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Graced Team : Using Education To Alleviate Poverty In Sierra Leone

Tommy P Tucker, Executive Director of Graced Team Inc SL With Wayne Walden and Wife

Recent studies conducted by some poverty alleviation groups have confirmed that more and more Sierra Leoneans are streaming into the poverty line day by day. This trend is not only worrisome but has prompted some Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora who have their fellow countrymen at heart to take serious and immediate action notwithstanding the difficulties they may face in trying to get things done.

One individual who stands out and is determined with his team to make inroads and all the difference in the poverty reduction drive in rural Sierra Leone is Tommy P Tucker, Executive Director of Graced Team Inc SL. His team which has strong roots in the Southern Districts of Sierra Leone has completed the ground work for a robust poverty reduction strategy which in the coming years will benefit rural Sierra Leoneans.

In his quest to give poverty alleviation a new meaning in Sierra Leone. Tommy Tucker was in Ontario, Canada last October attending the World Poverty Eradication Day where he made a presentation about poverty to Canadian Seniors at Ingersoll. The Ontario trip  also reunited Tommy Tucker with one of his mentors Wayne Walden who helped sponsor Tommy’s education and had lectured at Catholic Training College and Bo Teachers’ College in Sierra Leone.

Standard Times Online Editor David Mahdi Koroma recently caught up with The Graced Team Executive Director and quizzed him on a number of issues relating to his Organization, Poverty reduction strategies in Sierra Leone

Question:  Tell us about Graced Team

Answer: Graced Team is a rural-based, rural-owned community organization dedicated to changing the lives of rural/grassroots people in order to close the widening gap between the rural and urban communities. At the community level, we are looking at the areas of quality education for boys and girls, gender equality, rural youth development, agriculture, business, micro-financing, women’s rights, teenage marriages and pregnancies, child labor, rural industries, primary health care, water & sanitation, etc. In summary, we shall be looking at almost all of the Millennium Development Goals at grassroots level.

Question: What role Graced Team has played or will play in developing Sierra Leoneans becoming self sufficient. Also can you tell us about the strategies you are using in the fight against poverty?

Answer: The main key in every development is formal education. This is the missing ingredient in grassroots communities. Awareness is difficult to be realized by these people if they lack quality formal education. In addition, there is a generational loss as a result of the war, though I do not want the effects of the war to stand in my way of thinking for these communities. The rural people should know how to channel their resources to improve themselves, and this is one of the challenges of Graced Team.

They have the right to know what resources are coming from the central government for their development, what resources are being generated within and how these resources are used. In other words, both the central and local governments need to be accountable to them.  This can only come about through education and proper awareness programs, programs for self-reliance, the importance of technology and they can apply within the rural settings for development, and many more.

Question: Tell us about yourself and why are you so passionate about Poverty alleviation in Rural Sierra Leone?

Answer: I am a Sierra Leonean. I attended a rural school, and later taught in rural schools in the country for six years before going to college. Since we have 75-80% of the population living in the rural areas, I think by improving these people is developing the nation. They look disconnected from the main system, which is centered in the urban/cities/ big towns etc. educational facilities are anemic, public examinations are not in the interest of the schools in these areas based on lack of access to good teachers and school materials.

When I was teaching, I think the pupil-teacher ratio was 1:35. Most of these schools in the rural areas have fewer than 35 students, the schools run from grade 1 through 6, with only a teacher? We need new ideas other than just 1:35.

Question: What other activities Graced team will be involved with in the coming years?

Answer: Once we begin full operation, in less than a year every school–age child in all chiefdom we are involved with will be enrolled in school. Graced team will also facilitate respectful collaborations across gender equity, class, age and sector-lines, particularly between those with power and those denied it. We will encourage and support the development of a wide spectrum of community leaders, including young people, connecting them with peers across rural communities and the nation at large.

The Graced Team will seek to incorporate a community’s cultures and creativities into all aspects of its work. We will measure their success by the extent to which the collaborative work of staff, board, partners, and stakeholders, has increased the sustainability, equity and justice of the communities on the ground.

More information about Graced Team can be found on their website www.gracedteam.com

Tommy P Tucker, Executive Director of Graced Team Inc SL With Wayne Walden and Wife

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One Response to Graced Team : Using Education To Alleviate Poverty In Sierra Leone

  1. seo services

    August 8, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    You can certainly see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

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