Sierra Leone – SOS Social Centres
In Sierra Leone there are currently four Social Centres for children and the local community, including those in Freetown and Goderich. Many SOS Social Centres operate via Family Strengthening Programmes, which aim to support the wider community. Below is some information about some of the Social Centres that SOS Children runs in Sierra Leone:
SOS Social Centres around Sierra Leone: In-Depth
Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:
SOS Social Centre Goderich is a family strengthening and community support project that provides help to approximately 200 children and youths and involves volunteers and elders from the community. Their main task is to work in close collaboration with the SOS co-workers in identifying beneficiaries within the community, checking their living conditions and the support needed and assisting in implementing the programme.
Work and Achievements:
The Family Strengthening Programme (FSP), at the beginning of the year January 2009 started its outreach community work with an initial number of 515 child beneficiaries (246 boys 269 girls) from 124 families. From these numbers 88 child beneficiaries received educational support, 34 families received food support for 146 children, 37 child beneficiaries received clothing support. 24 Caregivers benefited from rental support. During the second half of the year 2009, 93 caregivers (17 males, 76 females) enrolled and received trainings at the Social Centre in Goderich in Adult literacy and Basic Business Management for three months. 82 of them (14 males, 68 females) graduated with certificates. As a result 10 caregivers received Income Generating Activity support from the programme as a process towards self reliance. Several more IGA support programmes are planned for the coming year to expedite the process of families towards self reliance.
Four children (3 boys, 1 girl) passed the National Primary School Examination (NPSE) in May/June 2009. Another 4 children took the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE ) in May / 2009 and all passed successfully their examinations and gained admission into Junior and Senior Secondary Schools. This clearly indicates an upward trend in the educational achievement of community children in our FSP programmes.
The period under review had been very challenging and contending in the aspect of outreach work and the management of the entire FSP work. Although there was price increase in essential food commodities in the country due to the increase in petroleum products, the socio-political and economic situation in the country was relatively stable.
In the year 2009, there was significant development in the community based programs as it enjoyed the participation of the Child Welfare Committee, including the volunteers. This process has helped change the success of the FSP program greatly as vital records can access easily and services monitored effectively. In a bid to build people and system capacity across the organization the SOS Social Centre work in partnership with other child protection organizations, International Non Governmental and Local NGOs like fiancé Salone, BRAC, IRC, Action for Child Protection and Handicap International. The VMV of the organization and Child Protection Policy were shared with them to broaden their horizon about our work with community of Goderich.
Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:
SOS Social Centre Freetown for children with special needs is the only facility of this kind in the region. It consists of a building for boys and one for girls, with a separate room for each child. Children are given special care and a special education with the aim to integrate them into society and to enable them to live independently within a short period of time. Therefore, some children only spend a certain amount of time at the SOS Social Centre before returning to their families.
The second SOS Social Centre Freetown (family strengthening and community outreach programme) provides food to all students of the SOS Primary and Secondary School, and in some cases also to their parents.