Agricultural Youth Training Centre

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The Diaspora organization in the UK wishes to improve the welfare of war-affected children in Sierra Leone. SLWT partners with existing credible Sierra Leonean organisations, which already have logistics and administrative machinery in place. SLWT can channel its funds directly to its community-led projects, and provide their financial and technical support. The initial purpose of the Centre was to provide a training school for ex-child soldiers. The Centre reaches out to disadvantaged youth and offering them the opportunity to gain valuable farming and livestock rearing skills.

Results

• Indirect result of the project is the job creation because of farm co-operatives and crime reduction in the community. Community members now want to be included in the project as well.

Activities

• construction of necessary infrastructure (school buildings, wells, office, poultry pen, pig pen, small reminant’s pen)
• forming of farming co-operatives (provision of loans in form of crop seeds and cash to buy tools, and other inputs)

OrganisationSierra Leone War Trust for Children
Organisation typeMigrant Organisation
Sector(s)
  • Philanthropy
Countries
  • Sierra Leone
Region(s)
  • West Africa
Websitewww.slwt.org
Partnerships
Financial contributors

Challenges

Local ownership

Involving local leaders
The organization realized it was necessary to ensure that the local community had a sense of ownership over the project. To ensure the involvement of the local community, the organization constructed the school and all its facilities on land, which was leased from the local chief. This procedure was taken in recognition of the chief and to encourage the community’s support for the project. Due to these local consultations, community elders have supported the project by making available their swamp land for future cooperatives. This cooperation with the local communities allows the organization to reduce potential future barriers to the implementation of the project due to possible unwillingness or misunderstandings within the community.

Distance

Keep communication flowing
As the implementation of the project took place in Sierra Leone, yet the organization is based in the UK, the organization needed to rely on local partners to bridge the distance barriers. The organization depended on their local partners to ensure sound monitoring and evaluation. They esabished monthly communication channels to ensure they would stay up-to-date with project implementation.  Through monthly status updates from the  local partner and based on photographs of the new infrastructure and undertaken opening ceremonies the organization in the UK was able to regulate the project overseas.

Trust

Keeping informed
Because of the great distance between management and implementation of the project, the organization needed to establish a sound trust relation with their local partner. As they themselves were not able to monitor the project, they had to rely on the goodwill and judgement of their partners in Sierra Leone. Although challenging, they established monthly updates in which they requested written updates, photographs and reports to stay on top of the project. This required a strong sense of trust in the partners' engagement and commitment.