This project involves the construction of the dormitory building and fencing of the area. The construction of this dorm is intended to create boarding opportunities for approximately 40-60 students in P5 and P6, many of whom would be unlikely to continue their education if they continue to commute from home. The dormitory facility will provide an additional 30 - 60 primary school girls a safe place to live and focus on their studies and would be particularly impactful for those whose home environments often present additional pressures of inappropriate or unwanted sexual relationships from a very young age. The Primary School staff, the School Management Committee (SMC), the Parent Teacher’s Association (PTA), and a congregation-wide vote at the local church all voiced unanimous support for this project as a top priority. Central to the discussion and the justification was the need, at least for this expansion phase, to offer priority for the boarding opportunities to P5 and P6 girls. Critical to this project’s sustainability will be an efficient and effective management of facilities and student feeding by the school staff and the PTA.
After carrying out a needs assessment, parents, teachers and other community members advocated for a girls dormitory. Their reasoning, based upon daily observation of student performance, was that a disproportionate number of female students were performing badly or dropping out because they were being victimized outside of school. Primary school girls in our community are vulnerable to family members who don’t prioritize their education and men who wish to become romantically/sexually involved with them while they are still children. The strong consensus in the community was that a dormitory would provide a safe space for girls to live and continue their studies under the watchful eyes of their teachers and dormitory matron. Remaining at school would also improve their performance because they would have less time doing chores and more time for their school work. About a dozen teachers and SMC members have been involved in this project in the form of suggestions Many of these stakeholders are permanent members of the 10-person dormitory project management committee we formed in mid-June. The dormitory project management committee will be intimately involved in planning and overseeing the construction of the dormitory. The Head teacher intends to work with PTA to do any form of maintenance of the dormitory, the school Board has agreed to put a fee on the school as part of the maintenance fund from the parents. Through the senior woman teacher, the girls will develop a cleaning roster to make sure the dormitory is kept clean.