Village Link Project Update

Last week was a busy week for TVL. We had a number of meetings on the East Coast in NY and Washington D.C., all to help us reach our mission. Part of our mission is to work with community entrepreneurs and other organizations to encourage economic growth. Our first meeting of the week was with an interesting nonprofit called Sustainable Travel International that aims to "help communities, businesses and governments build a better future for themselves and their environments through travel and tourism". When we first heard about Sustainable Travel we knew we needed to talk to them to see if there would be any interest in adding Sierra Leone as a destination. Not only do we love what they are doing, we think Salone is a great destination. The country has beautiful beaches, charming villages and markets and a fun and exciting nightlife in the cities. A little bit for everyone! Sierra Leone has a lot to offer the adventurous traveller. In addition to spreading the word that this country is a hidden gem to visit, this could be an opportunity for Golu and its residents to provide goods and services for its visitors, all the while improving their economy. We've just begun the talks but our ambitious goal is to get to Salone before the end of the year to host Sustainable Travel and prove to them that Salone is a destination worthy to add to their list! Travel contingent on the Ebola situation and travel restrictions. 

Lam-Tech Digital LibraryOur second meeting of the week was really exciting for TVL! We've already shared with you that we are looking into bringing a digital library solution to Golu that would operate on a solar powered server intranet system that would be up to date with both local and global content ranging from Khan Academy to primary learning modules to Sierra Leonean School Syllabus content. The company that we have been vetting out is Lam-Tech, a local Sierra Leone tech consulting business with a nonprofit foundation to help schools and nonprofits like TVL provide an innovative approach to learning. For us, this was an exciting and successful meeting because it gave us a chance to learn that Lam-Tech and TVL share the same passion to help facilitate continued learning opportunities. Lam-tech is as passionate about this as we are. This week our Director, Ibrahim, was scheduled to meet with Lam-tech team members in Freetown to discuss how to adapt their product to Golu's environment. More to come on this as things progress.

Another interesting potential project that came out of this meeting was the initial discussion of TVL helping to facilitate the development of a small manufacturing facility, possibly in Golu, for Lam-Tech hardware. Again, the interest that TVL has in this is to be the conduit between Lam-Tech and the people of Golu to encourage entrepreneurship, job creation and economic development. More to come on this later too.

Our last meeting of the trip was with one of our board members, Michael McGirr and a fellow past Peace Corp volunteer, Don Wilson. The three of us volunteered in Golu during the 70's together. This was a strategic planning meeting to start discussions on where to take TVL in the future.

All in all, it was a successful week with good developments but still a lot of work to do!