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Blog category: Inclusive education
1st Dec 2015
Written by Muna
World AIDS Day takes place on December 1st. It’s a day to highlight the continuing spread of HIV and the need to fight discrimination, social stigma and support sufferers of HIV. At the same time we must not forget to acknowledge the progress that has been made and how close the world is to seeing an end to this viral disease. On this day many events take place around the world and people are invited to wear a red ribbon in solidarity.Click to expand
When HIV first emerged into the public eye in the 1980s, there was very little information available about the disease, how it was contracted and methods of treatment. There was no clarification made between the difference of HIV and AIDS. Forty-five years on, we know much more. HIV remains one of the worst global epidemics the world has endured, but many improvements in treatment have been made, such as anti-retroviral treatment.
Combating the disease was part of the Millennium Development Goals set up by the UN. It’s bulleted as Goal number six- ‘To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases’. According to the EFA Global Monitoring Reports, 83 countries have halted or reversed their epidemics, including countries with major epidemics such as India, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. So in many places, MDG6 was achieved many months ahead of schedule.
We can celebrate this success today, but we can’t forget that the fight continues.
“Fifteen years ago there was a conspiracy of silence. AIDS was a disease of the “others” and treatment was for the rich and not for the poor,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS.
“We proved them wrong, and today we have 15 million people on treatment—15 million success stories.”
Many more success stories can be told in the future. Prevention is key, and education is a powerful tool to be used for this. Raising awareness has prevented many people in contracting HIV. Not only educating adults and children about prevention and contraception, but also about recognizing symptoms and to get tested. Finally, education helps make us all more compassionate, sympathetic and understanding of our compatriots who have suffered through this disease.
For example, educated mothers are more likely to seek testing during pregnancy and to know that HIV can be transmitted by breastfeeding. They are also more likely to know that the mother-to-child transmission can be reduced by taking anti-retroviral drugs during pregnancy; only 27% of women with no education in Malawi were aware of this, compared with 60% of women with secondary education or higher, according to EFAGMR.
EFA Global Monitoring Reports has also stated that young people who have stayed in school longer are more aware of HIV and AIDS. Therefore ensuring all children have access to school is essential. They are more inclined to take protective measures such as using condoms, getting tested and discussing AIDS with their partners. Schooling reduces the risk of HIV infection – but needs to play a bigger part in communicating knowledge about HIV and AIDS.
Since 1996 Link Ethiopia has striven to provide children in Ethiopia with better school materials and improved the quality of education in many Ethiopian schools. We have gathered school resources about HIV/AIDS and encourage teachers and tutors to use these school resources on this special day to educate children about the viral disease. Click on the links below or visit www.linkethiopia.org/school-resources for more school resources.
Hand-out 1: Current state of AIDS
Hand-out 2: Article Jigsaw
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.
Click to expand
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 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
By Hannah Dillon and Tefera Teklu
Link Ethiopia’s partnership with World Challenge has cemented with another fruitful year that saw a flurry of construction and painting activities. Cheers to every group of young people who did their part in making sure that access to better education in Ethiopia is fair to all, especially to girls and pupils with disabilities. We hope that you will come back some day to see the changes that have come through your invaluable support.
And here is a summary of what has been done in the summer of 2014:
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!
2nd Feb 2015
by Hannah Dillon
What strikes Ethiopians most when they visit London? The answer is not what you might expect. In fact, many are surprised to see that everyone is reading. On the tube, in the park, in cafés… as Londoners we take this fact for granted. Many educated Ethiopians are concerned about the lack of reading culture in the country. However, there are only few who are actively doing something about it.
On Friday, we had the privilege of meeting Ephrem, a graduate of Gondar University who has dedicated his time and his own money to creating an outdoor library for the people of Gondar.Click to expand
With the support of friends and acquaintances – among them a lawyer and a newspaper editor – Ephrem has set up Nisir (eagle in Amharic), an organisation for social change. He has acquired the use of a small park in central Gondar for his library, and thanks to the canopy of trees it is a shady area in which benches are provided for reading. There are also ladies selling coffee and there are plans to provide Ethiopian food and even WiFi to encourage more people to visit.
The organisation is the talk of the town because not only have they found a practical solution to a social problem, they are also funding the venture from their own pockets and from local benefactors. Link Ethiopia was asked to donate English language books for the collection, which we did so gladly.
The donation was of 30 works of English and American literature, 10 non-fiction books and 15 popular science magazines. We are hoping to continue to support this venture with donations and to find different ways of working together in the future.
As for Ephrem, he has big ambitions for the project. He plans to expand it in the near future, adding sites close to the University and in nearby Azezo. In turn, this would mean creating jobs for new librarians and widening access to books across the town. It will be exciting to witness the expansion and the ways in which it will create more spaces for casual reading.
22nd Aug 2014
Written by Elsa
“Three NGO’s took part in this quarter’s North Gondar Government-Non Governmental Organisation Forum (GO-NGO Forum). They were World Vision, Link Ethiopia and IPAS. After everyone had presented their reports on Monday 18th August 2014, we visited three of the World vision projects in Dembia district of the Gondar region. These visits provided a valuable insight into the challenges and hardships faced in these communities, and some of the solutions being explored by World Vision.
Also visited was one of the Link Ethiopia’s flagship projects: St George’s School in Azezo. All the visitors expressed how impressed they were with the school and other Link Ethiopia projects which they had observed.”