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President’s message 2018

The past 12 months have been nothing short of phenomenal. I am both honored yet humbled to have been unanimously nominated and elected to be the president of arguably one of the largest and most influential alumni associations in the Washington D.C metro area. The new Executive have enjoyed support from our ex-officio members Mrs. Mimie Williams and Mrs. Rita Johnson, who have continued to provide guidance and advice ,as we all become more familiar with our new roles.

My first year in office has been filled with numerous successes, the greatest of which was witnessing the historic moment when the school reverted to its original single shift status. As an organization, the contribution that our branch makes to our alma mater the Annie Walsh Memorial School in Freetown, Sierra Leone, continues to be consistent and significant. Of note is the pivotal financial contributions that we made to the rehabilitation of the school in preparation for change to a single shift; one of three critical steps on the path to privatization. Donations and contributions from members and our supporters, made it possible for the branch to contribute to some of the mandatory requirements for the process.

In 2016 /2017, AWOGA Washington provided funding for rehabilitation of the IDA building, creating of additional classrooms and the teacher’s staff rooms, purchase of furniture, solar panels to provide electricity, funding of equipment and supplies for the Home Economics Department, incentives for staff and funds for hiring of cleaners, as well as continued awards of scholarships to meritorious students. On September 11th, 2017, over 2,000 A.W.M.S pupils started a regular 8 am to 2p m school day and there was a collectively cheer across branches globally and a big sigh of relief.

The needs are far from met. There are additional projects in the pipeline namely the resurfacing of the driveway, the rehabilitation of the sports court and the creation of a reserve fund which will be critical for funding of operational needs once the school is independent . The reserve funds will be used for running the school to cover the costs of teachers and staff salaries & benefits plus incidentals (until the revenue stream reaches status quo).

To that end , AWOGA Washington now has a newly formed committee that was created specifically to address this challenge of financial sustainability to support the school. I am very pleased to present the members of the AWOGA Washington Strategic Development Committee , charged with exploring ways through which the branch can make meaningful significant strides towards securing long term resources that will benefit the school. Members of the committee are members who I respect and that I am confident will be diligent in tackling the task at hand. They are Bidemi Labor, Claribel Sawyerr, Tania Faulkner, Franklina Buck, Boi Betty Udom and our treasurer Jacqueline Jones – Dove. Mrs Yvonne Kponou , one of the pioneers of the AWMS Development Fund Committee has graciously agreed to provide guidance and oversight of the committee activities .

In the coming year, I look forward to welcoming new members and as I mentioned last year, I encourage those of you who have been on the sideline for years, to jump in!!!

May we all be blessed, and we continue in service for our beloved school.
Non sibi sed omnibus.

Marion Koso-Thomas – President

smiling old woman