Project 1808, Inc, Decolonizing Education and Transforming Lives Through a School-Community- University Model
April 19 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Date/Time: April 19th 2023, @12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Speakers: Alhaji U. N’jai
Dr. Alhaji U. N’jai is the founder of Project1808, Inc., a US 501(c)(3) and UN DPI Associated Nonprofit organization. In 2014 Dr. N’jai led a multinational team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Sierra Leone, and University of Tokyo. These efforts resulted in the set-up of functional lab systems, long-term research programs, drug/vaccine development, and social mobilization programs. He has been a research fellow in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at University of Wisconsin-Madison, research and development senior scientist at Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, Ohio, and adjunct professor of biological sciences, University of Sierra Leone.
Here, I discussed the story of Project 1808, Inc. in Sierra Leone along the three fundamental areas of decolonizing education, global and local (GLocal) collaborations to transform community, and opportunity for social capital and empowerment. From these three fundamental pillars, Project 1808, Inc. has now built a wide range of programs along a school-community-university partnership model. The political economy of Sierra Leone historically defined by trans-Atlantic slavery and colonialism has had a checkered post-independence. Bad governance, a ten-year deadly war (1990-2001), a deadly Ebola outbreak (2014-2015), and landslide (2017) at post-independence decimated institutions and deepened cycles of poverty. As a nation, and as a people, the country was ‘stuck’ in terms of creativity and innovation for sustainable development and the well-being of its population. Project 1808, Inc. was conceived to help begin to break the logjam of community challenges to support the people in their efforts to improve the quality of their lives, better utilize their resources, and respond to the changes in their environments. To this end, Project 1808 through its School-Community-University model engages and connects students, teachers, professionals, researchers, community members, and government through small pointed and targeted interventions that address disconnects between learning and community problem solving. As a result, Project 1808 impacts include, well established educational and after school mentoring program, global health and infectious disease research program, water for wellbodi program, Ebola survivor livelihood skills development program, and National #STEEEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Environment, Entrepreneurship, Arts, and Mathematics) and Leadership festival program. Finally, to scale up the community transformation, Project 1808 with partners is set to launch Koinadugu College in Sierra Leone that will uniquely offer integrated, skills training courses at the certificate, diploma, and degree levels using a decolonial approach. The nexus of practical, experiential, community-level skills training, and academics offered through Koinadugu College we envision will serve as an economic engine for the districts, foster creativity and innovation, nurture local talents, attract global talents, address societal challenges, and ultimately improve lives.
Read more about the 6th National Science and Leadership Festival in