The OC Grant Program
OC no longer “supports” specific schools. Experience taught us that doing so fostered dependency and caused jealousy. Instead, contributors are encouraged to support “project” funds to allow OCI to establish competitive grant programs – providing the Directors of Secondary Education of the United Methodist School System, in both countries, with tools to foster and encourage improvement. Competitive Grant Programs have been established in the following areas:
- Science Laboratories
- Assembly Halls
- Ancillary Programming
- Junior Achievement
In order to apply for (bid) on these grants, United Methodist Schools in West Africa must go through a qualifying process, to become an” OC Certified School.” ALL secondary schools in Liberia and Sierra Leone have the opportunity to become “OC Certified.” As funds are available in each of the project areas, grants will be “advertised” among the various OC Certified Secondary Schools in both countries, requesting that schools bid for these projects on a competitive basis. Grants will be awarded based on need, level of school participation, and quality of the application.
OC Career Academies
At the request of the Bishops of BOTH Liberia and Sierra Leone, OC has been asked to give special attention to helping develop an EFFECTIVE Vocational Education Program. After much research, discussion and brain-storming (both in the U.S. and in Liberia and Sierra Leone), OC is working with our West African partners to develop “Career Academies” – schools that have the potential to equip the youth of West Africa with not only marketable skills, but with the tools and ability to be entrepreneurs. The goal is to develop a curriculum that includes not only skills, but marketing, management, accounting, ethics, entrepreneurialism, leadership, economics, sociology and emerging technologies – all components of an education that can cause “paradigm shifts” in the way students think of themselves, and their potential to escape the cycles of poverty that have been so pervasive in much of the developing world.
Focused on Agriculture, Engineering, and Building Trades, the Pilot Project @ Taiama (on a good highway leading up-country from Freetown), we believe the Career Academy concept has the potential to help transform West African culture.
This project is a HUGE undertaking for OC, and may well become its primary focus. For more information, click on T.E.A. above.