The West African Foundation for Advancement of Education (WEAFAE), established on the premise to provide accessible education to students in West Africa, was formally launched on Saturday, at the Law Faculty complex in Kanifing.
WAEFAE, formed in 2013, aimed to provide affordable and quality education to the less privileged children, particularly in West Africa.
The West African Foundation for Advancement of Education is also a non-governmental, non-profit, impartial and non-partisan organisation that is geared towards promoting, protecting and preserving the rights and interest of school-going children, through the use of legal framework by building preventive strategy to ensure that children have access to excellent education.
In his opening remarks, Morlai Richard Kelvin Kamara, chairperson of WEAFAE, said the official launch of the charitable foundation in The Gambia is most historic, as the foundation covers five West African countries, namely The Gambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
He added that the foundation is mainly concerned with the provision of education and training, enlightenment campaigns, advocacy and policy development, publishing and information resources, counseling and the provision of scholarships for needy students in the afore-mention countries.
The WEAFAE chairperson made reference to the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia (1997), which makes education a fundamental human right.
According to Kamara, The Gambia government is committed to improve the lives and welfare of its children. He stressed the need for the promotion of children’s rights to survival and development, through appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures in fulfilment of national and international obligations.
He stated that The Gambia has adopted policies for education, and enacted laws, which make basic education compulsory for all children, hence modernise Madarass schools, by harmonising their syllabuses to that of the formal system of education, geared towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG’s) regarding education for all in 2015.
He noted that it’s against this backdrop that WEAFAE had launched the foundation to diagnose challenges, weaknesses and strengths in the education system, in order to draw practical and operational recommendations.
Kamara cited their constraints, namely funding, mobility, lack of equipment, like computers, generators, among others, and inadequate staff to execute daily operations.
Addressing the gathering, Dr. Henry Carrol, legal practitioner, extended his warm gratitude to the foundation for its unique participation in the advancement of education within the sub-region.
Dr. Carrol also cited the numerous benefits of acquiring knowledge, saying the pursuit for education is from the cradle to the grave.
Speaking earlier, Gaye Sowe, Senior legal officer, Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), said the foundation in its drive to promote the development of education in West Africa, ought to uphold the supreme law of the land.
Thus, he added, the foundation should centre its activities on the Women’s Act, Children’s Act and international obligations, so as to promote the right to education for women and children without discrimination.
Other speaks included Alpha Khan, veteran educationist, Nadet V Norman, vice-chairperson WEAFAE, Almameh S. Manga, focal person WEAFAE and Mustapha Kah, assistant legal adviser of WEAFAE, who delivered the vote of thanks.