Hopes are high and you can feel the buzz of excitement in the air in Pujehun, Sierra Leone. Save the Children has recently received a grant for our child protection team to work with pregnant teenagers and for our education team to improve children’s access to education. Meanwhile, the health team is continuing to implement their two-year project on improving access to primary health care, by empowering small communities with the tools and knowledge to treat common illnesses that children can often die from due to lack of medical care.
We have an opportunity to make a really big impact as the people of Pujehun town already have great initiative and drive. With the help of previous international funding they have already established a community library – one of the only libraries in the country with electricity in the evening so children can do their homework in the light, as opposed to candle light. Pujehun also has a voluntary community radio station broadcasting a wide range of topics and music. They enjoy hosting guests for question and answer sessions and I was recently interviewed, along with a couple of Peace Corps volunteers, onto the radio show.
The programme teams are busy planning their activities for the year ahead and the logistics team is busy supporting the programme staff with their transport requirements, organising workshops, booking accommodation and procuring programmatic materials ready for distribution.
I have spent the last three months of 2010 establishing a new office in Pujehun, and relocating the old office from Zimmi to Pujehun. While we will still continue to work in Zimmi and its surrounding areas, the primary reason behind the move was road access – during the rainy season Zimmi can become quite inaccessible. Also Pujehun is the district capital, and so Save the Children is strategically closer to the government officials working in Pujehun.
Finally, Pujehun’s Save the Children staff have provided a new evening activity for the town by providing a volley ball and net. Within a matter of a few short weeks it has made a really big impact – every evening the court is crowded with keen players, and there is now talk of creating a second court to facilitate the demand.