Baimba Osman Sheriff, our Girls’ & Women’s Education Young Person for May 2023, is the founder and the executive director of the Children’s Assurance Program – Sierra Leone (CAP-SL). His initiative aims to create integral learning opportunities and basic research skills for children and women.
The foundation stone of what he does today was laid as a teacher and social worker in 2015, with a focus on providing children and women in Sierra Leone's rural areas access to basic quality education and skill development. Having been raised and educated in a rural community, he realized very quickly that children in many rural communities do not have access to fundamental quality education when compared to children in urban regions and understood the importance of supporting skills training for young women. This configuration birth in him the motivation to reduce the educational disparities between urban and rural communities, especially in hard-to-reach communities, and led to the creation of the Children’s Assurance Program SL (CAP-SL) in 2015.
In 2019, Baimba and his team launched the first self-funded community library and resource center in the Jui community, Western Area Rural District (WARD), Freetown, to create access to free learning resources for primary, junior, and senior secondary school pupils in the district. They further Piloted and supported 25 upper primary school pupils with free hands-on ICT skills training in the Jui, Kossoh Town, Hastings, and Grafton communities. In partnership with Hope Children’s Foundation, we carried out the “Every Child A Dream Project”, an initiative that unleashed children’s creativity and skills for attaining academic success within the district.
His team was awarded the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) grant in 2022 by the US Embassy in Freetown. This was a project designed to empower 60 young mothers with access to basic literacy and employability skills and vocational skills training in a bid to equip them to become self-reliant to support their children’s education. They also partnered with the Young African Leaders Initiative - Regional Leadership Center (YALI-RLC) West Africa Sierra Leone Alumni Chapter to provide 40 women and girls with skills to combat gender-based violence in the district.
One major challenge he faces is the lack of adequate funding and difficulties collaborating with the authorities in charge of education.
Since his participation at the 3rd Youth Capacity Building Workshop held in Accra, Ghana in 2019, he has upscaled his work with CAP-SL and is committed to drive access to education and skills training opportunities for children and young women through the library and resource center facility.
He advises young people to “strive to be relevant in whatever situation they find themselves in. Being relevant entails more than simply occupying spaces and ensuring that one's presence is always felt favorably.”
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