The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) has awarded grant funding in the amount of USD$137,918 equivalent to over Seven Hundred and Three Million Leones to the Playhouse Foundation for a project entitled: ‘Support to Border Chiefdoms through the Development of an Efficient Response System to Tackle the Ebola Virus Disease’. The grant covers Kissi Teng, Kissi Tongi and Upper Bambara Chiefdoms in Kailahun District and Mafindor, Gbane Kandor and Soa Chiefdoms in Kono District. Several chiefdoms in Kailahun and Kono District (Mafindor, Gbane Kandor, Soa and Toli chiefdoms) are on the banks of the Meli River which separates Guinea’s Guéckédou region, an epicenter from Sierra Leone. Kissi Teng also has land boundaries with both Guinea and Liberia whilst and Kissi Tongi and Upper Bambara Chiefdoms have land boundaries with Liberia.
The aim of the project is to strengthen the capacity of Youth Border Patrol Teams, in close collaboration with the Sierra Leone Police, to mann river and land boundaries by monitoring crossings, establishing a triage system for travelers, implementing infection prevention and control protocols and reporting breaches to the Chiefdom Ebola Task Forces. It is also designed to strengthen the co-ordination mechanism between the Chiefdom Ebola Task Force and the District Ebola Response Centres and District Ebola Task Forces in both Kailahun and Kono Districts. Social mobilisation activities on Ebola prevention and control will take the form of radio programmes and news updates in Kissi, Kono, Krio and English, town hall meetings, door-to-door campaigns and specific activities targeting traditional cultural (secret) societies, women and children.
Under the project, motorbikes, solar lights, radios, public address systems and megaphones will be made able to Youth Border Patrol teams in Kailahun and Kono Districts to work tackle EVD more efficiently. It will also support the distribution of food, medicines and medical supplies to the chiefdoms. E-learning will also be supported in these chiefdoms.
The Waka Waka Foundation with the support of GIZ donated 500 Waka Waka solar lights under the project to a cross section of people in society including youth border patrol teams, members of District Ebola Task Forces and EVD survivors in Kono District.
The Playhouse Foundation is a charitable organization that was established in 2009 by Mr. Abu Deedee Koroma and Ms. Finda Koroma in memory of their parents, the Late Abu Aiah Koroma Esq. and his wife, the Late Danké Evelyn Koroma. The focus of the Foundation is on education and the main beneficiaries are children, the youth and the disadvantaged section of the population in Sierra Leone.
Representing the Playhouse Foundation, Ms. Finda Koroma embarked on a five day Social Mobilisation tour of Kono District from 17 – 25 November 2014 to raise awareness about EVD prevention and infection control. Infection prevention and control sensitisation was conducted at town hall meetings were held at Mafindor, Mbane Kandor and Soa, three chiefdoms in Kono District with borders with the Republic of Guinea. Social mobilisation activities were undertaken on the radio and at ‘Meet the People’ events were conducted at Ebola ‘hotspots’ in several parts of district such as Kamadu in Gbense Chiefdom, Kamara Chiefdom and Joe Town in Nimikoro Chiefdom. One hundred bags of rice were distributed to people in the border chiefdoms and to EVD survivors in the district. Additionally, medicines and medical supplies comprising of gloves, face masks, aprons and fever thermometers made available by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation through Honourable Madinatu Rahman, Deputy Minister and the Medical Research Centre that is headed by Mr. Abdul Kareem Jalloh. 500 hand held solar lights were also donated, courtesy of the Waka-Waka Foundation and GIZ and 300 personal protective supplies in the forms of buckets, soap and chlorine were distributed, courtesy of Oxfam, Great Britain. The Playhouse Foundation is grateful to H.E. Sia Nyama Koroma, First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Yada Williams Esq. for their generous contributions. Donations of cash were also made to several beneficiaries in Kono District including EVD survivors.
Information Brief on the Playhouse Foundation
The Playhouse Foundation is a charitable organization that was established in 2009 by Mr. Abu Deedee Koroma and Ms. Finda Koroma in memory of their parents, the Late Abu Aiah Koroma Esq. and his wife, the Late Danké Evelyn Koroma. The focus of the Foundation is on education and the main beneficiaries are children, the youth and the disadvantaged section of the population in Sierra Leone. Some members of its board include Mrs Miriam Conteh-Morgan, Mrs Jeanne Kamara, Dr. Mamadi Demby, Lt. Col. Ibrahim Othame Kabia, Ms. Clementine Nkweta-Salami, Ms. Finda Koroma and Mr. Abu Deedee Koroma.
The Foundation’s implementation strategies are based on public/private partnerships for development and on volunteerism. All the projects are designed and implemented by the Playhouse Foundation drawing from the development, project management and architectural skills of the co-directors.
The Millennium Labs Project
It is in this spirit that the Playhouse Foundation announces a strategic alliance with Zain Sierra Leone, London Mining Sierra Leone Ltd., the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) and Digital Links, a British based Non-governmental organization (NGO) to establish computer laboratories and introduce the internet and e-learning to secondary schools in Kono District, starting from October 2010. During the first phase of the project which has been funded to the tune of USD 95,000, five secondary schools in Kono District will establish the laboratories. This strategic alliance fits with Zain Africa’s overall corporate social responsibility strategy of using information technology to support youth development and create employment.
The Playhouse Foundation is teaming up technical partners to set up hi-tech computer laboratories in 5 secondary schools in Kono, namely Yengema Secondary School in Jaima Nimikoro Chiefdom, Ansarul Secondary School in Tankoro Chiefdom, Ahmaddiyya Secondary School in Kamara Chiefdom, Sewafe Secondary School in Nimiyama Chiefdom and Koidu Girls Secondary School in Gbense Chiefdom. State of the art digital computer laboratory equipment including 10 TFT screens, 1 server, 1 printer, 1 electronic white board, 1 digital camera, 1 video camera, 11 web cameras and 11 headsets will be made available in each school lab. On-line lessons will be provided in Maths, Physics, Social Sciences and English.
The principal objective of the project is to ensure that school-going children overcome barriers to information technology and be introduced to the digital age through access to the worldwide web for information and research and e learning. These students will be at par with their counterparts all over the world.
The School Furniture Project:
In November 2010, The Playhouse Foundation benefitted from a grant of USD 29,950 from Tullow Oil Plc for the distribution of 500 sets of double school desks and benches to primary schools during Phase One of the project which was undertaken in January 2011. Eight primary schools in 8 chiefdoms benefitted from this donation. Tullow Oil Plc made available additional funding of USD 42,500 for the manufacture of an additional 600 sets of double school desks and benches as part of PhaseTtwo of the project. Under this phase, 10 primary schools in 8 chiefdoms benefitted from this donation. Phase Three commenced at the end of 2011. During the third phase of the school furniture distribution programme that commences in June 2012, Tullow Oil Plc made available USD 30,000 for the manufacture of 420 sets of double school desks and benches which will benefit primary schools in Kono District.
The main objective of the school furniture project is to provide pupils in selected primary schools in the more remote chiefdoms in Kono District with comfortable seating because they find themselves at school for a minimum of six hours a day enduring very difficult conditions which negatively impacts their overall academic performance. Comfortable seating would motivate them to perform better at school, reduce the ailments and accidents from broken benches and allow them to concentrate better during school hours. Additionally, it will increase the morale of the pupils, in general. The 1,100 sets of school benches and desks manufactured by the St. Joseph’s Vocational Technical Institute in Lunsar will go a long way towards alleviating the dire infrastructure problems in schools in Kono District.
Ms. Finda Koroma set up the Abu Aiah Koroma Memorial Scholarship under the auspices of the Playhouse Foundation. Full annual scholarships were given to the best performing students from Soa Chiefdom, Kono District at the BECE examinations (formerly called Common Entrance). With her personal funds, Ms. Finda Koroma has covered the annual tuition fees, three sets of uniform, school bags, school supplies and shoes for three students entering secondary school in Soa Chiefdom. The Abu Aiah Koroma Memorial Scholarship will be extended to students from Kamara Chiefdom in Kono District next academic year. Ms. Koroma intends to extend this scholarship to Lungi, Port Loko District and Bo, Kakua District in memory of her late mother to be known as the Danké Evelyn Koroma Memorial Scholarship.
Social Mobilisation Activities in the Fight Against the Ebola Virus Disease
Ms. Finda Koroma embarked on a 5 day Social Mobilisation (17 – 25 November 2014) to raise awareness about EVD prevention and infection control. Town hall meetings were held at three chiefdoms in Kono District with borders with the Republic of Guinea. Social mobilisation activities were undertaken on the radio and at ‘Meet the People’ events that were held at Ebola ‘hotspots’ in several parts of district. One hundred bags of rice were distributed to people in the border chiefdoms and to EVD survivors around the district, along with medicines and medical supplies including 40 fever thermometers made available by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the Medical Research Centre, 500 hand held solar lights were donated, courtesy of the Waka-Waka Foundation and GIZ, and 300 personal protective supplies in the forms of buckets, soap and chlorine were distributed, courtesy of Oxfam, Great Britain.
Future activities of the Playhouse Foundation:
In the future, the Playhouse Foundation intends to erect children’s crèches and playgrounds in disadvantaged areas in Freetown and the provinces and to embark on a literacy and reading programme that would include distributing mobile libraries in the country and school furniture to primary schools in Kono District.
Additionally, the Playhouse Foundation intends to construct up to 4 hostels or boarding homes in Kono District that would serve as safe houses for school girls from all over the district who travel to cities in the district to pursue their studies. Many of these school girls are victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence. This rape is often perpetrated by their guardians, school teachers and colleague school students due to the lack of proper supervision of these girls and decent accommodation. The proposed programme will also promote girl child education.