The British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone Ms. Lisa Chesney has announced an additional twenty-five million Pounds (£25m) grant for a new five-year programme funded by the United Kingdom government to support Secondary Schools in the country.
This announcement was made on Thursday 16th March 2023 at the New Brookfields Hotel in Freetown when celebrating the closing of the 1st phase of the project.
“We are gathered here to celebrate the learning from all these interventions and more. But this is not just looking backwards at what has happened. I want to look forward to it too. Today, it is my great pleasure to announce a new five-year programme funded by the UK government to build on and consolidate Leh Wi Lan gains. Our new Secondary School improvement programme with the Government of Sierra Leone will make up to 25 million Pounds available for continued secondary school improvement, system strengthening, policy development and planning,” she said.
According to her, Mott McDonald was selected by competition to implement this new programme, adding that they are also selecting an organization to work closely with MBSSE over the next years on policy and planning.
She expressed delight that the event marks a moment of reflection as they enter the next phase in UK support to the education sector in Sierra Leone.
“We all know that any programme can only be good as the prevailing policy environment and leadership in the sector – and both have been excellent, gaining Sierra Leone recognition internationally as well as nationally. This has needed vision and boldness – the investment in human capital the government is making today sets the stage for an intergenerational roll back of poverty and progress for women, in particular. We are proud of our contribution to these achievements,” she said.
The British High Commissioner said the Radical Inclusion and Free Quality School Education have provided a clear agenda for action, noting that Leh Wi Lan has worked in close collaboration with a wide range of MBSSE colleagues at national, district and school level – under the dynamic and exemplary leadership of Minister Sengeh.
According to her, the aim has not only been to improve the quality of education delivery at school level but also to build the education system’s own internal capacity to deliver, adding that the impact has been achieved through a judicious blend of many impactful interventions over the past six years.
She said the event is to share the many lessons learnt and the incredible achievements of the Leh Wi Lan Project funded by the United Kingdom Aid through the British High Commission, implemented by Mott Macdonald, working closely with MBSSE.
“This has been our flagship intervention in the education sector since 2016, during which time Leh Wi Lan has become a widely known household name. The quality of the learning experience for all secondary learners has improved but especially for girls and children with disabilities,” she said.
She said the recent visit of the British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly shows how effective the United Kingdom and Sierra Leone work together on the issues that matter to both parties, adding that education was front and centre on this visit and according to Mr. Cleverly, the children at school were wonderful ambassadors for the power of investing in education.
The Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Dr. Moinina David Sengeh highlighted gains made by Sierra Leone in the education sector, noting that there is absolutely no indicator of learning in which Sierra Leone is not better today than where we were in 2018, adding that Sierra Leone will only get better in the coming years.
He encouraged partners to go beyond the figures that they are seeing and go to the classrooms and see the impact in the education sector for themselves.
“I want you to look at the partnership between Sierra Leone and the UK in three ‘I’s; Information, Impact and Idea,” he said.
Strategic Communications Analyst MBSSE