Education is key to survival and success for children and young people everywhere, and this is especially so in Kailahun.
During KIK’s first visit in 2006, we saw that the war-damaged Methodist Primary School needed a complete rebuild. This was subsequently carried out by a KIK-funded team in 2008.
Before commencing any other major projects, we wanted to know what the local community needed most. So in 2011, a KIK team carried out a detailed Participatory Appraisal (PA) exercise, with the help of an experienced PA trainer.
Participatory Appraisal is an effective consultation method that does not set an agenda, but seeks the real thoughts and feelings of the local population. It facilitates the creation of a realistic and achievable action plan for local people, enabling them to have a say in what actions are taken on their behalf.
The main need identified from the report was education. The report itself can be read here.
The consultation showed that Kailahun was suffering from an educational meltdown:
- Class sizes too large, in excess of 85 students per class.
- Lack of qualified teachers.
- Poor educational resources.
Thus KIK’s next step was to sponsor a teacher training programme, which enabled four previously unpaid trainee teachers to become fully qualified.
This teacher training was only a partial solution for KIK’s children, as many of them were still failing to pass their West African Senior School Certificate Exam (WASSCE). It was therefore decided that we would build our own school, to be called the KIK Academy. The academy would employ only qualified teachers, and class sizes would be a maximum of 20. The Academy would primarily be for the children on the KIK programme, though places would also be offered to local children from families who can afford school fees, thus helping to fund the running of the Academy
To realise this vision, in November 2015 the Luawa Paramount Chief Banya and his family leased 22 acres of land to KIK for 100 years, so building could begin.
September 2017 – the Academy Opens
Once the land became available, an intense period of site preparation and building began, as you can see in the photo diary below. Thousands of clay bricks were made on-site by KIK teams, KIK beneficiaries, and others. These were used to build a new KIK house, three large schoolrooms, and accommodation pods for students. Finally, the schoolrooms were artistically decorated by another KIK team.
After recruiting six teachers, the Academy was opened in September 2017, followed by the official opening in January 2018, with an intake of 41 Primary and 40 Secondary pupils.