Institution Building in Sierra Leone

Njala University College

Njala University College was formed in 1964 as a new educational institution. The college then offered two-year certificate programs in agriculture, trades and crafts and home economics, and four-year degree courses were formed in agriculture, education and home economics. The University of Illinois traveled there to assist in developing an institution with integrated research, instruction, extension and teacher training programs. More specifically, they wanted assistance with programs to build the country's agriculture production, conduct soil surveys, develop plant varieties and livestock strains for local conditions, conduct livestock nutritional studies, and improve quality of food supply. The top priority was given to improving instruction, but special attention was devoted by staff to develop a research program for the college. In addition, thirty-three degrees were awarded to Njala faculty from U.S. universities from 1964-1973, 27 of them from University of Illinois. Nineteen Illinois staff members served as long-term advisors in Sierra Leone in areas of discipline. In addition, seven administrative personnel assisted as short-term advisors in accounting, campus planning, printing and college administration.

Njala, with a current student population of just under 6,000, is now Sierra Leone’s premiere school for agricultural engineering, technology, and applied sciences. Njala, as well as the rest of Sierra Leone, is still reestablishing many of its programs following a devastating civil war that ravaged the country from 1991 to 2002.