Community Outreach

WYCF recognises that our children’s lives are made of different components and there is much work to be done outside the walls of our schools.

Our families are affected by and often complicit in problems as diverse as poor health and hygiene, gender inequality, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, under-age sex and criminality. As such, over the years WYCF has delivered micro-projects in response to specific problems observed at specific times, generally bringing awareness to health & hygiene and to sexual and gender related issues. The conductive thread is the desire to bring information to our families and to capacitate them to live better lives.

The Circle

May-June 2014 The Circle is born from the desire to give young girls a voice while trying to contradict the foreseeable chances of our pre-adolescent and adolescent female students to progressively step away from school and education and increasingly focus on their household roles, which can include cooking, cleaning, caring for younger siblings, selling goods to increase the family’s income, etc.
In the most extreme cases, the girls will drop-out of school altogether. This project was designed to be an open forum and a space for discussion, discovery, fun, honesty, and trust.

The challenges: – Discrimination on various scales of society against girls and women on a daily basis; – Lack of voice, empowerment and sense of self-worth amongst girls and women; – Absence of platforms where young girls can speak and learn openly about growing and becoming a woman.

Our solution: – Make young girls feel safely involved in an inclusive project and improve their self-esteem; – Disseminate life-empowering information; – Increase the girls’ desire to stay in school and continue to pursue education; – Promote freedom of expression and female empowerment; – Promote the girls’ ability to respect themselves and to be self-reliable in the future.

The outcomes: – 8 meetings held, each attended by 10-12 girls; – Increased level of trust and openness to discuss personal and sensitive topics; – Enhanced proactiveness and decreased dependency on mentors to jump-start discussions; – Expressed preference for executing practical activities complementary to the topics discussed; – WYCF gained first-hand knowledge of the daily lives and challenges faced by female students.

Due to the rapid spread of the Ebola virus in 2014, WYCF was forced to pause all its school and after-school activities. The Circle has since remained interrupted but WYCF intends to restart this project again in the future.

Sexual and Gender Based Violence Sensitization

October – November 2012 Group discussions and sensitization meetings held with residents of WYCF’s target communities indicated a minimal awareness of Human Rights and a disturbingly high rate of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). Gender inequality and violence against women remain prevalent at all levels of society in Sierra Leone, women and children being the most affected groups.

The challenges: – Prevalence of SGBV in Kroo Bay and George Brook; – Lack of knowledge about Human Rights and the causes and impacts of SGBV; – Gender inequality and violence remain as major obstacles to development in the communities.

Our solution: – Conduct community training workshops to introduce advocacy concepts; – Document and report women’s rights violations and enact the prevention of social injustice; – Provide psychosocial counselling, legal assistance, transportation and medical referrals to SGBV victims, their families and witnesses; – Develop and disseminate Information, Education and Communication materials on women’s rights.

The outcomes: – Raised awareness of Human Rights and gender equality; – Establishment of communication and information channels to disseminate advocacy messages; – Empowerment of the victims and witnesses.

Health & Hygiene Sensitization

September – October 2012 During the course of Summer School in 2012, WYCF noticed an alarmingly high number of illnesses amongst the children in our schools. Around the same time, it was declared that Sierra Leone was facing the worst Cholera outbreak in 15 years. WYCF quickly recognised the need to protect our children and their families from preventable diseases.

The challenges: – 3-5 of 90-100 children left school early complaining of illness; – Fluctuating class sizes due to children staying home when showing signs of illness; – Recurrent bowel and skin related complaints; – Unhealthy practices such as not washing hands and consuming water not suitable for drinking.

Our solution: – Deliver a Health & Hygiene sensitization programme in George Brook and Kroo Bay; – Disseminate information through focus groups in both communities; – Target a relevant topic each week, over the course of 7 weeks: Water, Food, Body, Scabies, Cholera & Dysentery, HIV/AIDS, Smoking & Drugs;

The outcomes: – Families felt empowered by the newly gained knowledge; – WYCF observed an effort to change some hygiene practices amongst the communities; – WYCF built a stronger, trusting relationship with the families and established its presence in both target communities outside the basic remits of running our schools.

If you would like to support our Community Outreach work, please help us fundraise or make a donation. You can also get in touch at any time – we will be happy to answer any questions you may have and provide more information!