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News: Grant will fund literacy work in Sierra Leone

Kuyvenhoven in Sierra LeoneEducation professor Jo Kuyvenhoven has earned a $50,000 grant as part of the Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative Planning Grant Competition .

Her proposal was one of just 20 chosen from the 300 submitted nationwide. Kuyvenhoven will work with Milton Margai College in Sierra Leone on a project to develop higher levels of literacy in the country's primary schools.

“The grant enables me and my colleagues in Sierra Leone to take,
what I think, is the most effective step for substantially affecting the success of teaching children to read. We’ll be working to develop a syllabus for the teaching of reading to be used in Sierra Leone teacher training colleges,” says Kuyvenhoven. "Greater literacy is a reliable path out of poverty. These children, they're so bright and energetic and clever. I just really hope they grow up into leaders in that country, with a wider knowledge of the world and more possibilities for themselves."

Kuyvenhoven is no stranger to Sierra Leone, having lived and worked there from 1981 to 1985 as part of a literacy development project.

For the past four years she has regularly offered teacher training workshops for elementary school teachers. "It is completely thrilling to get this grant," she said. "I am deeply glad, less for me than for my educator friends and the school children in Sierra Leone. My co-director, Aske Gbla, said 'Glory be to God' almost a dozen times when I told him. Another partner Dr. J.Abdul Kargbo said: 'They had mercy on a country where education is in tatters.'"