OLPCorps Tulane University & UC Davis – Sierra Leone


Teachers Training Teachers by Katie R
July 20, 2009, 9:31 am
Filed under: Teaching

Book on Common Diseases that Affect Children, made by teachers at the Bo FoSL Teacher TrainingLast Friday our group got to take its first jaunt outside of Kenema (excluding Freetown of course), and headed to Bo, an easy 45 minute taxi ride. The ride was cramped (although we’ve had worse), and cost about $2 a person.

We went there to give our project presentation to a teachers workshop. The workshop was called Teachers Training Teachers and was led by Katherine and Richard Frazier of Friends of Sierra Leone (FOSL), and was also supported by Schools For Salone (SFS). Drs. Frazier (both Sierra-Leonean Peace Corp volunteers from 70’s) had found that school teachers of the area felt paralyzed by the lack of available educational materials. The goal of the workshop was to show them that they did not have to sit idly by, waiting for funding and materials, but could instead reach out to their community, find people of particular skills, learn from them, and make their own book! To show them that this was possible, that is exactly what they did during their week long training.

The 73 teachers were split into groups. Each group decided what they wanted to write a book on, what education level they were targeting, spent a couple of days researching the topic (going to meet and speak with the local clay-pot makers or the blacksmith etc…) and then wrote up what they learned. This exercise gave them a sense of empowerment and showed them that there was already a wealth of knowledge within their communities.

Kid and Katie M reading book on malaria, made by teachers at Bo FoSL Teacher Training 5At the end of the week there were 15 finished books with the following subjects:

  • Common Diseases that Affect Children
  • The Unprotected Water Well
  • The Making of Gari
  • The Buying and Selling of Agricultural Products
  • Baby Growth Food
  • Garbadge Collection in Bo City
  • Malaria is a Dangerous Disease
  • Science and Indigenous Technology: Charcoal Production
  • Pa Kanu Needs to Support his Children: Aluminum Pot Making
  • Making Gara Cloths
  • Pa Ngoka the Distiller Need Money to Pay School Fees
  • Joe’s Journey
  • Teenage Pregnancy in School
  • Blacksmiths Workshop

Our team was so impressed with the final results we wanted copies for our pupils. Fortunately, the facilitators of the workshop had scanned each book and made electronic copies as well. So, we bought a CD of the books (in the form of a donation to FOSL). We are planning on putting the information onto our server. That way, all 100 children will have access to these wonderful books!

Although we felt slightly awkward presenting our technologically advanced computers at a workshop that was targeting the feeling of paralysis felt by teachers who don’t have adequate school supplies, Drs. Frazier were able to eloquently connect the work that we were doing with the work that the teachers were doing in the workshop. They also used our project as an example of the benefits and potentials of grant writing. Their words were very inspirational and we were very happy to have participated in such a great event.

If you would like more information on FOSL, please visit their website at: http://www.fosalone.org

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