The United States, through the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), has announced a USD 450,000 grant to the World Monuments Fund (WMF), to further the ongoing efforts in stabilizing Old Fourah Bay College in Freetown.
This funding will be instrumental in facilitating the completion of emergency stabilization work on this historic edifice, including the installation of a new roof and masonry conservation.
Established in 1827, Old Fourah Bay College holds the distinction of being the first Western-style university in sub-Saharan Africa. This venerable building carries immense historical significance in the narrative of Sierra Leone’s heritage and the transformative power of education. For a century, it served as an institution of learning, imparting knowledge about governance, religion, and public service. Many of its graduates went on to become influential leaders in West Africa, contributing significantly to the end of colonial rule.
Good news! We are announcing a $450,000 grant awarded to implementing partner @WorldMonuments for the continued stabilization of Old Fourah Bay College in Freetown. This grant will support the completion of emergency stabilization on the historic building, installation of a new… pic.twitter.com/dVCM65TFQf
— USEmbassyFreetown (@USEmbFreetown) September 28, 2023
It is noteworthy that this marks the second grant awarded to WMF for the preservation of Old Fourah Bay College. The initial grant in 2021 supported the initial emergency stabilization efforts and facilitated the planning and design phase for the building’s eventual rehabilitation, conducted in close partnership with the local community.
Ambassador Bryan Hunt, following his recent visit to this historic site, expressed his sentiments, stating, “We are delighted to contribute to the preservation of this remarkable historical landmark in Sierra Leone, ensuring that it continues to inspire and educate generations to come. The story of Old Fourah Bay College holds great importance for the people of Sierra Leone and Americans with ancestral ties to this region, as it offers valuable lessons from history.”
The AFCP, a program under the U.S. Department of State, is dedicated to supporting cultural heritage preservation projects worldwide, serving as a testament to American reverence for diverse cultures.
WMF, a non-profit organization, collaborates with local communities across the globe to safeguard invaluable cultural heritage. This second phase of the project has been shaped significantly by the input and aspirations of community members and other local stakeholders, who actively participated in interviews and workshops with the organization, emphasizing their vision for the future of Old Fourah Bay College.