We are a small country on the northwest coast of Africa of 7 million people. We are the fifth poorest country in the world and current developments in social work and social development are still strongly influenced by the recovery from a 10-year civil war in which 50,000 people were killed in (1991-2001). Many families were disconnected, and many moved across borders seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. It has been relatively peaceful since 2004. However, post war work is still ongoing as recovery from decades of violence and repression takes time for people to rebuild their families and their communities.
We started working together in the kindergarten six years ago reuniting children with their families separated during the war years. We have reunited over 350 children with their families. 102 from Sierra Leone into Guinea, 112 from Guinea to Sierra Leone, the remainder internally within Sierra Leone.
In the course of reuniting families, we also began working with communities in co-designing and co-building strength within the communities to provide the best environment for child development. In Africa we have a proverb – ‘It takes a whole village to bring up a child’.
We have brought together this proverb and the European model of early support and education for young children – known as the ‘kindergarten’ to describe how we are co-designing and co-building that garden and environment for healthy growth.
We are investing in our joint futures by building balance in our local economic activity, our environment and our education to use our resources wisely to create peaceful, sustainable communities for us all to enjoy.
Our first priority