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  • Sierra Leone National Trust – Small Grant Program Success

    Posted on October 1, 2016

    This is a unique INTO-supported program to raise awareness of the Slave Trade sourced though Bunce Island (“a wharehouse of Humanity”) to enable these issues to be highlighted at source for the first time we think in West Africa. The Island had been abandoned for some 200 years. Our new member Sierra Leone National Trust developed and completed the first phase of an excellent community engagement and information program, within budget (a small amount of additional funds were allocated to ensure completion).
    Initially, 4 volunteers, 4 staff persons and some 63 people took part. SLNT estimate some 800 people will benefit in the coming few years.
    Total costs to complete the project £3000
    INTO Small Grants Program contribution: £1500
    The interim report from SLNT reports:
    200 years after the abandoning of Bunce Island as a warehouse of humanity, this project has been the first to engage the host communities on cultural heritage appreciation through community theatre for development.
    Participatory rural appraisal formed the basis in extending our reach to local communities on cultural heritage preservation.
    By the end of the workshop participants were very vocal in their comprehension and appreciation of the newly gained insight into heritage preservation, and displayed vigorous pride in their heritage.
    They describe the benefits of the program so far as:
    1. Through community engagement the strong historical ties each of these communities have to Bunce Island has been established and acknowledged by participants thus heightening their sense of ownership and of having a stake in the affairs of the future of the island.
    2. The project has highlighted the security threat to Bunce Island, and the role of community members in the destruction of the island.
    3. The Small Grants Program Project implementation has signalled to host communities the need for preserving Bunce Island and they have pledged support for cultural heritage conservation.

    4. The project is being used as a tool in broadening their capacity regarding heritage management and fostering unity and shared heritage among host communities, who had hitherto manifested extreme rivalry in claims of ownership of the island.

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