During the Easter weekend a debate and poetry competition was held at Magbenteh Community Hospital for the 240 children of the Action Swiss-Sierra Leone School Sponsorship Programme. It was a wonderful event with a great deal of rivalry between the contestants.
Topics for the senior school level debate included teenage pregnancy, modern technology and education for girls, whilst the primary school level provided poetry and songs of various kinds.
Enormous thanks go to Remy Hirschy, the Real Madrid Foundation and Ceejay Girard for their prizes of footballs, exercise books and solar study lights. As well as Anne Prisco, the coordinator for the Action Swiss-Sierra Leone School Sponsorship Programme who helps finds sponsors for each child to continue their education.
In Sierra Leone, the academic year begins in September and ends in July. The education system is structured so that the primary school cycle lasts 6 years, lower secondary lasts 3 years, and upper secondary lasts 3 years. Education in Sierra Leone is vital for the future development of the country, with an adult literacy rate of only 41% in 2014, as recorded by the UNDP. Programmes such as this one support in the encouragement and confidence of children to speak out about important issues faced in their day to day lives.