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DVSocial Responsibility: Self-determined poverty reduction

August 2016
Author: Marc Hoffmann
DVSocial Responsibility: Self-determined poverty reduction

It was not until March 2016, two years after the Ebola epidemic had broken out, that the WHO declared Sierra Leone to be free of the Ebola virus. The impact of the epidemic and the last civil war can still be clearly seen today: Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world. Local initiatives would like to implement comprehensive educational measures and boost the regional economy in order to improve their circumstances. However, with such a poor initial situation it is obvious that they need support. Together with the Frankfurt NGO PfefferminzGreen, the DVS TECHNOLOGY GROUP is involved with educational projects in this West African country.

Since 2013, PfefferminzGreen e.V. has been supporting the work of the Amazonian Initiative Movement (AIM) and the community of Rolal in the north west of Sierra Leone with a construction project for a kindergarten as well as a primary school and a secondary school. For the community, this building work has meant an enormous improvement in circumstances. It brought work, permitted meaningful joint activities and allowed more than 200 girls and boys to attend the Amazonian Bi-Lingual School. In addition, the neighbouring kindergarten prepares more than 150 children for going to school.

Rugiatu Neneh Turay, head of AIM, regards educational work and the building up of school-related infrastructures as crucial first steps to broaching the issue of social problems in Sierra Leone. Alongside normal lessons, the school’s curriculum includes the subjects of human rights, gender roles, family planning, upbringing, art, teenage pregnancy, Ebola and HIV/AIDS – all subjects for which a collective consciousness needs to be raised. The subject of female circumcision is another subject regularly discussed, in order to underline the danger of this initiation ritual. When the children start school, their parents commit themselves to not having them circumcised. This makes the school a direct source of intervention on the one hand, and a multiplier for human rights concepts on the other.

Since most parents cannot afford the school fees, the education project in Rolal still heavily relies on donations. For this reason, the DVS TECHNOLOGY GROUP has been paying the teachers’ salaries since the school opened in April 2015. At the same time, PfefferminzGreen is working on fighting poverty by enabling the inhabitants of Rolal and the surrounding area to generate income themselves, through micro-loans and educational measures for their own business ideas. The first 27 families have already received a micro-loan so that they can found their own small business. As soon as the loans have been repaid, AIM makes the money available again to other families. The objective is to enable the inhabitants of Rolal to be able to proudly say that they have financed their children’s schooling themselves.

PfefferminzGreen e.V. was founded in 2006 as an independent NGO by seven patrons who work in the cultural and industrial sectors. Projects are only implemented in close cooperation with local initiatives and are designed for sustained long years of collaboration. If you would like to find out more about all the PfefferminzGreen e.V. projects, feel free to visit the website and Facebook Page.