Yesterday, November 1st, BADP Sierra Leone Director Daniel Koroma held a town hall meeting with select Bumpeh Academy staff and local community leader Ms Kaimbay. The purpose: providing all parents of Bumpeh Academy Secondary School with up-to-date information about the upcoming school water well project. Mr Koroma’s brief introduction was followed by a speech from Ms Kaimbay, the Director of the Community Center for Empowerment and Transformation (CCET) in Rotifunk. CCET is a close ally of and partner organization for BADP, having provided safe transfer of funds for projects in the past, logistical support for construction, and even allowed BADP to use the Rotifunk community center free of charge to run teacher training workshops in December of 2017. With the water well for Bumpeh Academy expected to begin shortly, both Mr Koroma and Ms Kaimbay talked in length about the project’s timeline and how BADP and the Bumpeh Academy community, with the assistance of CCET, plan on closely monitoring and evaluating the progress of the project over the coming 4-5 months. Constructing a water well is BADP's most immediate project, and the most immediate need for the rapidly growing Bumpeh Academy. Both Bumpeh and the nearby Evangelical Model Primary School are both located a half kilometer outside of Rotifunk and have no current source of fresh water. The combined almost 750 students and staff of both schools either have to walk back into town for water, or to the nearby village of Saima, another half kilometer down the road from
BADP recently wired over funds to hire a local contractor to repair old desks and classroom furniture as well as build new equipment. School security and vandalism has been a problem for all of Bumpeh Academy’s short history, as the lack of proper facilities meant that equipment could not be protected after school hours. However, with recent construction progress, Bumpeh Academy has been able to secure three classrooms, and as such can start investing in improving the furniture needed to make the classrooms fully serviceable learning zones. Our local team agreed on a fair quote and quantity with a local contractor for a set of desks, chairs and benches. By hiring locally and sourcing all of our supplies locally, including timber produced and cut within Bumpeh Chiefdom, BADP is making sure that 100% of the value invested in the project is being pumped back into the local economy. Though purchasing and shipping western-built desks can seem like a good decision, such practices undermine our commitment to empowering local solutions and providing agency over every level of project development. Decisions like hiring a local contractor and insisting on local supplies can seem nominal from an outside perspective, but it is this decision making process, this commitment to local economy that makes the greatest positive change over a long duration, that ensures the greatest chances of long-term sustainability and independence. We are committing to not just working with the Rotifunk community to provide improved circumstances, but to provide opportunity at several different
Yesterday, BADP co-founder and Bumpeh Academy Principal Rashid Conteh passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 44. Rashid was an absolute rock of the Rotifunk community. Respected by everyone throughout the town for his dedication and work ethic, and revered for his efforts in continually improving Bumpeh Academy. At many points in the school’s young life, Rashid was single-handedly responsible for pushing developments forward, his infectious passion and determination propelling projects forward and keeping the school in an upward trajectory. Rashid was a champion of education, and an inspiration to everyone in Rotifunk, a perfect example of overcoming adverse circumstances. Born with a disability that he never used as an excuse, Rashid was driven and bright, leveraging whatever disadvantages he might have had by continually applying to scholarships and higher education designed for those with disabilities. Only one month prior, Rashid successfully defended his doctoral thesis at IPAM University in Public Management in front of a panel of some of Sierra Leone’s pre-eminent public administrators. Though Rashid is no longer with us, his determination will never be forgotten and his past influence will continue to guide Bumpeh Academy, and BADP, as they both move into new phases. You will be missed Rashid.
The final session was about incorporating community and everyday life into school and academics. More specifically, talking about collaboration and cooperation inside and outside of school. Teachers loved the idea of the community partnership. Our facilitator drew a big box on the board, and wrote “school” in the middle. Following on the idea of “it takes a village to raise a child”, the facilitator told the teachers that it wasn’t a school’s job alone to educate youth. He then asked them what other important institutions existed in Rotifunk. People shouted out church, mosque, bank, market, hospital, police station, other schools, etc. The facilitator wrote each and every one in the big box. Next he asked what a community partnership was. Confused looks. Nobody yet knew where he was going with the idea. Finally he asked the teachers what subjects they taught. Economics, religion, agriculture, biology…. Slowly, they grasped what he was introducing. Drawing arrows between each institution and the school, the facilitator explained the value of bringing in guest speakers/instructors/teachers to help illustrate the real-world applications of economics, religion, agriculture, biology, by simply inviting in the banker, imam, trader, doctor, etc. As secondary school teachers, their job is not just to deliver the curriculum, but tie it to the real world, as the students’ age puts an increased focus on developing skills and understanding applications rather than just intake of curriculum. It was a brief but very fruitful session, and full of wide-eyed epiphanies for the teachers. Immediately after the
Today was my favorite training session yet. Rashid did a magnificent job. He delivered the single most engaging and practical training yet in what was his first scheduled session, “Getting Around the Resource Barrier”. BADP is now past halfway in its training series bringing updated education methodology and instantly practical ideas to Rotifunk’s secondary school teachers. Yesterday’s session, the seventh of eleven, was the first for BADP co-founder, Rashid Conteh, entitled “Getting Around the Resource Barrier”. More than any other session in the training series, session seven was designed explicitly to combat the consistent difficulties that come from teaching in a low-resource environment. And not stopping at just combatting the difficulties, but find solutions with anything present to still make lessons as successful and engaging as possible. It’s a very real and common problem for teachers not only in Rotifunk, Sierra Leone or Sub-Saharan Africa, but in any developing region world wide. Rashid Conteh took full ownership of the session and its material, making it likely the most informative and entertaining training yet. The three main techniques discussed in the session were Peer Teaching, Everyday Objects, and Reporter/Reflector, each one designed to be used to make dialogue or conversation or simple objects all useful teaching props and techniques. Peer Teaching is the idea of partnering strong students with weaker ones, whether in a partnership or a group, to better help weak students understand topics, while reinforcing stronger students’ understanding. Everyday Objects is particularly valuable for a place like Bumpeh
We are very excited to announce our newest project, set to begin in less than a month. This project has been in the making for some time, and it seems that all important variables are now aligning. Without further due, we are excited to announce BADP’s first-ever Teacher Training Series. Our scheduled series of seminars and workshops, to happen over the first few weeks of December, are to be delivered to not only Bumpeh Academy Staff, but also shared as an opportunity for other secondary school instructors in the town of Rotifunk. Our goal is to facilitate participation and insight across Rotifunk’s secondary schools and provide some valuable in-service training to a number of teachers and educators. We will be working with a group of experienced foreign and local facilitators to put on this rare project. Over the course of eleven sessions, our facilitators will discuss and share topics including but not limited to; Lesson Planning Techniques, Behavior Management, Instructional Language, and Gender-Equal Education. This plan has long been in development with relevant stakeholders, and will be a empowering moment for capacity building in the town of Rotifunk. The trainings will focus not only on the transmission of material and skills, but also with the focused purpose of training capable local individuals to give their own trainings on relevant and similar subjects in the future. In so doing, BADP is not only looking to provide a singular opportunity for skills building, but also looking to help create a pattern
We are as a team entering the final stages of our preparation for our Teacher Training Series. It’s been a long process of collecting information and sources while developing a series of workshops that are informative, practical, and where necessary, culturally relevant. We’d like to share the outline of one of our eleven modules as an example, and so everyone in the wider BADP community can get a more up-close look at the work that we are set to be doing in Rotifunk over fifteen days in December. We’ve provided below the outline of one of our eleven modules, this one entitled “Designing Clear Lessons and Positive Environments,” scheduled to be conducted by one of our facilitators. A lot of work has gone into the design of each module, and the outline posted below shows the basic structure without going into too much depth of providing examples of activities for the participating teachers, or the bullets and syntax to be discussed behind each individual point. As always, we would greatly appreciate any help that you would be willing to share. We see this as a project of paramount importance and are planning on fairly compensating all local teachers and facilitators that participate. As such, if you are interested in donating to the viability of this project, the suggested donation values are listed as such: - $15 USD/100,000 Leones will cover a single teacher’s participation in all eleven trainings - $20 USD/ 140,000 Leones will cover a single teacher’s food budget
West Africa is one of the wettest regions of the world, with Sierra Leone’s neighbor, Liberia, frequently recording some of the highest urban rainfall totals in its capital city of Monrovia. Sierra Leone is no exception, with average annual rainfall totals in excess of 100 inches.1 By March and April, Sierra Leone’s weather changes, as monsoonal air masses start arriving from the Atlantic Ocean to the west. May is usually the begin of the rainy season, and the arrival of the rainy season also brings inclement weather. The rainy season, which lasts in Sierra Leone until about November, brings extreme variance in weather including torrential downpours and nearly hurricane force winds. As anyone might expect, this can create additional challenges in construction or infrastructure work and unforeseen variables in development. These very conditions have caused problems for Bumpeh Academy at the early onset of rainy season 2017. A strong storm in May tore off new roofing overnight, leaving newly constructed classrooms exposed to powerful storms, and completely unusable as teaching spaces. When the storm hit on May 12th, BADP funds were tied up towards the finishing stages of the school latrines, as such there was little foreign-based capital for the organization to provide the local Rotifunk community. However, the Bumpeh Academy community reacted quickly, with supplies and funding collected from families invested in the school and its development. The result has been a swift and remarkable response to the problem, and to this point a 100% locally resourced solution,
We are excited to share the recent success of Bumpeh Academy and the Rotifunk community with support from the Bumpeh Academy Development Project. We recently finished construction on two bathrooms, each with two sets of latrines. This includes a male & female latrine for student use, as well as male & female latrine for faculty use. This success is a milestone for our collective actions and enthusiasm, and the first structural-achievement with the backing of BADP. In addition to the immediate importance of having proper latrines to improve school hygiene and facilities, the presence of latrines often have a direct impact on school attendance in developing communities. It provides a safe space for students, particularly young women, and a more comfortable and inviting facility for learning. It is a vital step moving forward in Bumpeh Academy’s evolution. Though the project received partial funding and some guidance from the Bumpeh Academy Development Project, the completion of the latrines was first and foremost a locally led initiative, with the majority of funding and project management, as well as all of the labor and time provided by local actors and the wider Bumpeh Academy community. The project’s completion is the first structural success of BADP’s agenda, and a boost of confidence for both BADP and the Rotifunk community for future endeavors. With all structural development projects, completing the construction is only half of success. The next test moving forward will be the long-term maintenance, upkeep and use of the newly finished latrines.