because it is a community school, they have been neglected and limited to school facilities over the years forgetting the role they have being playing in promoting Education in Sierra Leone.
They offer education from Nursery to Class Six which is the final stage to enter Secondary School.

A lot of children have gone through this school since 1994 to date.
Parents, who do not have money to pay for their children to go to school, seek admission in this school. Most Parents rely on the Community School because they are within the same community.

Teachers in the school are volunteers and are working on NO salary basis because of the love they have for their community and respect for Education.
It is a pity and challenging cause for the children in the community especially in terms of Education and it benefits.


As you can see, since this school was built by the community, it has never gone through maintenance and painting. The structure is fading away and it loosing it form gradually.

Many times after flooding it takes a while (3-4 days) to come back to school because they have to clean up the floor and compound to look decent and clean to meet a school atmosphere.

The back of the school is always the first to flood because the water goes through the back fast and circulates to other parts of the school.

It is hard to live a healthy and sound life in this community with a lot of mosquitoes at night. People live with animals together like pigs in their homes.

Mr. Abdul Bundu Kamara is the current Deputy Head Teacher of the school who is working with Eight (8) staff and one care-taker told the Global Change Maker/Community Ambassador- Bernard Conteh that they are facing a lot of challenges and that they need Support and Partnering school. According to him he said all the Teachers are Volunteers and are working on No salary since the inception of the school.

The school children are not paying school fees. This means it free Education.
Teachers barely cater for their welfare and school materials for the children.
‘Sometimes we ask parents to pay $2 per term as an appreciation and support to teachers which many parents cannot afford’ says Mr. Kamara.

Mr. Kamara further said that there have been a lot of visits and meetings with some local NGOs and Government who promised to capacitate the school and it teachers but it’s not working.

We love education and its significance. The children are the future leaders and we believe helping them with the basic education, will go a long way.

Many times we go to school happily and sound to educate our children but as soon as the weather changes we will become worried because when it rains the whole school flood.
There will be no option rather than allowing the children to go home with supports from the community youths.

During the Rainy Season, we are not 100% in control of the school because of the rain and it effects. There will be no school when it rains heavily whether on exams or not.  The school has run out of materials such as stationeries as one of our challenges, paint and school furniture due to the continuous flooding and it affects.

A lot of the children come to school without lunch and untidy.

We have got series of this situation when children fall down and sometimes for a very long time due to no food and lack of medication.

The children are ready to learn because after any flooding they come back to school because they know the significance of education and there is no option.

If only we have donors and humanitarian organizations coming to our aid, we will definitely change their lives and will also shape the future of the young generation.

We need help to capacitate and to free our school from this disaster.

God will definitely bless you for whatever support you give to our cause.


              School Children playing outside during lunch time break.

School children playing during lunch time break at the corridor to show case happiness and perseverance.
These children find it very difficult to play many games because they are being limited to many of these facilities.
Many prefer to play within the school premises incase of any incident.




Our usual way of packing our wooden furniture after every flooding and lock them up for safety




However, we are calling on Donors and Humanitarian Organizations that have passion for Education to come to our aid.

We promise to utilize whatever support for it desired purpose.

For any donation or support Contact the Global Change Maker/Community Ambassador Mr. Bernard Conteh on the following:



Visit: www.avmsl.b

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

school enterprise challenge

The Commonwealth School Enterprise Challenge is an international
business competition for schools to start their own social enterprises,
generating additional income for the school and providing a learning
platform for students to gain practical business skills.
The Commonwealth School Enterprise Challenge is run by Teach a Man
to Fish, a registered charity from the UK. Our registered charity number is: 1112699.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Instilling the culture of Tolerance among Youth in Sierra Leone

Since independence Sierra Leone drifted slowly from a culture of peace to that of violence that culminated into the eleven years senseless civil war. The medium of this culture of violence was politics. Political campaigns slowly increased in violence and degenerated to open armed conflicts where young people assumed a state of free for all warfare during which no one could be held accountable for their actions .Youths and Youth groups were put in the market for hire by the highest bidder. Decent people took the back seat and anarchy reigned unrestrained.

Youth and young people were made to be perpetrators as well as victims because young fought young and killed each other indiscriminately. Hard drugs and propaganda was used to mislead youths and lead them to commit the most atrocious criminal acts imaginable. The same youths were used during the war fueled by lack of social and economic possibilities and adult intolerance. The whole country went up in flames and thanks to God the flames have been put out but coals are still smoldering.

The presence of a propensity to or potential for violence even after the war is seen by the readiness of youth to resort to aggressive reaction for the smallest provocation. This has become even more obvious as the economic hardship continues to hit the nation. With unemployment hitting an all time high and young people being hardest hit by this development, it is only to be expected that they would be prone to violence. Political campaigns as before again appear to be the stage for violence that time is fast approaching.

Sierra Leone is fast approaching another electioneering period – elections will be held in 2012 for President, Members of Parliament, and the Local Councils.

Various political camps are already galvanizing into action – a situation we have seen before.  Each camp becomes so intolerant that very soon the situation would degenerate into all-out State Violence.  There is no consideration or respect for differing political views and this means the better placed camps would want to silence the other camps at all costs.

The Anti-Violence Movement sees the lack of political tolerance as the main problem.  In politics as in other areas of Civil Society, there should be provision for each Citizen to have freedom of expression of opinion without being unduly suppressed.  We can be friends and citizens without having the same political opinion.  We should be able to present our views to others without hurting them or them hurting us.
The issue of violence is yet to be addressed in Sierra Leone. Youths confront each other because of what we call micro-management by  politicians. Killing and robbery is common amongst youths in Sierra Leone.
The involvements of youths into violence is due to the aftermath of the senseless and brutal civil war.
Youths smuggle offensive weapons like knives, broken bottles, pistols, blades etc anywhere they go to threaten the consolidation  of peace in Sierra Leone. You can do smomething. get up and help us to fight the menace. You participation will be embrassed.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Bernard Volunteering in the communities of Belfast UK.

Bernard  is a product of the British Council who got his experience through the British Council's continuous trainings and exposure that led to the formation of the Anti-Violence Movement.
In Belfast conditions were not favourable but was able to cope with issues of Racism. His mission in Belfast was successful because he was able to adapt to the community he was placed. The young people of Belfast who involved in gansterism and violence said they are into violence because they don't feel like they belong. The Anti-Violence Movement  played a remarkable role in the lives of youth in Belfast by giving hope and changing their mind set from being looking for opportunity to succeed to that of capacity building to become self reliance. Young peolpe were able to understand the need to volunteer and to become responsible citizens. The Movement met with several opportunities to help capacitate the youth in Africa.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

The new face of Sierra Leonean youth.

Thousands of youth from the different gang groups in Sierra Leone awaiting Bernard's statement.
They were brought together to sign a communique for peace and that they will act as productive citizens. This was a major cause for concern in Sierra Leone to find a way to stop gangsterism in Sierra Leone. The Anti- Violence Movement Sierra Leone used alot of strategies in bringing about these nefarious groups together.  The Anti-Violence Movement did not only brought them together but trained and reintegrated them as peace ambassadors. They policed the inter-secondary schools matches in Sierra Leone that usually ends in chaos and lost of lives and properties and that led to the peaceful ending of the matches in a very long time in the history of Sierra Leone. These young people raised concern that their involvements to violence and gangsterism is due to several factors especially the neglegence of youth that have come in conflict with the law. The society do not accept them so easily and they need to interact in order to reintegrate to productive lives. Anti-Violence Movement is now embarking on launching of Anti-Violence Movement in neighbourhoods  involving youth from the ghettos. The organization because of its hard work, it has been offered an office space at the British Council in Sierra Leone headed by Bernard Conteh as the Director.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Young people as active contributors in governance.

We are very happy in Sierra Leone that young people are playing vital role in governance and development.
In the past the talents of young people are been suppressed due to selfishness and greed. The youth make the bulk of a country's population and are the future leaders. Government institutions are filled with young people as the highest employees which shows the future is bright for the generation yet unborn. Hon, Nuru Deen Sankoh-Yillah is one amongst those we are proud of as an active parliamentarian that engages and addresses the  needs of youth in his own little way financially and  morally.  He  is one young person we  see as role model in the lives of youth and  the communities in  Sierra Leone. He is a  hardworking, versatile, dedicated and smart young parliamentarian. The youth of Sierra Leone rely in people like him to ensure youth employment and engagement. Long live Honorable  Nuru Deen Sakoh-Yillah.

Anti-Violence Movement Sensitization Tour

The Anti-Violence Movement is currently embarking on sensitization tours in communities and schools in the capital of Sierra Leone (Freetown). The sensitization tour is meant to let young people know the need to eschew violence  at all cost said Bernard Conteh on his speech. The learning  institutions and communities  expresses  concerns that the involvement of students and youth to violence has many factors but one of them is the lack of knowledge to peace and conflict studies. The organization assures the production and distribution of a guidebook to conflict management to help young people with a resource that will help young people to manage conflict. Anti-Violence hope to have a continued program of the same nature to address the spate of violence in the country. The organization is operating in 40 secondary schools and 3 tertiary institutions nationwide. The organization wish to embark on massive sensitization nationwide to ensure peace and development.