Moseilelo School Construction Project: Conservation Education
Schools for Salone is excited to partner with Tacugama, a chimpanzee sanctuary in the Western Area Peninsula National Park in Sierra Leone. Tacugama was established in 1995 to enforce the law and rehabilitate confiscated, orphaned and abandoned chimpanzees with the aim to release back them into their natural habitat. Sierra Leone is home to the Western Chimpanzee subspecies and holds the second highest population after Guinea. Tacugama, Schools for Salone and Programme for Children have partnered to construct a school for the Moseilelo community.
Moseilelo area has been partnering with Tacugama 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, 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. 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.
$50,000 is needed to fund this project in this remote area of Sierra Leone. Let’s build a school for Moseilelo and help save the wild chimpanzees of Sierra Leone!