5 Days, 5 Photos-A week in the life of African Revival

Posted on by Elaine Miller

As usual, it has been a packed week at African Revival in Uganda; in fact, our Gulu office has been rather empty as staff have been spending a lot of time on the ground, in the schools we work with. And here is a secret: that is exactly where we love to be. Thank-you for supporting us, we hope you all have an enjoyable weekend!

Monday:

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With plenty of activities going on this week, African Revival’s car is going to be on the road for much of the week.  Here, our driver Tonny is doing a spot of early morning maintenance to ensure that the vehicle is in tip top condition so that staff can reach all their activities quickly and safely.

 

 

Tuesday:

Appeal for volunteers

Holly is our fabulous Communications and Fundraising director, who has been part of the African Revival family for exactly a year today! As an organization, we are extremely grateful for Holly’s vital work, which keeps our programmes in operation. Happy anniversary, Holly!

 

 

Wednesday:

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African Revival is in the process of building a teachers’ house at Juba Road Primary School. Today, our construction co-ordinator Vincent visited the building site, and found that-in spite of the rains- the contractors are making excellent progress! Here, you can see a builder working on the roof.

 

 

Thursday:

IMG_0151 girlOur livelihoods co-ordinator Francis, and our M&E coordinator Scovia are currently conducting monitoring visits for our School Demonstration Gardens project in Agago and Abim. They are visiting an impressive 20 primary schools; one of the perks of school visits is meeting some of the children of the parents who are involved in the project!

 

Friday:

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Today, we enjoyed reading about the innovations that teachers from African Revival supported nurseries have implemented into their classrooms, to support their students’ development and learning. In fact, at STIR Education’s regional event, eight Jumpstart! teachers were recognized for their excellent ideas!

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The First Term at Purongo Hill Nursery School

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Scovia Fwambe is a dedicated nursery teacher, based at one of our Jumpstart! partner schools – Purongo Hill Nursery School. In addition to teaching her K2 pupils, Scovia is also the head-teacher of the nursery school, and juggles an impressive work-load to ensure the smooth running of the centre.

Scovia 2 DAY 4 It has been a busy, but successful term at Purongo Hill  -evidenced during their fabulous end of term open day, where parents were able to admire the progress of their young children: when we first met the children in February, many were nervous and shy… but what a difference a term can make! As the children sang, danced, and showed their work to parents and visitors, it is clear that the children have really settled into school, and are learning a lot.

When we met Scovia in February, she was new to nursery teaching, having previously only taught in secondary schools. For this reason, Scovia was selected to attend ECD training at Gulu Core PTC in February, and again at the beginning of May. We recently caught up with Scovia as she reflects upon the first school term, which has just been completed:

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How did you find this first term at school?
After the training at the college, I learnt how to use the Learning Frame Work (LFW), planning, scheming and making the daily routine. Before the training, we were just gambling teaching. We had the LFW, but could not easily understand them.

Are you pleased with your pupils’ progress this term? Are there any achievements that you are particularly proud of?
When the pupils came to the centre, their knowledge was very weak. By the end of the term, the pupils could confidently sing rhymes and interact well among themselves. Many of the children cried whenever they were brought to the centre in the morning, but by end of term, they were used to the school environment.

How are your pupils doing in terms of their overall development?
The children used to cry a lot in the morning when they were brought to school. They would not want to be left behind. They are now used to their school environment and their care givers and so now they love school. Many have also gained confidence in themselves and interact well amongst themselves as well as with visitors.

Are your pupils’ parents well engaged with their children’s education?
Yes, their response when called for school meetings have been very positive, they contribute and share ideas for school development, and ensure that good policies are adopted for the development of the child.IMG_0329

What do you feel has been your greatest moment this term?
My greatest moment has been the school open parents’ day. It was a great sharing time with parents and the children. The parents where quite impressed with what transpired during the school term and expressed their appreciation for the good things that have happened.

And your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge was the fact that this is a newly opened ECD centre and all three of us- the care givers- did not know much about ECD. To catch up and make the centre what it is, we took to making learning/ teaching materials after receiving training organized by African Revival. This took most of our time, but I am quite happy that we now know more from the training we received. I am also more than happy that two of us are undergoing a certificate course at Gulu Core Primary Teachers’ College in Early Childhood Development (ECD), courtesy of African Revival. I therefore guarantee you that our ECD centre will even do much better in term two and the other coming terms.

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What difference has having new posters/learning materials made to your classrooms?
Once the posters are on the wall, learning is continuous even without a teacher in class. The parents were also so impressed by the posters and the ability of their children to read them during parents open day. Because of these, we are actually looking forward to a bigger pupils’ enrolment next term since most parents rated our school as the best in the locality.

Here at African Revival, it brings us great joy to hear such positive updates from the schools which we support. As we continue to work with Scovia and Purongo Hill Nursery School, we will be sure to keep you all updated on the progress of their wonderful young pupils!

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Meet Bosco!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

We are excited to introduce you to Bosco Onyai, one of our Agricultural Project Officers!

IMG_0005Bosco has been working with African Revival since 2014. Bosco is from the Nwoya district but moved to Amuru with his wife, his son (aged 5) and his baby daughter to join our Livelihoods team working on our school demonstration gardens programme.
Bosco attended agricultural college, where he obtained a certificate, and then diploma in Agricultural Practice, before working for several agricultural organizations including the Amuru District Farmers’ Association. Bosco loves his job; his favourite aspect of his role is working in the field alongside the community- he has a real heart in particular for underprivileged and vulnerable communities.
Outside of work, Bsoco is an avid Manchester United football supporter, and enjoys getting to know older members of the community, to benefit from their wisdom.

Bosco, we are so glad that you are part of the team!

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News update: Otong Primary School

Posted on by Elaine Miller

As you may have gleaned from our updates on Twitter and Facebook, our school demonstration gardens project is now in full swing! Over the past few months, the school garden groups across Amuru democratically elected their leadership committees, drew up work plans, completed crop selection, prepared the land for planting and received agricultural training from our staff. With the land prepared, and the rainy season upon us, the garden groups have now begun the all-important planting.

 

Growing passionfruits

One of our partner schools is Otong Primary School, situated off a feeder road in the Paddo sub-country of Amuru. The school, which currently has 460 pupils, has been extremely supportive of the project and has donated a sizeable piece of land (33m by 140m), which is already fenced to the garden group, who have named themselves “Unity is Good for Education Garden Group”.

Sam in the field

The parents at Otong Primary School have working extremely hard in their garden; over the past few weeks, the group prepared raised nursery beds, where they have now planted red onions. Rows and rows of passion fruit seeds have also been planted; up next for planting is maize, and banana trees!

One of our agricultural officers, Babra, has been working with the group every step of the way, and visits the garden every Tuesday to equip the members with good agricultural techniques, which will maximise their yields.

The school’s head teacher, Jane, is pleased with the group’s commitment to the garden: “the project is doing well; the parents are actively involved- they came every day. Each day, a group comes and does watering, and weeding. A few more parents now visit us in the class, which is an encouragement. The parents really love their new tools, which are enabling them to work hard  on the plot.”

Headteacher Jane

Jane is also looking forward to using the garden as a way to teach pupils about the environment: “agriculture and the environment is a component of the syllabus, so children will be able to learn through visiting the garden with their teachers. Within our environment syllabus, we intend to visit with the children to teach them about weeding methods, and the pests which affect crops. It is going to be a helpful learning tool.” We are so pleased to hear that this garden is going to be truly multi-functional!

Next term, the livelihoods team will also be mobilizing student garden clubs, which will provide students with the opportunity to learn agricultural skills, and build their business acumen through selling their produce. The children will be able to enjoy a portion of profits, which they can use to buy scholastic materials.

Look out for more project updates soon!

 

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5 days, 5 photos: A week in the life at African Revival

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Welcome to a sneak peek of the goings on at African Revival this week…we hope you all have a great weekend!

Monday:

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Today, students all across Uganda went back to school after a three-week half term.  With her freshly washed uniform, Scovia from Otong Primary School is ready to get back to work!

 

 

Tuesday:

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Despite several members of her team having recently suffered injuries, our livelihoods team member Babra is still smiling, as she visits our school demonstration garden groups across the Amuru district.

 

 

Wednesday:

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One of the jobs of the Communications and Fundraising team in Uganda is to read the daily newspapers to keep abreast of relevant news stories, and developments. Today, we found several interesting articles relating to agriculture and education!

 

 

Thursday:

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Our M&E co-ordinator, Scovia, has been busy this week conducting monitoring visits for our School Demonstration Gardens project. Today, she enjoyed meeting participating parents, like Esther (pictured) at Otwee Primary School.

 

  

 Friday:

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Our Jumpstart! team are busy visiting nurseries in our partner schools across the Nwoya district today. Thankfully, the weather is perfect for a day of hopping on and off the project motorbikes!

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Construction Update: Juba Road Primary School

Posted on by Elaine Miller

We were happy to share last month that African Revival is building a teachers’ house at one of our partner schools, Juba Road Primary School.DSC_0232  As its name suggests, Juba Road Primary School is located just off Juba Road-one of the main roads of Northern Uganda-just 30km from the border of South Sudan. The school is therefore one of the furthest away from our Gulu office, but it is a school that we have been greatly committed to for a long time. Over the past few years, African Revival has built a classroom block, latrines, and a girl’schanging room to improve upon the school’s existing facilities.

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Many of the school’s teachers live in huts near the school property or in nearby villages but upon completion of our current project, Millie-Grace, the senior woman teacher and Richard, the deputy head-teacher, will be able to live in comfortable accommodation at the school. Their close proximity will help them better support their students, and be more available to tackle issues which might cause students to drop out of school.

We broke ground on the work site on the first of April this year, and our construction coordinator Vincent has been closely monitoring the building’s progress since work commenced. Here at African Revival, we care passionately not just about the children we work alongside, but also the communities in which they live and so, keen to inject in the local economy, our contractors have hired local labourers, and sourced-where possible-local materials to build the house. Under the expert supervision of our fantastic contractors, Robert and John-Paul, the building team have now laid the foundations, the floor, and have started building the walls- which are now window high, so the structure is rapidly taking shape.

DSC_0207This progress is particularly impressive as the construction team have certainly faced challenges as they complete this project- notably, persistent rain fall has made access to the school difficult, and transporting materials has been no mean feat!
However, the team’s hard work will not be in vain; as part of African Revival’s memo of understanding with Juba Road Primary School, the school has established a maintenance committee who will be responsible for looking for the building, so that it stays in tip top condition for many years, and can benefit as many teachers as possible. The maintenance team of five includes teachers, and parents who are eager to maintain the school’s facilities so that children can learn in a clean, functioning, and welcoming environment. We hear that the team are hoping to plant flowers around the new house, to create a truly inviting atmosphere at the school!

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We hope that in spite of the heavy rains, the building team continue to enjoy building this new home for Juba Road’s committed and dedicated teachers. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook so that you can track the progress of all our projects!

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Jumpstart! Update – ECD Training, Round 2

Posted on by Elaine Miller

As we launched our Jumpstart! Programme in February, we sponsored ten pre-primary teachers who had never received formal training in Early Childhood Development to attend a teacher training course at Gulu Core Primary Teachers’ College. During the week-long course, teachers learnt about the principles of Early Childhood Development, and received support in lesson planning.

Teachers in class

For the past three weeks, it has been half term here in Uganda. However, our ECD teachers were still working hard, as they attended their second phase of training, which was more creative and practical.

In particular, the teachers enjoyed designing new learning material for their classrooms, to better engage their young pupils.

Newly made materials

Creative juices flowed as the teachers created textured posters, using beans and pulses – we are sure that the children are going to love the posters which will help them learn basic food items.

The teachers also learnt how to utilize local materials for learning resources: collecting brightly coloured bottle lids to use as counters is cheap, but extremely effective. Introducing these new posters and materials is a slow process but surely transforming the nurseries of African Revival supports schools in offering children a dynamic and exciting learning environment.

We caught up with Petra Atto, who we introduced several months ago, to find out how these changes have helped her K2 class at St Kizito Nursery School:

 Are you enjoying this second round of training? Yes, I am enjoying it. The most helpful things I am learning are writing and developing teaching learning aids. As we attended a one day training before in this area, I now can write much better with much ease due to practice. My hand writing has also generally improved. Irene making learning materialsIn materials
development, I struggled with drawing, but with practice, I can now draw meaningfully, and can use various materials to make learning aids. I can guarantee that term 2 will be more successful in terms of performance and also create an everlasting impression on the children in terms of my teaching methods.

 

How did you find your first school term? The term was good. Before the training, I had no clue about ECD. I did not know how to scheme, plan or write a daily routine, and I feared opening up to my colleagues about this. But the training built my confidence; I can now confidently teach my lessons and interact boldly with my colleagues. I also learnt more about rhymes at the college; this has helped me to develop closer links with my pupils and also build more confidence in myself.

Are you pleased with your pupils’ progress this term? At the beginning of the term, the pupils could only sing numbers and letters without recognizing them. By end of term, they could write numbers 1-15, and could identify as well as match them. The children can also identify and recognize letters from A –G.

Also before my training, the children were so timid and scared of adults. The love I showed them after the training gave them confidence in themselves and drew them closer to their teachers. They are now able to socialize well, with improved manners as also noted by the head teacher of the primary section who greatly appreciates the changes in the nursery section.

How are your pupils doing in terms of their overall development? My pupils are developing every day. They are now improving in reading and identifying numbers and alphabets. I also see a lot of positive changes in the behavior of the pupils. They are able to respond to commands and love school.

 What difference has having new posters/learning materials made to your classrooms? Teaching has become easy because children learn faster when they see and touch things. The presence of posters on the walls also enables for continuous learning even when I am not in class. It also made my classroom look beautiful, and more of an ECD class than it was before. During parents open day, the parents greatly appreciated having posters on the walls and think the quality of teaching has greatly improved.

What do you feel has been your greatest moment this term? My greatest moment was improvement in pupils’ performance, good relationship with the pupils and their parents.

We are excited to hear how well Petra’s students are doing, and we are sure they will continue to progress well next term. We wish Petra and teachers everywhere all the luck, energy and inspiration in the world as they begin a new term today!

 

 

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Welcome Alex!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

We’d like to say a big hearty welcome to our new Fundraising & Communications Volunteer Alexandra FortaczShe’ll be joining the fabulous Jade in Gulu to bring you, our supporters, the latest photos and updates from our projects in the field.

Alex joins Alex Websiteus after studying Political Science in Vienna and Nottingham. She volunteered in South Africa last summer and has previously worked in a research institute. She is very excited about doing some field work and becoming active in the field of international development. She hopes to contribute to the incredible work of African Revival, to gain valuable experience and to see as much of Uganda as possible. She enjoys good food, tea & coffee, sports and laughing. She loves to travel, live in different places and explore the world.

Want to know more about our staff and volunteers? You can! We’ve got info on our Uganda team, Zambian team and the UK team. Got any questions? Send us an e-mail at info@africanrevival.org or give us a call on 020 8939 3190

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Abim & Agago – Student Garden Clubs

Posted on by Elaine Miller

abim-_outside_the_field_officeIn the Agago and Abim districts of Northern Uganda, agriculture is the primary source of income for the vast majority of households. Many children start helping in their family’s plots from a young age. However, as John, the head teacher of Acangali Primary School, told us, agricultural work can also be seen as a punishment, and children often resent working in the fields. Considering its importance as the core livelihood strategy in these districts, it is important to equip children with strong agricultural skills, so that if and when they leave school, they are able to establish successful and profitable farms to support themselves.

For this reason, as part of our LEARN programme, (http://africanrevival.org/what-we-do/uganda/livelihoods/) our livelihoods team have established “student garden clubs” within our partner schools across Agago and Abim, where students learn agricultural and entrepreneurial skills.  The clubs seek to enthuse and empower primary school children to work together to grow produce which they can then sell to local markets; enabling children to earn some money demonstrates to them directly that agriculture is a profitable and satisfying activity. As such, should children leave school without completing their final exams, they are already equipped with skills to support themselves and build up their own micro-enterprises.

img_0151The children of Acangali Primary School have demonstrated real commitment to their garden club; the children tend to their garden three times a week and have already reaped the rewards. Their red onions have grown very successfully, and the children were able to sell these and use their profits to buy scholastic materials. The children were very keen to buy books to help their studies.

The school’s head teacher told us that his pupils’ grades have improved because the garden is also used to help children in their learning of life sciences. The garden is therefore also a way to keep learning interactive and exciting. Paul, in P7, told us that the garden helped him prepare for exams, because what they are learning in the gardens is sometimes included. Paul is now so interested in agriculture that he would like to work within the sector and train others in agricultural best practice when he is older. Florence, in P4, told us that she is gaining knowledge and skills from the garden – particularly concerning how to plant seeds properly and how to make money.

img_0174Sarah, the chairperson of the student garden club agreed: “I am learning new skills; and I have shown my new knowledge to my family.  I go to work in the garden three times a week, and I have really enjoyed making some money which I can use to help my education”.

We hope that this garden continues to perform well, and that the children’s hard work and dedication will pay off with a fruitful harvest later on in the year. As always, you can catch more project updates on the website and on social media so be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

 

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