By Loyce Witherspoon
Following the outbreak of 2014 Ebola in Liberia, there have been increasing difficulties in ensuring the provision of education for the country’s youth. According to a report on the Assessment of the effect of Ebola on education in Liberia conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), schools in Liberia were ordered to close in July 2014 and remained closed until February 2015. While schools were formally closed, the majority of youth did not receive any alternative methods of learning.
What started off as a small initiative, printing worksheets for children in her community, founder Brenda Brewer Moore saw the opportunity to extend her help to other counties in Liberia. Thus in response to the disparity between education provision and supply of education, the Kids’ Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) grew out of concern to help provide a community-based approach to post-conflict educational attainment. With the support of many organisations and institutions, including members of the Board of Commissioners, KEEP was able to reach over 3,000 children in 17 communities in Montserrado County.
Amongst other methods, KEEP has managed to gain the financial resources necessary to keep children critically engaged free of charge through crowdfunding. As a practice, crowdfunding emerged in 2008 following the financial crisis and has since grown to become a multi-billion dollar industry, funding ventures globally from multiple individual contributors via the internet. Thus far, the KEEP has raised $8100, equivalent to 685746.00 Liberian dollars at the current exchange rate, surpassing their original goal of $5000 in just 13 months.
With the support of volunteers, NGOs and organisations, the KEEP develop play spaces for children, provide educational supplies including stationary, support after school tutorial initiatives, promote and enable more fun and holistic learning opportunities, as well as provide Tuition Support to outstanding gifted children from impoverished families. As part of their newest initiative, the KEEP aims to provide equipped, modern reading and computer rooms that will afford these children the opportunity to improve their reading skills and vocabulary as a broader effort to digitise education. How they plan to do this is by reaching out to Liberians in the diaspora to take part in rebuilding their country, one project at a time.
If you would like to find out more information or contribute to the KEEP, please reach them via their social media platforms.
GoFundMe profile: https://www.gofundme.com/