Following the initial community outreach we have done, we employed a multi-tiered student recruitment process. We opted for a multi-step recruitment to ensure that the opportunity of enrolling in our school reaches all potential applicants across 31 villages of Sandiara. In addition to the dissemination of information, it was also necessary that families and potential students had a chance to meet our team in person and pose any questions and concerns they may have about the school and its intended impact. As such, we worked with the President of Village Chiefs to coordinate visits at the large villages that are within 2-3 kilometers of the school. Due to the significant distance of some villages from our school and the limited capacity of our team, we visited 12 villages that were close enough to the school for students to be able to commute by walking.
The treks to reach these villages were not easy as most of the roads were no bigger than a one-way dust path with frequent mud pits, pot holes and were flanked by tall stalks of millet crops. These village gatherings took place under large trees in the center of villages or at the homes of the village chiefs, per the custom of rural Senegal. Each village visit brought twenty to fifty attendees comprising of elderly village leaders, young men, mothers and young women, as well as teenagers. These meetings served as a great platform for an extensive and open discussion about the education our school will provide, the need for active involvement of parents, and the potential opportunities students can pursue upon graduating from our school. Further, individuals who expressed interest and parents who are not able to send their children to school were able to sign up. Overall, the multi-tiered student recruitment process succeeded in serving as a community outreach opportunity while also increasing the number of people who became aware of and were interested in enrolling in our vocational and literacy school.