St Joseph’s Convent students champion GESSL ‘Clean My School’ project

Over 70 teenage girls of the St. Joseph Convent Secondary have completed the cleaning of their school with support from the Girls Empowerment Summit Sierra Leone (GESSL) clean my school project.

According to Moiyattu Banya Founder and Executive Director of GESSL, the ‘Clean My School’ project is part of an ongoing partnership between the organization and the St Joseph’s. It is a community development program aimed at inspiring and enabling girls to take an active role in changing their communities.

“The girls in our program identify a problem in their community and think of sustainable ways to solve these problems, we as an organization then ensure that they receive the necessary support to implement the project,” said Miss Banya.

Since 2012 GESSL has been hosting an annual summit that brings girls from all over Freetown together to participate in various self development workshops, mentorship activities, and peer to peer exercises. These activities help the girls build a better sense of self, learn more about other issues girls around them face, and develop practical strategies to collectively and individually solve those issues.

As of last year the students at St Josephs have been involved in fundraising to create a cleaner sustainable school environment. They held a series of planning meetings within their school community, and then raised awareness about the importance of cleaning their schools not just once in a while but always maintaining a clean environment.

Kaday Alima Bangura, 16, said she has been able to work with her peers and shown leadership and sisterhood.

“One of the main skills I gained as part of this project was how to take responsibility for big decisions, I learnt the importance of both acting responsibly and taking responsibility,” Alima said.

Country Coordinator of GESSL, Maryam Darwich said they are now focused on recruitment for the 2015 summit to be held in December where the girls will be given the opportunity to work on their project ideas.

Whilst appealing for more support for the continuation of the project, Moiyattu Banya registered their appreciation to Afrigas Ltd who provided a van to support with the logistics and Fresh Soap (Cosmeline Ltd) for providing colourful T-shirts and soap to keep the spirits bright.

Launched in 2012, Girls Empowerment Summit Sierra Leone [GESSL] is an organisation established to enlighten,empower and inspire young girls in Sierra Leone,West Africa.

The summit originated from the belief that girls can change the world if they are given the opportunity to cultivate the skills necessary to realise their true potential.

Reporting by Amadu Lamrana Bah