When Street Child’s work began in Sierra Leone in 2008, it was the poorest nation in the world. Today, children continue to face significant barriers to learning. Many children never complete primary school, leaving school without foundational literacy and numeracy skills. Street Child’s research has shown that poverty continues to be the primary barrier to education, often alongside social barriers including loss of a caregiver, teenage pregnancy, parental attitudes to education, and poor teaching quality.
Without intervention, children risk getting stuck in a cycle of illiteracy and poverty. Street Child works to tackle this educational disadvantage by empowering communities to transform the quality of primary education provision.
In Sierra Leone, Street Child works predominantly alongside an excellent national NGO partner Street Child of Sierra Leone (SCoSL), and together we have increased opportunities to access quality basic education for more than 232,000 children nationwide. Street Child has an established nationwide presence in every province and works alongside families and communities to overcome barriers to learning.
The Education For Every Child Today (EFECT) programme is Street Child’s largest programme to date. This is a four-year project in partnership with Educate A Child (EAC), a global programme of the Education Above All (EAA) Foundation, supported by the Qatar Fund for Development, with the aim of increasing primary education access and retention for 40,500 vulnerable children across Sierra Leone. This will help the multi-country project's overall goal of getting 96,000 out-of-school children back in school full-time in Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. To guarantee that programme effects are long-lasting, in addition to enrolment and learning, the initiative will also support teacher training and professional development as well as strengthening the livelihoods of parents and caregivers.
Street Child are part of the Sierra Leone Education Innovation Challenge, funded by the Education Outcomes Fund, aiming to reach 134,000 children across 62 schools.
There will be four key pillars to this project:
Individualised student support that focuses on inclusive and gender-responsive project planning and tailoring social support for at-risk students.
Centering lessons and teaching around the students, meaning that students will be grouped according to level rather than age.
Supporting strong school leadership by training teachers and advisors.
Promoting shared school ownership to ensure safe, secure and sufficient learning environments.
Just one of the models that Street Child uses is the award-winning ‘Family Business for Education’, which addresses individual social and financial barriers to education for the most vulnerable categories of children, including street-connected children, teenage mothers and children affected by disability. To date over 34,000 families have been supported to develop a sustainable source of income through a tailored package of training, business grants and saving/mentoring. This model of financial empowerment, alongside intensive social support and community level advocacy has led to the enrolment and retention of more than 67,000 children in school, who otherwise would have little opportunity to complete basic education.
Another key component of Street Child’s intervention is using the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) methodology in schools in Sierra Leone. During TaRL lessons children are taught in groups based on ability, outside of class time, to ensure a child's learning needs are accounted for rather than their age or grade. It is used to be able to help children to increase their foundational skills in literacy and numeracy, so they are able to better engage in class and therefore, overall, have a better quality of education. Through this method, teachers are also trained in TaRL and are able to continue with TaRL lessons and inform new teachers about it after a project by Street Child has finished. In 2019, Street Child was the first and only organisation to operationalise Teaching at the Right Level across 200 schools in Sierra Leone, introducing student-centered instruction to accelerate foundational learning levels for students.
We are running an initiative to ensure the sustainability of education by supporting schools to find ways of affording the costs of education. This is through the provisions or seeds, rice or groundnut which are loaned to the community in order to farm. The profits from this are then returned back into the school for them to then sell at market rate with the money from this then being used to pay a stipend to teachers and for school repairs. In 2021 in Sierra Leone, 80 income generating initiatives were set up in rural primary schools.
could provide an emergency – affected learner in Somalia with school meals for a year. School meals are a key aspect in the retention of students in school as the one meal they receive a day at school could sadly be the only meal they have all day.
could provide sports kit, like footballs and nets, for 100 children fleeing conflict in Mozambique.
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Could provide learning kits for a child in Nigeria. These kits provide basic stationary, textbooks, and water bottles, meaning the children can fully engage in school.
Could help train a community-based case worker to protect Rohingya refugee girls from sexual, physical and psychological abuse.
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