Tacugama has partnered with Schools for Salone, a United States based non-profit that raises funding to build schools in Sierra Leone. Schools for Salone, in partnership with Programme for Children, have built over 19 schools, channeling funding to a local NGO, Programme for Children. Tacugama has partnered with both to construct a school for Moseilelo Community.
Moseilelo area has been partnering with TCOP for the past 5 years to protect the Western chimpanzee through improved natural resource and wildlife management. A key component of their cooperation has been to help Tacugama to spread conservation awareness throughout their communities. In 2012, it was confirmed through camera trapping and reconnaissance walks, that two groups of wild chimpanzees were living in the surrounding forest, Kasillah Hills (Garriga, R.M., 2013). Six communities are established on the perimeter of the forest, with an estimated population of 1,317. The forest patch has been fragmented into two patches and is increasingly being encroached each farming season. As population begins to increase, there is an urgent need to continue raising awareness in these communities and shifting behavior change towards conservation practices.
As the Moseilelo Community has shown great efforts in implementing activities that promote conservation and protection of these groups of chimps, education facilities are lacking, hindering an improved future. On March 15th, 1995, rebels attacked Moseilelo community occupying the town for about 2 months. During this time, they slaughtered all cattle, raided and burned houses, and burnt down the church where school was being held. The community has not recovered educational facilities since, but still value education. 70-100 students typically gather in a community member’s home to learn because of the difficult travel to government schools. The nearest properly constructed government primary school is 14 miles away, and the nearest government secondary school is 5 miles away, in which students have to cross a river by canoe to get to. It’s estimated that there are about 220 students in the area, but many don’t attend the ‘community school’ due to lack of space and materials. Rather, student-age children are taken to the farm to work. Ethel Sillah, Education Coordinator states “A proper school structure is key to allowing students to attend school rather than the farm. Parents will know that their students are learning in a conducive environment and will send them to school. I believe that educating the students at a young age about conservation will lead to sustainable action in the future.” TCOP has partnered with Schools for Salone to assist in the construction of a proper school, to include 4 classrooms, a teacher’s office, secure storeroom and septic toilets to increase student attendance and work through the school to promote environmental education awareness, preserving the forest and the chimpanzees for the future.
If you’d like to help, please support this project by donating at www.schoolforsalone.org and writing Tacugama on the Memo Line! All donations are tax deductible!