An American nonprofit. A government ministry in a tiny country in West Africa. A grant funded by the government of Japan.
All of these organizations came together last month to make something special happen: Launch a new vocational school campus that will equip hundreds of young women and men with life-changing job skills.
On February 14 in the capital of Guinea-Bissau, WAVS hosted a grant signing ceremony marking the start of a partnership between WAVS and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In attendance were the Japanese ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, the Guinea-Bissau minister of education, and members of our local and international team.
The $80,000 grant from the Japanese embassy will allow WAVS to build a 200-square-meter classroom at its new campus in Bissau. Starting in 2021, the classroom will be able to train hundreds of students each year in language skills and basic computer skills. It’s the first building on what will eventually become a 27-acre campus that will be able to train more than 1,000 students each year.
While the cameras from the national television station rolled, the minister of education and the ambassador took turns thanking one another. They also thanked WAVS and its donors in the U.S. for their investment in the lives of young people in one of the world’s least developed countries.
Sloan Galbraith, WAVS Country Director in Guinea-Bissau, used her speech to celebrate the moment and share her vision for the years ahead.
“Today is a beautiful example of what we can accomplish when we have the same vision for a better future and are committed to working together,” Galbraith said during her speech. “This project is a collaboration between the Guinea-Bissau Ministry of Education, Bissau City Hall, the Government of Japan, and the American NGO I represent, WAVS. The only reason we are all here today is because each of these institutions and organizations recognized the value of investing in the professional training of youth in order to build a better future that will benefit all of us.”
“We are extremely grateful to Bissau City Hall for helping us acquire these 11 hectares of land to build the new campus. We are equally grateful to our new partner, the Ministry of Foreign Affaires of Japan, for providing the funding needed to build the first classroom building. Finally, I also wish to thank all my colleagues who are here with me today and my colleagues in Canchungo and Gabu, including the teachers, administrators, and all the school staff, who have worked so hard all these years to invest in this vision.”