Mali – Sponsorship Supports Schools





Picture 2 of blog author

Aboubacar Sogodogo, Basic Education Assistant

Mali

October 14, 2013


Thanks to sponsor generosity, our
programs support more than 50,000 children and work with 996 teachers in 264
schools in Sikasso and Yorosso districts. Like elsewhere in the country, lack
of qualification and an insufficient number of teachers are two of the many
issues that plague the education system in these districts. The most apparent
reason for the teacher shortage is the structural adjustment the government
went through in the 1990s when the Ministry of Education had to lay off hordes
of experienced teachers through early retirement and shut down all the teacher
training institutions.

Photo of a teacher in action1The teachers serving in the schools we
support often have different profiles, experience and qualifications. But broadly,
they fall into three categories:

Category 1: Teachers who have a
contract with the government through the Ministry of Education. The government
used to be the biggest teacher employer, but has now reduced its recruitment of
teachers, preferring to leave this responsibility to elected entities or
municipalities.

Category 2: Teachers who are employed
and paid by elected entities. Under the Malian decentralization law,
municipalities are responsible for running and supporting some key social
services such as health and education in their areas.
Photo of a teacher in action2

Category 3: Given the chronic shortage
of teachers and the inability of both government and municipalities to recruit
adequately, some communities hire and pay their own teachers with technical
support from the ministry of education.

Teachers in all three groups are either
certified by official teaching institutes or received crash, pre-service
training before being sent into the education system. Currently, more than 70%
of the teaching force in our sponsorship schools is made up of teachers from
categories 1 and 2. However, for job security, the government remains a
preferred employer for most teachers; it’s viewed as a permanent and regular
salary payer.

Whatever the employer, the ministry of
education remains the government arm responsible for policy guidance and
direction on all education matters. It’s also responsible for what teachers
teach and how they teach it.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more

A Mother’s Perspective: Feliza Asteti

Crispin AcostaCrispín Acosta, Basic Education Facilitator

Cochabamba, Bolivia

October 12, 2012



My name is Crispín Acosta and I work for the Wawakunan Purina Program (We work with the children) as a basic education facilitator at the San Nicolás School in Bolivia. My work offers me the
opportunity to work closely with the entire school community – children, parents,teachers and the authorities. Through my work I recently had the opportunity to talk with Mrs. Feliza Asteti from Oruro in the Challapata Province.
Feliza and her daughter Daniela helping to find words in the dictionary

The Asteti family moved to Cochabamba 16 years ago. They live near the Nicolás neighborhood and like many in this area they suffer from deficiencies in basic services such as water, electricity, sewerage, telephones and transportation.

During my conversation with Feliza she clearly showed how happy a mother gets, knowing that her daughter Daniela is sponsored and has friends in other countries.

With a beaming face she asked me how to pronounce Daniela’s sponsor’s name in English and explained how happy and excited Daniela is to receive and send letters and drawings to her sponsor.

 TCrispin and Felizahe education materials delivered on behalf of Save the Children are also a great source of joy for both the students and parents. “I have seen the materials that were delivered to the school. Bookshelves and many books, balls, toys and materials so they learn better, like calculators. I also participated in a workshop on how to speak with my family and how to treat my children. This was very helpful and I want to continue participating in this type of workshop,” shared Feliza.

A parent’s emotion and satisfaction of being able to rely on educational materials of equal or better quality than well-funded city schools, and seeing the results of their children improving their learning skills, is expressed by Feliza: “I have said that before we never had anything at school, but now new materials are arriving for our school and my daughter no longer wants to miss school, therefore I am very happy and I thank the friends, sponsors and Save the Children.”

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more.

Literacy Boost: The Power of a Teacher!

Zerihun GultieZerihun Gultie, Sponsorship Manager

West Showa, Ethiopia

October 5, 2012

In 2009 a study was conducted to measure the reading skills of children in the South West and West Showa zones of Ethiopia. The results were shocking, a huge percentage of 3rd grade children were unable to read a single word, despite schools, trained teachers and community support. It was then that Save the Children came up with an innovative concept called Literacy Boost to create a culture of reading, both inside and outside the classroom. 

In April of this year I visited three schools which have benefited from Literacy Boost. I was
stunned by the positive change. Children in the 2nd and 3rd grades were reading their textbooks and were highly engaged – almost all were able to read an average of 40 or more words per minute.

There I met Mitke Kuma, a vibrant 2nd grade teacher. She is a multi-disciplinary teacher, teaching 6 lessons a day on all subject matters. She lives several miles from the school and walks almost three hours each day to and from work. When her shift starts in the morning, she often sets off walking in the dark in order to be ready to start teaching at 8am. On Mondays, she arrives an hour early or extends her afternoon shift to help students in the library as part of her commitment to the Literacy Boost program. Mitke in action

Mitke has participated in several Save the Children trainings. She is a strong supporter of Literacy Boost and is constantly developing aids to help her students read. She has grouped them into three reading levels with materials according to their skill, and has facilitated a reading buddies program where younger children are paired with older students who help them with their reading. According to Mitke, the Literacy Boost trainings have equipped teachers with effective and necessary teaching skills.

Mitke is committed to helping the children at her school and hopes to move closer, “If my home were closer to school, Icould have more time to help students improve their literacy level,” she
shares. Her dream is to improve her educational qualification to a PhD.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more.

Haiti One Year On: Safer Construction

Paul%20Neale Paul Neale, Program Manager for Safer Construction and Disaster Risk Reduction in Port-au-Prince, Save the Children 

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I have been in Haiti since the end of January 2010 working as the Program Manager for Safer Construction and Disaster Risk Reduction in Port-au-Prince. I came out here with another international NGO as a shelter coordinator, but after their initial distribution of emergency shelter they switched focus to WASH – NGO parlance for water and sanitation health – and job creation for people affected by the earthquake.

So, I joined Save the Children at the end of April – the children’s charity I worked for in Aceh, Indonesia following the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004/5.

Our safer construction team in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince consists of six engineers, an assistant and me. Since April we have been strengthening temporary schools, building child friendly spaces and health clinics. Recently our focus has been on constructing cholera treatment units – CTUs.  

In total we have built four CTUs in partnership with Save the Children’s health and WASH teams.  It is my first experience of working in a cholera epidemic, which has so far claimed the lives of 3,600 people in Haiti.

CTU___7_80759Paul works alongside a camp resident to construct the cholera treatment unit in Gaston Magron
Photo Credit: Megan Savage

But what surprised me most is how incredibly easy it is to prevent and treat cholera – simple rehydration solutions will reverse the devastating effects of cholera on the body within one to three days. Obviously the earlier someone gets access to rehydration treatment the quicker they can make a full and speedy recovery.

I remember the first cholera case we had at our cholera treatment unit based at a place called Gaston Margron, where approximately 6,000 people are living in tent camps. It was a nine-year old boy. He was very sick when he arrived, but the next day he sat up looking for something to do – healthy again with the aid of an IV drip and rehydration!

In Haiti safer construction was originally simply called reconstruction. But we wanted to emphasise that Haiti had to build back safer and better. Already we are planning to build ten transitional schools in Port-au-Prince as well as more in Leogane and Jacmel. We hope these schools will act as a model of safer construction methodologies that will be replicated in shelters and other construction projects in the neighbouring communities.  

I’m also involved in managing the final stages of a tender process to appoint a local building contractor to construct schools in all three locations. It has taken time to get to this stage since we had to get our school design approved by the Haitian Ministry of Education. I am looking forward to getting contractors finalised and the start of school construction. It has been an arduous process, and I feel very sorry for the children studying in tent schools.

We also have to ensure the school authorities own the land where we plan to build – a crucial factor since we don’t want to end up in the awful predicament of having to tear down a school because of contested land ownership. And that’s a potential problem here in Haiti since pre-earthquake many of the schools were on rented land.

There are other problems too. There is limited capacity and skills for construction in Haiti. So, whilst we are completing construction projects we have to build the capacity of local tradesman, and monitor their progress carefully to ensure the highest possible building standards.

Port-au-Prince is not a large city, but because of poor road conditions and traffic it can take at least two hours to get to some of our sites. This limits what is possible to achieve each day. Also, most quality construction materials like timber have to be imported from places like the Dominican Republic, which takes time to arrive in country and clear customs. As a result of the cholera outbreak as well as election violence late last year it has been difficult to undertake ‘normal’ activities.

Before signing off I must mention how amazed I am by the resilience and good humour of the Haitian people. They have been through so much in the last year, and yet they always have time and a smile for you. They deserve a break and some luck in 2011. 

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Learn more about our recovery response to the earthquake in Haiti.

Help Us Respond to the Haiti Earthquake Recovery. Please Donate Now.

 

Haiti One Year On: Our Work in Pictures

Dhheadshot Dave Hartman, Save the Children, Internet Marketing and Communications Specialist

Westport, CT

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

 

2010 was a busy year for Save the Children in Haiti. From the onset of the disaster our Voices from the Field blog kept readers informed about on-the-ground efforts in Haiti. We’ve created four Flickr slideshows that recap the progress we have made in providing relief to Haitians and look ahead at the work remaining to build back Haiti better. 

Miracle Baby Winnie

One of the early glimmers of hope was the rescuing of a baby named Winnie. She was pulled from the rubble by an Australian television crew and quickly treated for dehydration by Save the Children medical staff. In May and October our staff caught up with Winnie who is now a healthy and lively 2 1/2-year-old. Check out the album below to see the newest photos of this “Miracle Baby”.



Livelihoods Project

Cash for work, cash grants and asset recovery vouchers are among the programs that Save the Children supports, specifically targeting the most vulnerable families as identified by their own communities

The most vulnerable include female-headed households and families with one or members who are more chronically ill or living with disabilities. Some cash-for-work projects also reduce future disaster risks – for example, stabilizing river embankments in Jacmel and protecting families’ assets from flooding by cleaning canals in Léogâne. 

Through our support for farmers, fishermen and other small traders, Save the Children is contributing to economic recovery in Port-au-Prince, Léogâne and Jacmel.

These programs will ensure that families can provide food for their children, rebuild their homes and send their children to school.



Getting Schools Back on Track

Education is key to building a better future for Haiti’s children, and it remains one of Save the Children’s top priorities. We have provided tents, furniture and supplies so schools could reopen as quickly as possible, allowing children to learn in safe surroundings and regain a sense of normalcy. In addition, Save the Children has trained 2,300 teachers in disaster risk reduction so they’re prepared in the event of another earthquake and we have distributed school kits which include a backpack, notebooks, pencils and other essential supplies to more than 38,500 children.
 



Cholera Prevention and Treatment

Cholera first struck Haiti in October 2010 for the first time in decades. The global support Save the Children received, allowed us to respond quickly to the outbreak, which had not been seen in Haiti for decades. As cholera continues its deadly spread, Save the Children is intensifying efforts to prevent and treat additional cases in the areas where our health and hygiene teams already have a presence and have relationships with communities. Our health workers — reinforcing an intensive education campaign spearheaded by the government of Haiti and other international organizations — are broadening prevention and education activities to provide families with information about the importance of washing hands with soap, boiling water and seeking medical support at the first sign of illness.We aim to reach 600,000 people in six months with these activities.



On this one-year anniversary, of the earthquake, Save the Children and others have made a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of Haitians who have lost so much. But it is clear that the needs remain great and vast amounts of work lie ahead. The country’s children are both the most vulnerable, and the most resilient of its citizens. Investing in them offers the best chance for a better future for the nation as a whole. The global community must seize the opportunity to support a new Haitian government in creating meaningful change in the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable children. Save the Children is committed to Haiti for the long-term, and the promises that the international community has made to Haiti and its children must be kept.

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Learn more about our recovery response to the earthquake in Haiti.

Help Us Respond to the Haiti Earthquake Recovery. Please Donate Now.