Positive Change - The Bert Book Project
“Supporting Girls is the key to positive change”
Project: The Bert Book Project
Duration: 2005 to date
Supported by: Private donations
The Bert Book Project is an initiative taken by Green Scenery and Mrs. Siobhan Keating, an Irish woman, with an initial support from Bertie Gowen. The project is providing basic support for girls in secondary schools in the Western Area and Southern Province. The criteria for the stipends are based on academic performance and difficulty in paying school charges. The initiative is making it possible for young women to continue their education who otherwise would be forced to drop out of the education system thereby increasing the state of poverty of women in Sierra Leone.
Since the academic year 2005/6 to date, the project has been supported 52 girls and 9 have been traced at present in tertiary and vocational institutions in the three regions.
The academic year of 2009/10 was a success for the project as many beneficiaries from 2008/09 passed their public exams and were fortunate to enter tertiary and vocational institutions in the project areas.
In spite of challenges of raising funds, making the funds reach on time to beneficiaries, and, compiling data on beneficiaries, the Bert Book project is a huge success as it made a big difference in the life of the beneficiaries and brought smiles to hard pressed parents.
Each beneficiary receives a lump sum of 237,500.00 Leone (USD 60). This amount is scheduled to pay for the following items:
The annual school charges
One set of school uniform
One felt hat
One dozen exercise books
Some received a further support of 118,750.00 Leone which is meant to pay for grind or extra lessons for those attempting public examination.
The distribution of grants takes place in Freetown and Bo. Beneficiaries are accompanied by their parents and teacher supervisors through whom these girls were selected in their various schools. Green Scenery officers travelled to Bonthe to be part of the final selection process of new Bert girls and also distributed the funds in the St. Joseph’s Secondary School.
The project has impacted positively on the girls by keeping them in schools. It has also enhanced their performance due to regular attendance in school and their human dignity restored as opposed to humiliation for being driven from school for school charges. In the overall school performance, these girls are exhibiting good performance in the West Africa School Certificate.
Currently, the project is targeting twenty girls in all the project areas and they have been promoted to the next stage in the Senior School.
An educated girl is better equipped to break the cycle of child labour and poverty. With USD 60 we pay school fees, uniforms and necessary books. Donors are kept informed on the performance of the beneficiaries.
Please donate to the Bert Book Project. Thank you!