By Phileas Jusu
March 3, 2023 | TAIAMA, Sierra Leone (UM News)
Solar electricity at the Sierra Leone Conference’s first hybrid vocational and entrepreneurship school will unlock new opportunities for students and tutors alike, church leaders say.
Opened four years ago, Taiama Enterprise Academy struggled to roll out some programs because it lacked a reliable power source to provide upscale training in engineering, science, motor mechanics and agriculture.
The facility now has 24/7 solar-powered electricity, thanks to funding from Operation Classroom, a United Methodist organization supported by U.S. churches in the Indiana Conference. The nonprofit works with The United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone and Liberia to improve education in the West African countries.
“To date, Operation Classroom has invested nearly $90,000 at the Taiama Enterprise Academy,” said Robert Coolman, Operation Classroom president. “That does not include the countless hours of donated time involved in putting this project together.”
He said the hope is that the solar power will enhance classroom instruction and after-hours study, including the use of a new computer laboratory that should be in operation before the end of the school year.
Installation is 95% complete, and the campus is already experiencing limited, but increasing, hours of electricity per day.