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Third Volunteer's trip

Third Volunteer's trip

On Thursday 5th October, eight of our dedicated volunteers took the annual charity trip to the Republic of Guinea for thirteen days.

Sixteen suitcases, eight hand luggages and eight backpacks full of books and over two thousand sanitary kits to be distributed to young girls to try and keep them in school.

“It’s my third time, it’s great to be back in Guinea, serving those in need.” – Kingsley Digby

Impact of 2023 volunteers

The volunteers had three key areas to address in two different cities (Dubreka and Coyah) and in the village of Koutaya. For thirteen days in the Republic of Guinea, the volunteers would come together, work hard on these projects thus positively impacting children, young people and the locals in these underprivileged communities.

The impact areas were: education, infrastructure, and sensitization campaigns.


Training in menstruation

This project was delivered in partnership with the British Embassy to Conary (Republic of Guinea) targeting the city of Coyah, which is 18.4 miles from Dubreka and 29.1 miles from the capital (Conakry), to support young girls to stay in school and not risk dropping out of school because of menstruation.

The Republic of Guinea is one of the top 10 countries with the lowest literacy rates, and statistically it is girls who suffer the most with this educational problem. The adjusted net attendance for girls drops from 66% in primary school to 29% in lower secondary school, dropping even further to 11% in upper secondary school. Between social and cultural problems which contribute to this, it is estimated that 1 in 10 school age girls in Africa will skip school during menstruation or drop out because of lavatory sanitation. The majority of schools are not equipped with sanitary facilities which means it is difficult to keep girls in school.

During the volunteers’ trip, 20 workshops were delivered between Monday 9th October and Monday 16th October. 500 young girls, 720 boys, 173 parents and 81 teachers received training on menstruation, sexual violence and self-defence. In addition, 2,000 sanitary pads were distributed to girls from underprivileged communities in Coyah with our effort to keep them in education.

Ongoing training and equipment is to be provided to young girls with our effort to keep them in school. We have already formed a working group in Coyah which includes students, teachers and parents. Their goal is to work together and prevent young girls from skipping or dropping out of school due to menstruation.

English Language classes

Over 500 children and over 150 members of the local community benefitted from intensive English classes. Children that couldn’t speak, are getting fluent in English.


New school in Koutaya

In February this year (2023) Portsmouth family run business Richmond Motor Group, our long-term partner, agreed to sponsor the educational building in Koutaya. The building will comprise of a library, computer room, teachers meeting room, head teacher’s office and internal toilet facilities.

Koutaya is a village in Dubreka (with a population of around 3,000 people) which currently has no available schools situated locally. To attend the nearest schools children must walk distances of 8km-10km each day, with many of those also having to make a dangerous water crossing.

With our plans to start teaching in September 2024, we are looking to complete building six classrooms by February 2024. The Richmond Building is nearly complete, with £44,000 spent so far, with only the ceiling, the flooring, the windows and painting left to finish.

Completing this project will vastly improve the educational opportunities for communities in Koutaya and surrounding areas and make learning accessible to children who are currently very much in need.

Upon completion more than five hundred children will be educated yearly, upwards from fifteen locals will be employed and the project will empower around three thousand members of the community in Koutaya and nearby villages.

Renovation of the multi-sport facility in Dubreka

The designated sports facility was built and inaugurated on the 12th October 2022. For the past eleven months, over eight hundred young people and members of the community have been using the facility daily.

Due to the facility being overused, the surface was damaged and the basketball hoops were broken. Renovating the facility was not part of the budget plan this year but we had to anticipate and renovate it so that young people and members of the community can keep using the facility. The renovation of the facility cost £3,700.

The full-size basketball and volleyball court is the pride of the children, promoting safe playing conditions for the children and the community.

Renovation of the library and the computer room in Dubreka

In 2021 the primary purpose of the trip was to build a library and a computer room which has had a massive impact on local lives. Over 15,000 children, young people, teachers and members of the community have been accessing the building yearly. Community members have been obtaining jobs through the IT classes and children who have never used computers before are now doing coding and programming thanks to the building and the classes.

This year the building was renovated by the help of our dedicated volunteers. In addition new air conditioning units have been fitted and over 2000 books have been added. The renovation, which was not planned but required due to the condition we found the building in, cost £2,600.

Workshops and sensitization campaigns

Irregular migration workshop

This is a major rising issue in the Republic of Guinea, and other parts of North West Africa: irregular migration to mainland Europe. Between January to October 2019, 28% of irregular migration from West Africa was made up of Guinean nationals (IOM, 2019). Since May 2022 we have been working with parents and children helping tackle these issues as many children have lost their lives trying to cross the sea to come to Europe.

To help support parents and young people, URBOND has partnered with Microsoft to provide a Gig Academy which provides technology training to the locals, ultimately giving them skills for jobs when they are certified after six months. In Dubreka, from December 2023, the centre will take on twenty young people as a pilot, to ensure the system works smoothly. Its capacity will subsequently increase to an intake of eighty young people every six months. Disabled people face particular barriers to employment, and so URBOND aims for disabled people to comprise of 30% of beneficiaries.

We are planning to bring more opportunities to young people so they can contribute to the development of their country.

URBOND Ambassadors in Coyah

We have formed a team of 42 ambassadors in Coyah to help tackle issues preventing young girls from attending school. The group of ambassadors are made of parents, teachers, and students. Some of the issues we are planning to tackle are FGM1, domestic violence, sexual violence, rape, child marriage and child labour. We have seven school partners in Coyah, our plan is to increase girls’ attendance with our partner schools by 15% by the end of 2024.

International Girls Day celebration

We celebrated International Girls’ Day on Saturday 14th October: over six hundred people attended the event. We were joined by some incredible and inspirational women to help empower the young girls, and sensitise them on the need for education. It was also great to see the girls taking part in the computer programming competition which is traditionally a male dominated area.

Semi-marathon to raise awareness on Need for Child Education

URBOND successfully organised its second edition of the semi-marathon on the 15th October. The event was organised to raise awareness on the need for child education. The event was a great success: over one thousand people from Conakry, Dubreka, Coyah and surrounding areas were in attendance.

Other sporting events for child education awareness

We organised football, basketball and volleyball events across three different days, in total 1,500 people attended these events. At every given opportunity, we stopped the event to express how important it was for children to attend school.

URBOND Conference

On the 11th October we held an URBOND conference at the British Embassy in the Republic of Guinea.

We were joined by the British Ambassador (John Marshal), UK Embassy staff, Rio Tinto, members of Guinean government, UNICEF, many more institutions and businesses. This was a great opportunity to introduce URBOND and the work we do in Guinea which is providing education to children who may go without it.

37 people were in attendance. We were able to network with businesses, institutions, and organisations. We are hopeful the outcome of the conference will be positive and more partnerships will be created off the back of this impactful meeting.