Africa Sierra Leone

Our goal is to deliver primary education to all children living in rural areas. These communities receive no government funding for schools.

Sierra Leone is an English-speaking sub-Saharan country located on the coast of West Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The country was involved in a civil war from 1992 until 2002 and blood diamond conflicts with neighboring Liberia that crippled the economy. It was then hit with the Ebola epidemic in 2013-2016. Sierra Leone is considered one of the poorest countries in the world and faces an education crisis, as unemployment and illiteracy levels are high, particularly among youth in rural areas.

The Concern

Since the end of Civil War in 2002, communities in Sierra Leone have managed to self-start low cost schools without government support. However, the school structures are basic and often unsafe, and when it rains children are unable to attend school. The government is making education a priority but does not have the funds to build schools in rural areas. However, if a school has a safe structure, one qualified teacher, and running water it potentially becomes eligible for government funding for the running costs of the school and teachers’ salaries.

Chaloner Children’s Charity is building low cost primary schools to enable all children living in these communities to receive a primary school education. Each school would accommodate anywhere from 100 children to 250 children.

The Plan

Our Work

We build schools designed to last.  This includes new structures and rebuilding existing schools so that the children have safe learning spaces.  The schools have three classrooms with a mud block, iron roof and concrete floor structure.  We also support the development of teaching and learning materials in the schools, and ensure that at least one teacher from each school completes a three year teacher training course.

Sustainability at our schools is an important part of the project.  Our NGO partner ensures that each community is supported to develop a micro-finance initiative, usually some form of community agriculture, to pay for the ongoing costs of the school.  This promotes self-sufficiency after the initial start-up period.  When a school has a solid structure, land documentation and a qualified teacher they can apply to the education department to become a government approved school.  Once approved they qualify for getting one or more of their teachers on the government payroll.  80% of our schools have now been approved by the government which further enhances the sustainability of the schools.

Our IMPACT so far…

50 Schools Built in 2023
50 Schools Built in 2022
50 Schools Built in 2021
50 Schools Built in 2020
60 Schools Built in 2019

60,000 +
children able to access improved learning environments in a safe structure

of those children are girls

Cost Per School for 100 Students
New Construction: C$10,000
Class Furniture: C$2,000
Teaching materials: C$500
Teacher training: C$3,000

2024 Update

The 2024 programme is well underway for another 50 schools.  40 of the schools will be using interlocking bricks which not only makes the structures stronger, but also makes the classrooms cooler.  The other 10 are rebuilds of unsafe structures.  We have recently hired three data officers for a three month period to start visiting all the Chaloner schools to get up-to-date information and see if any intervention is required.  If the pilot project is successful we will roll out the programme in September at the start of the new academic year.

2023 Update

In 2023 Chaloner completed its fifth programme and added a further 50 schools which were all new constructions.  The schools are all receiving some form of ‘soft dollar’ funding including teacher training and mentoring programmes, as well as income generating initiatives to support the salaries of the teachers.  We have started putting together a database of all the schools.  This will include the number of children registered at the schools, number of qualified teachers, and the examination results for the National Primary School Exam taken by children in grade 6.2020 Update

Since 2019

The Chaloner Children’s Charity completed its first programme in Sierra Leone in 2019.  60 schools were constructed and rebuilt, and all were provided with learning materials.  Since that time a further five programmes have been undertaken.  Each year a further 50 schools are built bringing the total to 260 by the end of 2023.  Approximately 60,000 children are now registered at these schools and are learning in a safe structure.  For the 2021 and 2022 programmes the Department of International Development supported the schools with teacher training and mentoring programmes, together with income generating initiatives to support the communities.

Help Us Reach Our Goal

We can do more with your help. Let’s build these schools together and brighten thousands of children’s futures.