As part of a financing agreement between the Sierra Leone government and the European Union geared towards ensuring equitable access to education in Sierra Leone, 100 schools in the Bombali, Port Loko, Bo and Kenema districts, have been targeted for rehabilitation/renovation and upgrade.
Earlier this year, Ministry of Basic Secondary School Education and EU representatives and Chairmen of Local District Councils from each of the four target districts selected 25 Junior Secondary Schools from each of the districts.
After a feasibility study of the 100 schools in the four districts, the project was launched on the 19th June 2019. As part of the requirements for the tender dossier, the National Authorizing Office (NAO), the government body working with the EU to implement this project, invited local and international contractors to participate in pre-bid site visits and meetings. These visits took place from the 15th – 19th July 2019 in the four targeted districts. The visits will give potential service providers an idea of the realities on the ground, and ensure realistic and well thought-out contract bids.
Five sites were selected per district. In Port Loko district, visits were made to schools in Kaffu Bullom, Maforki, and Lokomasama chiefdoms. In Bombali district, schools in Sanda Tenderan, Gbendembu Ngowa and Safroko Limba chiefdoms were visited. In Bo district, selected sites were in Tikonko, Bagbo, Boama, Valunia and Bumpe Ngao. In Kenema District, the selected sites included Simbaru, Lower Bambara, Kandu Leppiama and Tunkia chiefdoms .
Engineering consultant from PROMAN, the Technical Assistant partner of the Ministry Sahid Conteh shared plans for each of these sites with representatives of construction companies present. The plans provided an indication of the extent of repairs required for the various schools reviewed. For the majority of selected schools, science and computer laboratories will be constructed and fully equipped.
Gender sensitive toilet facilities will be constructed for boys, girls and staff members. Roofing and ceilings will be replaced, and baluster windows will be replaced with protective steel windows. Where required, walkways will be widened and protective iron railings will be installed in schools that require them. Schools that lack water supply, will be provided with water wells. Overcrowded schools will be provided with additional classroom blocks.
At the end of each site visit, potential contractors were invited to meet with a review panel comprising representatives from the European Union (EU), the National Authorizing Office (NAO), Local District Councils, MBSSE and PROMAN, which is one of four technical assistance teams working with the MBSSE. In these meetings, potential contractors had the opportunity to listen to presentations and actively dialogue with the official team.
Representing the EU delegation, Project Manager Michael Priddy noted that the EU tradition of providing free grants for development projects in different parts of the world, would not continue indefinitely. He observed that, “…this project is in line with the government’s flagship project of Free Quality School Education,” and that “They have allocated adequate resources and recruited a good number of international and local experts that will execute this project in a manner that will be satisfactory to every stakeholder.”
The Chairman of the Bo District Council Joseph Munda Bindi, emphasized the Councils’ willingness to work with the Sierra Leone government and the EU in this endeavor. “We will not fail in meeting the demands of the European Union and Government so that the country will continue to benefit and concrete development programmes will go to every corner in the country.”
NAO representative Robert Ganda explained the key elements of the tendering process, which broadly include:
a) Contracting parties and time table
b) the submission of tenders,
c) tender opening and evaluation and
d) contract signature.
He provided the potential contractors with information on dates and deadlines that would assist them in their planning. The deadline for the submission of all tenders is 20th September 2019. The tender opening sessions shall be on the 27th September 2019 and the notification of awarded contracts will be on the 27th October 2019 and contract signing on the 28th of November at the latest.
The European Union has provided an amount of 29 Million Euros towards the implementation of the “Support to the Education Sector in Sierra Leone programme,” which will end in 2020.