Mercury International today made a Le 12 billion pledge to support the Government’s free quality school education programme with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to build 80 new classrooms across the country.

The classroom construction project will form part of Mercury International’s continued commitment to collaborating with the government in the development of Sierra Leone, particularly through education.

At the signing ceremony, which took place at the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Mercury International’s Managing Director, Martin Michael said: “We have a track record in supporting education in Sierra Leone, and are already running a successful scholarship scheme. We are proud to support the Government’s agenda for free quality education because it has the potential to be of such significance to the development of Sierra Leone.”

Mercury Chairman, Samir Hassanyeh, also emphasised that education was a priority area for Mercury International’s corporate social responsibility agenda, and said: “We are very proud that we’re part of the free quality education initiative.”

The Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr Alpha Osman Timbo thanked Mercury international for their contribution to the free education programme and emphasised that preference would be given to building schools in remote areas.

Under the MOU Mercury International will build 80 classrooms over the course of four years in locations identified, and on land provided by the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary. The Ministry is also responsible for all relevant procurement and permissions.

Amara Sowa, the National Programme Coordinator listed some of the challenges facing the programme – inadequate infrastructure including not enough classrooms, the lack of teachers, overcrowding – but said: “We are looking squarely in face of our challenges and tackling them. Mercury International’s contribution will help us help our children benefit from a positive and conducive educational environment.”

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