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Blog category: Global Education
16th Sep 2015
Written by Muna
It is important to help as much as possible during the refugee crisis. Raising awareness, donating money, certain items and even your time could make things better for the countless refugees coming to Europe. Teachers – you can contribute as well by educating students for who things might seem complicated or confusing. For example, do children really know what a refugee camp is? Where are they? Who builds them? What is life like for the people living there? We have found interesting resources for teachers to use as school resources which could bring up clearance about refugees- mainly on camps.
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Home Across Lands is an award-winning feature documentary that explores the refugee experience through stories of several refugees from Eritrea resettling in the United States. The viewer gets a glimpse of how people live in refugee camps and some of the struggles they face. The documentary shows in depth that refugee camps aren’t the end station of many refugees’ lives. Many people feel caged and have nothing to do other than wait to see what the next day holds.
Shimelba Refugee Camp can’t offer many activities to civilians inside – life is stale and ‘on-hold’. We recommend that teachers and tutors show this documentary to pupils to start exploring questions about refugee camps, their purpose, their flaws and the people who live within them. It is a term that students have probably heard, especially in light of recent events, but may not know much more than the name. Go to Home Across Lands on Vimeo to see the trailer. If the movie is too long to show in class, the trailer could be just as useful. We also came up with a few questions that could help get you started:
- Why would someone leave a refugee camp near their home country and risk the dangerous journey to Europe?
- What are the motivations of people living in refugee camps?
- Do you think it’s easy to get a job and earn money when living in a refugee camp? If not, why not?
- Do you think children will receive access to a quality education in camps like Shimelba?
- Optional: In the full film, we see families resettling in America. What challenges do you think the Kunama will face while adjusting to their new lives and environment?
- How would you feel to live in a refugee camp?
- If you had to leave your home, what would you miss the most?
If the students have access to computers, Refugee Republic would be a good website for them to visit.
It is an amazingly interactive resource that lets you explore life in Domiz Camp, a Syrian refugee camp in northern Iraq, home to around 64,000 predominantly Kurdish Syrian refugees. The website has a very detailed map and shows many routes on that map. Every route contains lots of photos, sound recordings and life stories of the refugees living there. Refugee Republic was a project set-up by a Dutch daily morning paper, named de Volkskrant. The web-documentary has won many prizes for their way of combining storytelling with visual work.
If you more interested in other refugee related topics, visit this article from Global Dimension. We also recommend to explore their website for more (global) resources and to bring the world in to your classroom.
3rd Sep 2015
Written by Muna
Bringing up Britain, a radio show on BBC 4, had a segment yesterday about children’s IQ. The big question was “is possible to boost their IQ?” However, one main theme emerged during the radio show: do not put too much pressure your child to achieve academically well. Marielle Frostrup, the show’s presenter, was joined by Dr Stuart Richie, Postdoctoral Fellow in Cognitive Ageing at the University of Edinburgh; writer and consultant Sue Palmer; Dr Sophie von Stumm, Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths and Director of their Hungry Mind Lab; and Hilary Wilce, writer.Click to expand
The programme started by asking the guests to define intelligence in its simple form. Dr Richie sees intelligence as the general learning capacity people have. Dr. von Stumm’s explanation isn’t that far off from Dr Stuart’s. According to her, intelligence equals the adaptability of the brain and ability to adapt to of changes in the environmental and elsewhere. Intelligence isn’t just academic, but this is an important element of it. Through play, for example, children learn complex skills like social regulations, leadership and teamwork. However, some parents do directly link intelligence with school performance to the exclusion of other indicators. For a kid, one of their main environments is school and we find it easier to look at school ability rather than other, perhaps more difficult to quantify, measures. School is also not always a positive environment and some children may thrive in other circumstances than academic education.
The show goes deeper into this topic when Mariella and her guests debate the role of parenting on intelligence. Examples such as exercise and sleep show how important these non-education related factors are. Then there are the more controversial and underexamined parenting interventions: breastfeeding, flashcards, violin lessons and superfoods – can these really make children more intelligent?
There isn’t an easy answer. But one clear piece of guidance emerges from the discussion: avoid forcing or over-pressuring children with extra school work, stifling them with after-hours tuition, or giving them supplements in a vain attempt to boost IQ.
The radio show was focused at intelligence but looked at how parents should avoid behaving. Dr Sophia von Stumm said earlier about how the main environment for children is school. In Ethiopia that is the case but they challenge different things. Such as under-educated teachers and poor quality educational environment – classrooms, books, resources etc. Some children don’t even go to school. They feel the need to drop out of school to support family income needs or girls are being pressured to not attend school due of prejudice, hygiene issues or family affairs. Poor quality educational environment – classrooms, books, resources etc.
The show made us think about The Good Child Report the Children’s Society posted. The Good Child Report stated that 84% of children in Ethiopia ‘totally’ like going to school. Only 26% of children in the UK feel the same way. All the consequences the radio show suggested stifled children are borne out in the Good Child Report. 13% of children in England are unhappy with their body; nearly a quarter are unhappy with their self-confidence. It’s unnecessary to pile more pressure upon children already in a results-driven learning environment, and who also may be insecure about their appearance and lacking in self-confidence. Children have the capacity to teach themselves and should learn from their mistakes. A combination of a healthy diet, plenty of exercise and the right amount of support from their parents should be enough.
If you want to hear the radio show go to the Binging up Britain website:http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0680g5x. If you want to read more about the Good Child Report then go visit http://goodchildhood2015.childrenssociety.org.uk/.
6th Jul 2015
Written by Cecilia
For Muslims Ethiopia has historically been the land of freedom from persecution and emancipation from fear.
Ethiopia is considered “the heaven of the first migration or Hijra”. In 622 CE, some of the Prophet Muhammad’s followers, given the persecution they were subjected to in the city of Mecca, undertook their migration or journey to Ethiopia, where, there was a King who “did not wrong anyone”. Ethiopia was known as a land where its King Negus – or Al-Najashi – was a person in whose hands religious rights were respected and whose land was ruled with justice. The migration to Ethiopia that has laid down the foundations on which Islam was built, was the first migration in the history of Islam. Ethiopia is therefore a land that means freedom of expression and protection.Click to expand
Today Islam in Ethiopia is the second most widely practiced religion, after Orthodox Christianity. It is possible to count over 25 Million Muslims in Ethiopia – around 34% of the population. Ethiopia is also home to Harar. It is regarded as the fourth Holy city of Islam and is home to 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, as well as 102 shrines. UNESCO designated it’s old walled city – Harar Jugol – as a World Hertiage Site in 2006.
In the first half of the 20th Century and especially before 1991 – the date when EPRDF (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front) took power from the Socialist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam – Islam had been subject to oppression and marginalization from the state. But since this period, there is a new climate of religious freedom and tolerance.
Christian-Muslim relations in Ethiopia have generally been considered peaceful, although there have been minor episodes of tensions related to the construction of churches and mosques or public celebration of religious holidays.
On July 17th, Muslims around the world will celebrate the end of Ramadan and the fasting period with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr. It is an occasion to thank Allah for the help and strength that have supported them throughout the previous month of fasting. The festival begins with the first sights of the new moon in the sky. Muslims adherents are invited to wear their best clothes, celebrate meals together and decorating their home, in an atmosphere of charity and forgiveness. During the Eid al-Fitr celebration last year the President of the Addis Ababa Supreme Council of Muslims called for the day to celebrate hope and progress and called on Ethiopian Muslims to participate in peace-building and development activities.
3rd Jul 2015
Written by Cecilia
Within the annual International Literacy Day promoted by UNESCO, literacy has always been celebrated as an empowerment tool, a means to reach the main pillars of sustainable development: economic development, social development and environmental protection. Knowledge is power and education empowers to the extent that it enables people to determine their own destiny. Education is therefore at the basis of individual growth and international development.Click to expand
Literacy is also a basic human right and it is the basic condition to enjoy all the other human rights. Literacy is a gate opener to the world to the extent that it is a tool to promote social and political participation. Apart from the social and political value conferred to literacy, it is important to underline the link between education and health as well. “Healthy learners learn better and better educated learners have the knowledge and skills to be healthy”. Furthermore, education is the social remedy to fight the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Reading and writing are an outlet to people’s, especially children’s imagination. Within a reading culture, people, especially children, are encouraged not only to read, but to enjoy the pleasure of reading. The African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child” could be transformed in “it takes a village to raise a reader”. Everyone in a community plays an important role in the welfare and development of children. Within a reading culture, reading is highly valued and appreciated in the society. A reading culture can be created by improving a reading environment in and out of school. “A socio-cultural perspective posits that all learning and literacy development occurs within social and cultural context”. Libraries are a cultural institution and play a critical role in shaping attitudes towards and practices of reading. It is important to re-think what it means to read for pleasure and to re-assess what counts as reading in today’s world..
With all this in mind, we’re really pleased to report to you the results of the second year of our Literacy & Libraries programme. Working in partnership with The Waterloo Foundation, Jolly Phonics, and our sponsors and supporters, 46 schools took part and received:
1- Phonics trainings
2- Librarian training and library improvement grant
3- Weak readers’ tutorial scheme
4- Reading bee competitions and reading clubs
5- Volunteers support
The Library and Literacy programme aims at making libraries attractive to students and transforming libraries from spaces to store books into hubs for reading. Volunteers from the UK and Jolly Phonics provided training in English phonetics and reading, participatory methods and use of resources. Librarians and directors have been trained with practical advises on how to manage the library and engage students. With a focus on extra-curricular programmes, such as reading bee and competitions and school clubs for weak readers, children have been motivated not just to read but to read for pleasure.
And the impact? Libraries and Literacy students improved their average score from 17% to 37% at the end of the year (where 100% would be expected for a student of the same grade who was a native English speaker). Students doubled their original performance and adding 14% to the improvement seen in control schools.
A record number of schools achieved gold and silver library awards in 2014-15. This led to a direct increase in the number of students using the library and the number of books lent to students. Above and beyond the data, case studies of individual teachers and students illuminate the opportunities offered through participation:
We’re so pleased to hear stories like this – and Mekdes is far from alone! We estimate that 2410 students are now attending their school library every week – an increase from before the project of approximately 677%!
We want to see the project continue for a Third year – expanding the project to more rural schools, developing the skills and knowledge of teachers and librarians at the schools already involved and involve many, many more students. Watch this space!
12th Jun 2015
Written by Cecilia
The World Day against Child Labour was established by the UN in 2002 to raise awareness and encourage actions about a current global issue: more than 168 million children between the age of 5 and 17 are involved in child labour. What are the causes and the consequences of this sad state of affairs?
There are many factors that create the conditions necessary for child labour to become a major issue. The link between child labour and poverty is clear. Child labour is related to the failure to ensure that all children are attending school. Additionally, it is related to the lack of social protection of the potential child labour force. Another major factor is the economic necessity that forces many children and their families to rely on the labour and income their children can generate.Click to expand
What is the link between child labour and education?
Education plays a key role and this is the reason why The World Day against Child Labour 2015 focuses on the importance of quality education as the key element in tackling child labour issues. Today is an opportunity to reflect on the failure of the Millennium Development Goal to adequately challenge the underlying causes of child labour. Education – and its role in the battle against child labour – is a driver of social and economic development: it requires attention and investment!
Within this framework many factors influence each others: lack of education is one of the preconditions that will drive a child towards child labour and, inverting this, child labour burdens can prevent children from accessing education. These two factors are related to a third one: child labour potentially leads to young people’s unemployment later in life. While 168 million of children are involved in child labour, 75 million of young people aged 15-24 are unemployed. As the International Labour Organisation puts it:
“Lack of schooling results in missing educational qualifications and higher skills thus perpetuating their life in poverty.”
Link Ethiopia believes education changes lives and quality education drives social and economic development. Link Ethiopia reflects on the following question: Why Education?.
An ILO report from 2001 argues that poverty and its related issues are the principal causes that lead to child labour in Ethiopia. Children are required to work in order to supply family income. Furthermore, children are paid lower wages and do not demand workers’ rights. Another crucial cause of child labour is related to educational problems, such as distance from school, poor quality of education, lack of schooling material and over-crowding. We are already playing an important role in the march towards better education in Ethiopia and, therefore, towards an Ethiopia free from child labour.
One key way in which you could work with us to achieve this is joining Link Ethiopia’s Child Sponsorship programme, which works to:
- Tackle overcrowding by helping to fund classroom construction.
- Improves quality of education by funding teacher training – e.g. phonics training.
- Provides the resources – books, pens, uniform, shoes etc. – for children from particularly impoverished families, to reduce the financial burden of education placed on them, and reducing the likelihood that that child’s labour is then needed.
- Supports students with additional tuition and training – to better aid them to achieve their potential.
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5th Jun 2015
Written by Cecilia
“Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with care.” Care for the earth, became an agent for change!
The main message of this year’s World Environment Day 2015 is improving people’s lives without increasing environmental degradation and without compromising the resource needs of future generations. This message fits in the broader conception according to which damaging and unreasonably exploiting our shared planet is not a necessary condition for human prosperity. Today is an occasion to increase people’s awareness about our shared planet’s condition and to encourage positive action around the world – from London to Gondar and beyond!Click to expand
The theme of this year is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with care”. World Environment Day is an occasion to reflect on the reality we live in: many of the earth’s ecosystems have reached a critical point of depletion, with people consuming more than our planet can sustainably provide. The well-being of humanity – especially of future generations – is at risk. Today is a call for action: everyone can work together to safeguard the planet. Today, the world’s population should be encouraged to take an action and learn to respect the planet’s resource limits, because this is the only way to ensure our and future generation’s well-being, in a world where all “our dreams can be realised”.
Link Ethiopia actively participates in this global call for positive environmental action. We have a collection of school resources dedicated to learning about climate change and the environment. The topics are related to the investigation of the realities of climate change with a special focus on Ethiopia; the exploration of the impact of climate change on Ethiopia and what we can do to help stop it; and an activity to exchange learning and work about your school’s local environment with a partner school in Ethiopia. You can find the resources for these at the following links. And if you don’t already have a Link partner in Ethiopia, you can find out more here.
We also want to take this opportunity to highlight one of our projects which embodies the message of World Environment Day. Our solar panel-powered IT room in the Tokuma School in Southern Ethiopia achieved the twofold aim of improving the IT facilities at a remote, rural school as well as promoting a better understanding of sustainable development and making use of a sustainable source of energy! Solar panel electricity systems capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into electricity and can be used to run household appliances and lighting. For Tokuma Primary School, where there is no connection to the Ethiopian electricity grid it means a reliable source of electricity (albeit on a small-scale) and helps reduce the global carbon footprint! This project was in partnership with BFSS (The British Foreign School Society), and has fostered an ongoing relationship between Link Ethiopia and the community in Tokuma.
The school now has access to green, clean, sustainable energy and which lets their students (and teachers) learn with and use the laptop computers which we also donated as part of the project. The school was also connected to the internet for the first time – huge advantadge in today’s increasingly networked world. The solar panel project has met few important issues in one go: living sustainably, providing the school with laptops that will enhance children creativity and foster Tokuma children’s communication possibilities by connecting them with the rest of the world. If that’s not sustainable development, I don’t know what is!
29th May 2015
Written by Cecilia
Link Ethiopia has just finished a project of construction of a brand new library building for Arbatu Ensasa School in Gondar, Northern Ethiopia.
The new library replaced the small, ill-equipped older facility at the school, which was very inadequate for keeping up with the demand of the schools and students, and failed to match the school’s growing ambitions for improving the reading and learning ability of their student body.Click to expand
The construction of this library, as well as other important projects, has been possible thanks to the supporters of the Link Ethiopia Child Sponsorship Programme. This programme is not only supporting one child’s education; it is helping to formulate a stronger foundation for a whole school. To help foster a stronger, more aware and more inquisitive group of young people that one day will take active part in the community and in the broader national and global system.
This new library also fits in the broader project focus we currently have at Link Ethiopia with our Literacy and Library project, in partnership with the Waterloo Foundation. You can read more about this project here.
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