Adame Yirgachefe 2nd Cycle School, Ethiopia
How we helped a school from 54th to 2nd
The Costa Foundation first became aware of Adame Yirgachefe 2nd Cycle School in January 2011 having heard of the difficulties the children and teachers were experiencing through their Ethiopian Project director (Mesay Kassaye).
Before Our Involvement
One of the Costa Foundation Trustees plus the foundation's Manager visited the school in March 2011 on the pretext of being interested in education in rural Ethiopia. The school was in a dreadful state with up to 90 children crammed in a classroom and the structure being very poor (if not unsound).
The classrooms had dirt floors which is a risk to children with no shoes due to the presence of dust fleas in the earth which attack the soles of their feet the children can end up crippled. Adame Yirgachefe is a really impoverished community and at least 50% of the children witnessed back in 2011 had no shoes.
The classrooms were made out of sticks and mud and were in poor condition with leaking roofs, no windows, limited furniture and hardly any text books. The school was in such poor shape that there were very few teachers present and of those there, at least 3 had never been to school themselves.
There was no fresh water within 5 kms (3 miles) of the school and no electricity.
Understandably; the school was not performing well in the regional league tables. Teachers were not adequately trained and children were in overcrowded classrooms and in conditions not conducive to a good learning experience. Indeed the school came 54th out of 57 schools in the regional league table in 2011.
Changes Made By The Costa Foundation
Working closely with the community and Local Education Authority and with the skilled guidance of the Costa Foundation Ethiopian Country Director (Mesay Kassaye); a plan was put in place to demolish the old and unstable classrooms and build six new classrooms and a library all complete with new furniture and over 2,500 text books. The new school now has fresh water on site, electricity, sports kits and equipment for the students to use in extra-curricular lessons.
The children were safely moved to nearby buildings on a temporary basis while the new construction took place.
The new school opened in October 2011 and has been wonderfully received by the children, parents and teachers. Some highlights to share are:
- The children now have extracurricular lessons run by teachers on a voluntary basis and with team leaders from among the students (some aged 10). The lessons are in HIV and AIDS awareness, gender, environment, sports and presentation skills. Not only do students attend these lessons but the parents do too.
- One small example of the above having an impact on the parents and wider community is the fact that litter is now collected and taken to landfill for the first time (it used to be just dumped on the side of the road). This is an initiative started by the children by the use of waste baskets at the school
- The school now has a full complement of teachers and even has a waiting list of other teachers keen to work at the school.
- All of the teachers at the school now have degrees in teacher training.
- 30% of the teachers are female (versus 10% previously)
- Student drop-out rate dropped from 35% to 5% in 2012
- But the biggest impact is that the school came 2nd in the regional league tables in 2012, a remarkable uplift of 52 places from their 54th place in 2011
- You won’t be surprised to learn that the school intends to come first in 2013.
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