Final event of Sierra Leonean project on Strengthening WASH education


A final workshop event was organized and conducted in the frame of the TMT+ project ‘Strengthening WASH Education in Sierra Leone (SWESL)’ in partnership with the Government Technical Institute (now known as the Freetown Polytechnic) on 30 March 2022.

In the two days prior to the workshop MSM Expert Centre on Emerging Economies Director, Dr. Diederik de Boer, project supervisor, Patrick Martens, project coordinator, Sierra Leone, Mohammed Kamara, and Dean of Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, Prof. Kelleh Mansaray, met with a number of WASH stakeholders to discuss the project outcomes and next steps to take in building sustainable WASH education in the Sierra Leone water sector. The stakeholders included the Ministries of Health and Sanitation, Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry and Education, the Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO), Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC) and the University of Sierra Leone.

The SWESL TMT+ project collaborated with a smaller TMT project with Fourah Bay College (FBC), University of Sierra Leone. This was considered as a related ‘sister’ project within a Triple Helix structure, which informed the TMT+ and ultimately contributed to achievement of capacity building objectives. The TMT project for FBC supported the setup of an ‘Innovation Hub’ research and consultancy unit at the FBC, which included working with Prof. Kelleh Mansaray, Dr. Peter Fearon who provided consultancy in the scope of a British (DFID) funded project as well as technical assistance on both TMT and TMT+ projects. While the bulk of both projects’ time unfortunately coincided with the pandemic, there have nonetheless certainly been successes to build on, notably the design and development of high quality WASH courses, training of GTI faculty and generally positive collaboration between the university, the TVET (GTI), the water utilities and Government. The intention is that the nascent WASH sector collaborative platform is given concrete form in a Triple Helix, providing the rationale and substance of a proposal for a broader second phase project.

The critical path of the SWESL TMT+ project was the design, development and integration of certificated WASH courses into the GTI curriculum. Related activities included the provision of technical advice on governance and financial management. The first phase, facilitated by the project Team Leader and key expert, Dr. St. John Day, comprised defining the overall concept and outline for suitable WASH courses. The modules were:

  • The WASH Context and Environment in Sierra Leone
  • WASH Systems
  • Urban Water Supply
  • Urban Sanitation and Solid Waste
  • Monitoring and Evaluation for WASH
  • Gender and Social Inclusion
  • Small Business Management for WASH

Working together with MSM and GTI faculty, the project managers oversaw the course development; the process was constrained by the covid-19 pandemic which curtailed communication effectiveness due to remote working and IT constraints.  For this reason, as well as supporting the desired intention of promoting the emerging Triple Helix in the Water sector, it was decided to contract two Sierra Leonean experts from FBC and GVWC, Mr. Ishmael Kanu and Mr. Ibrahim Bah respectively, to provide onsite support training of the GTI faculty. The work process, monitored and evaluated by the project management, was ultimately acknowledged as a key success factor in integrating the WASH modules, instilling ownership by the GTI and ensuring that faculty were signed off as competent in the training material. Evidence of the efficacy of the training approach was demonstrably provided at the final workshop. It is further noteworthy that the WASH courses are multi-disciplinary and include technical, managerial and social aspects. The concept of a Triple Helix in the water sector in Sierra Leone was given initial impetus in the project following a site visit by the Sierra Leonean partners to the Brabant Water Company in the Netherlands, which has a successful partnership with Koning Willem I College, including a training facility at the water company.

The final workshop was attended by over 20 participants representing the GTI, FBC, the Office of the President and the relevant Ministries. The workshop objectives were as follows:

  • To present and reflect on overall project results
  • To present and reflect on remaining weaknesses and continuing capacity needs
  • To build on the partnering between GTI, FBC, Water Companies and Government, and further understanding of the advantages of a collaborative platform in the WASH sector (Triple Helix Model)
  • To present initial outline proposal for further project funding
  • To further develop the draft proposal from workshop inputs

The workshop provided opportunity to present and reflect on project results in relation to continuing needs and challenges in the sector. There were particularly rich discussions on WASH curriculum and the importance of partnerships and collaborations for sustainable development. The timing was certainly right, considering the upgrading of the GTI to become the Freetown Polytechnic while at the same time the education system in Sierra Leone is introducing a national qualifications framework. In this regard, it was made clear that the WASH program would be certificated according to the requirements of the national system. A final presentation and discussion elaborated some possibilities for a bigger phase II project which would further build sectoral partnerships and capabilities.

The workshop was covered by the most popular radio station in Freetown including interviews with the project leaders.

Orange Knowledge Programme
This project is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.

MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies

This TMT+ project is part of MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies. The department is an expert centre on local economic development in emerging and developing markets.‚Äč We capacitate managers and professionals from government, private sector, NGOs, and post-secondary education in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America. We offer consultancy and customized training programs, and we manage complex projects in key sectors, e.g. water, agriculture and health. For more information click here.

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