West African Vocational Schools

Nonprofit founded 2000

Global Washington Member

Address and Contact

P.O. Box 25455
Seattle, WA 98165

Chris Collins(Executive Director)
(206) 795-9593

Organization Description

West African Vocational Schools is a Christian, Seattle-based nonprofit that teaches job skills to people in Guinea-Bissau, one of the smallest and poorest countries in the world.

Example Project

Ergas Gomes graduated from high school ready to work. But like so many other young people in Guinea-Bissau, he quickly discovered that the education he received wasn’t enough to get a job. So he enrolled in a computer-basics course with West African Vocational Schools. Would it help? High schools in Guinea-Bissau are chronically under-funded. Oftentimes, teachers are not paid for months on end. So they don’t show up. Students either drop out or graduate without any marketable skills. As a result, many young people join the ranks of the unemployed – searching desperately for a way to provide for their families. The international drug traders who have taken over their country offer tempting wages to work as drug runners, but young people know that such jobs come with risks. They’d rather make an honest living. Gomes wanted something better. He took a five-month beginner-level computer course and a four-month advanced course from WAVS. He learned how to type, design spread sheets, use Microsoft Office, and browse the Internet. Thanks to his training, Gomes was able to get a job at a computer shop where he works five days a week. “Thank God for the school and for those who support it,” Gomes said. “Praise God because it’s very hard for young people to get work here. It’s only because of the school that I can work now.”

Activities that promote health

Clean Water & Sanitation Access

Activities that combat poverty

Community Building, Decentralization & Privatization, Economic Development, Education & Literacy, Employment & Income Generation, Governance & Political Participation, Human Rights, Informal Economies, Internet & Communication, Microfinance & Income Generation

Activities that protect the environment

Sustainable Agriculture & Farming

Areas of Service

Capacity Building, Education & Training, Products & Services, Public Awareness, Sustainable Business Operations

Nations of the World

Africa: Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal

Americas: Washington State, U.S.