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Blog category: Science and technology

Link Ethiopia donates computers

By Tefera Teklu (Photos by Lauren L. Elliott)

Link Ethiopia donated used computers to three Technical & Vocational Education & Training Colleges that are found in Maksegnit, Kola Diba and Addis Zemen near Gondar. The colleges received 13 computers each.

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Chris delivering the computers

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Christopher Grant, Director of Link Ethiopia said

I am delighted that Link Ethiopia is able to support your college with these resources and I am sure you will be able to make effective and valuable use of them to benefit your students.

The regional Manager, Elsa Kebede, briefed the representatives about Link Ethiopia’s programmes and about the computers.

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Getting the computers ready and loading them for the journey to their new homes!

The officials, IT teachers and store managers who were present expressed their deepest gratitude and added that their students didn’t have access to such kinds of resources to tinker with to gain practical lessons.

Posted in 2015, Projects, Science and technology, Uncategorized |

Sustainable development? World Environment Day 2015.

Written by Cecilia

“Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with care.” Care for the earth, became an agent for change!

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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!

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Growing tef – a sustainable ‘supercrop’! A high quality, high yield cereal, tef is the stable food crop in Ethiopia, and is primarily used to make injera.

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”.

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Working with computers for the first time! Almost none of the students at Tokuma had ever used a computer – most had never even seen one before.

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.

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Tokuma Primary School’s IT Centre solar panels in action!

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.

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The IT centre in action.

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!

Posted in 2015, Classrooms and furniture, Global Education, Inclusive education, Projects, Science and technology |

Our 2013/2014 Annual Report

Written by Isabel

We have just published our Annual Report for 2013/2014 which is available to read here (link). We would like to thank you all for your support over the past year, and hope you continue on the journey with us! Below is a summary of what we have achieved with your help, and highlight of some of the work we’ve done over the past year. All of this, and more, is explored in more detail inside the report.

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Why Education?

Our work is completely focussed on changing lives through education. Whilst the impacts of schooling are experienced on an individual level, its benefits are multiplied to include families, communities and wider society. Among the benefits are an increased earning potential, a reduction in the infant mortality rate and an increase in average GDP by 0.37%.

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Further than ensuring education becomes universal, we work with our link schools to provide a quality education. To ensure this, we have 5 main targets on which we focus:

• Infrastructure
• Teaching Quality
• Learning Resources
• Inclusion (of all social groups)
• Community Support

Below are some examples of the projects we have been involved in during the 2013-2014 period, each of which reflect one or more of our targets.

St. George’s School Project

‘Having worked with schools elsewhere in Ethiopia, I could see the huge contribution that St. Georges is making to improve education’
– Hannah, Teacher and LE Volunteer

Link Ethiopia supported the establishment of the St George’s School project, an initiative set up by the Northwood School Group here in the UK. St George’s, a not-for-profit non-government school, provides learning opportunities for a large intake of orphans and disadvantaged children from the local area.

One of the first classes at the new St. George’s School enjoys learning in this colourful and stimulating environment.

One of the first classes at the new St. George’s School enjoys learning in this colourful and stimulating environment.

By March 2014, the core buildings were completed and already in use. The aim is for the project to continue to expand in order to provide schooling until Grade 12. A very big thank you to Broomwood Hall and the Northwood School Group for your vision and direction so far!

Case study: Dudmegn School, Gondar

In February 2014, we installed a water station of 24 new taps at Dudmegn School. Before the installation, the school was managing with just two functional taps for a population of over 2000 students. The wider availability of water in the school has resulted in a higher attendance rate among students. We are hugely thankful for the purchases made from our Gift Ethiopia shop, shop.linkethiopia.org, and also for contributions made by the Mandala Trust, in addition to the supporters of our gift scheme.

Case study: Sincil School, Lincolnshire

At Sincil

The link between Sincil Sports College and Times Choice Academy in Bishoftu has been especially fruitful, and the partnership provided an opportunity for two students, Kyle and Ryan, to take part in the British Council funded ‘Connecting Classrooms’ exchange programme. This was a great opportunity for the boys to visit Times Choice Academy, which they really enjoyed! We are also pleased to say that Sincil were awarded funding for a second ‘Connecting Classrooms’ trip. Well done and thank you to both schools for maintaining a strong and successful partnership.

Sponsorship case study: Tejitu

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Tejitu, an 18 year old young woman from Bishoftu, has been sponsored by Link Ethiopia for approximately 5 years. Through our School Links, Volunteering and other project programmes, she has been able to gain confidence in her English language skills, engaged in global learning with students at her link school in the UK. She also helped to coordinate a ‘World Challenge’ trip at her own school, which helped her to further develop her global outlook and grow in confidence. We are extremely proud of her achievements and we look forward to seeing her fulfil her ambition of studying Biology at university.

Teaching Quality

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Investing in quality teachers is central to providing a quality education. During the 2013-2014 year, we were able to train grade 1 and grade 2 teachers in the phonics method. We have observed fantastic results so far, among them a 77% increase in the number of students using the library and a 65% increase in test scores for students of the trained teachers.

You can flip through the report below (click in the middle to view fullscreen). Enjoy!

Click here to see the full report and hear about the above achievements in detail, as well as the results of our work on global awareness, learning resources, and inclusion. Once again, we want to thank our link schools for your dedication, fundraising and ideas – none of the above would be possible without your contributions. We look forward to future engagements and successes!

Posted in 2013, 2014, 2015, Child sponsorship, Classrooms and furniture, Ethiopian news, Fundraising, Gender, Global Education, Inclusive education, Libraries, books and literacy, Other news, Project expeditions, Projects, School links, Science and technology, Sports, Tours, Uncategorized, Volunteering, Water and sanitation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do we have a Right to Education?

Written by Laurence

It might seem like a simple question with an obvious answer; yes.

But across the world it’s not necessarily that simple. Children surely have the right to education. But do adults? What kind of education are children and young people entitled to? Should we have to pay for education, and if so, does education still exist as a fundamental right? Or is it now a commodity like gold, corn, property or oil?

UNESCO - Out of school children

Following the intro animation you can explore the situation in Ethiopia by going to the right-hand bar.

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Even if we all agree that we, or at least children, have a right to education, does that mean that all children will now have that education within their grasp? Will governments and institutions rise up and sever the chains holding back girls, rural children, poor children and others? Unfortunately, when you look around the world today, even with the Right to Education enshrined under Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 58 million children around the world are still out of school.

The UNESCO graphic, which you can access via the image above, explores some of the reasons why children in a variety of circumstances struggle to access education:

  • Lack of access in rural areas,
  • More than half of boys aged 7-14 work,
  • Many girls work or undertake chores at home,
  • Poverty keeps three-times as many poor children out of school than their richer counterparts.

There is such a variety of challenges facing children in a country like Ethiopia that sometimes you marvel even at the luckier children who do have access to education – the boys who work part-time to help support their family; the girls who spend so much time looking after young siblings, cooking and cleaning; the children who walk miles every day just to get to school.

Link Ethiopia began with the question ‘why education?’ What is so important about education, why does it matter, and what changes does it bring to the lives of young people? Perhaps this seems like another obvious question with a clear answer. But in order for governments, institutions and people to change – to see that 58 million children out of school across the world is a disgrace – we sometimes have to bluntly show why education is so vital.

7MajorImpacts-01_SMALL The impacts of education on an individual’s – and a country’s – future can be considerable. © Link Ethiopia

The above graphic attempts to do that. Things are always more complex than graphics, charts and reports can show. And many of the benefits of education are intangible and can’t easily be mapped, recorded, or given a financial value. But here are some basic facts that highlight just how important education is – for health, wealth, happiness and much more besides. And I don’t think anyone can argue with that.

Posted in 2015, Child sponsorship, Classrooms and furniture, Fundraising, Gender, Global Education, Inclusive education, Libraries, books and literacy, Other news, Project expeditions, Projects, School links, Science and technology, Sports, Tours, Uncategorized, Volunteering, Water and sanitation |

Rushmere Hall Primary School visit partners Times Choice Academy

Written by Tsegaye Alemneh

Michelle and Hannah are teachers from Rushmere Hall Primary School. They had the opportunity to visit their partner school, Times Choice Academy, for the second time last week.

On their first day visiting their Link Partners, the Link Club students welcomed them by playing different children’s games and singing songs. They took part in the coffee ceremony and were served with traditional Ethiopian coffee.

Welcome ceremony

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One of their main focuses was working with the Link Club students to create a World War One poppy art project. This was to commemorate the one hundred year anniversary of First World War, and to remember the fallen.

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The Link Club students created 300 poppies using recycled plastic bottles; cutting them to make the flower and painting them red. Plastic was then cut into circles and painted black and attached to the middle of the red plastic flowers. Finally these poppies were attached to the garden fence.

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Besides remembering the military fatalities, the poppies have given beauty for the garden, and gave the Ethiopian students the opportunity to work with new tools, such as glue guns, and learn new skills.

Michelle & Hannah also went into a range of classes across the school and taught the students Football Remembers, using the 1914 Educational pack produced in partnership with the FA Premier League.

It wasn’t all work! The Rushmere Hall Primary teachers were afforded the opportunity of observing the preparation of the Ethiopian staple bread called ‘Injera’. It is made with teff flour. They were also given an opportunity to make Injera by themselves which was a unique experience for them.

Injera

During their final day, they had a discussion with the new Headteacher Ato Zenebe, the School Manager Ato Birhanu and other staff about future collaborative projects.

One of their future projects is the visit of two staff members and two Link Club students from TCA to Rushmere Hall Primary School at the end of January 2015.

The British Council ‘Connecting Classrooms’ grant is expected to cover the visit expenses of the two staff members, excluding accommodation and meal costs, which is going to be accommodated by the UK teachers. What is interesting is that both partner schools have sponsored one Link Club student from TCA to visit Rushmere Hall Primary School along with the two staff members.

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Both schools have discussed and selected a topic for an exchange piece of work; ‘Our School Trips’. This project includes taking photos of different students’ visits in surrounding areas to send to their partner schools to show them what they have experienced.

Farewell

To top off a fantastic visit, Rushmere Hall also donated 3 digital hand-held video cameras (that can take still photos as well as video) and 3 digital cameras to TCA. An aim for the TCA students with these cameras is to learn about photography and send different photos and videos to the UK. In addition, TCA has received a 42 inch plasma screen for teaching and learning. This is a new and exciting way for staff to teach and students to learn.

Hannah had this to say about the visit:

“Our second visit exceeded all expectation, it has been a truly inspirational week. Both of us were overwhelmed and reminded of the joy of learning that the children have and the ambition of the teachers and children too. During the week, all the teachers at Times Choice were incredibly flexible and allowed us to teach ‘our’ way. Although we were a little nervous about how well the children would relate to the football remembers project, there was no need to be and we left feeling confident that teachers and children had developed their knowledge on English culture and language.

Times Choice Academy and Rushmere Hall Primary School have lots of plans for the future. These include: a school visit project, festivals project and an investigation into interactive Literacy and Numeracy CDs. The director has even asked for our help in redesigning their English curriculum.”

Posted in 2014, School links, Science and technology |

Two days in Tokuma

Written by Rory Dillon

I think Tokuma school is located in one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. As we chugged up the hill in our Toyota 4X4 (which our driver swore was less than ten years old but looked like it was older than me) from Ambo to Dadagelan, the horizon opened up in an undulating patchwork of green: 360 degrees of hills dotted with accacia trees and farmsteads as far as I could see. There was something about this view which was quintessentially Ethiopian; it is what I see in my mind’s eye when I think of Ethiopia, and simultaneously an image quite far from what I would have conjured before I visited the country myself.

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Our mission was to deliver laptops, printers and solar panels to Tokuma school. I use my computer everyday at work and at home and I rarely give it a second thought – what a pain in the bum it is when for one reason or another when you can’t access the worldwide web at the touch of a button. And, if you have visited a primary school in the UK recently you will see how technology is used to enhance lessons with videos and music, to allow students to be creative and to learn IT skills that are a requirement in later life.

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Our aim was to open up this world to the village of Dadagelan by providing a solar panel powered IT room. With the support of a Girmaye Deye, who initiated the project, and our donors the British Foreign Schools Society, Link was able to help school to connect with the rest of the world through the internet. When I did a straw poll of one class of 26, none had used a computer before and only 12 had ever seen one.

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After two years of hard work, we finally arrived at Tokuma to deliver the equipment, set it up and give some basic IT training. I spent two days at the school and it was great for me to see the project first hand instead of as a line on a spreadsheet. In my two days, I was able to pitch in and help assemble the new tables and chairs, to set up the new laptops and to help Haile showing the teachers and students the basics of how to use and care for the computers. I was also able to see the equipment being blessed by the parents and share doro wat (spicy chicken stew) and bhuna (coffee) with them. It will be interesting to stay in contact with Tokuma and see how the school and the children use the computers and whether they experience any problems maintaining the equipment.

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The village school is full of engaged students and active parents and staff who have made a success of a school that would fail without their commitment. However, the school cannot draw on large contributions from parents to fund new equipment and infrastructure. It also finds that it is expensive to transport equipment from outside; the village is only accessible by a steep dirt road which is impassible in the rainy season (on the second day of our visit, Haile, with our vehicle nowhere to be seen and the skies threatening rain, was worried that we would have to stay the night in the school, sleeping under the new tables!). One of the major challenges of this project has been the logistics of getting to the site, with project visits costing in vehicle rental, staff subsistence and time. For all NGOs the hardest schools to reach are those most in need (so, if anyone has a spare 4×4 vehicle they would like to donate it would be much appreciated).

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Ciao Ambo. Hopefully, I will be back again to see all of you before I return to the UK.

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Posted in 2014, By project type, By topic, By year, Classrooms and furniture, Projects, Science and technology |

Link Ethiopia presentation in North Gondar GO-NGO forum.

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.

Link Ethiopia presentation

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.”

Posted in 2014, Classrooms and furniture, Ethiopian news, Gender, Inclusive education, Libraries, books and literacy, Other news, Projects, Science and technology, Sports, Uncategorized, Water and sanitation |

Corvallis-Gondar Sister Cities Association win Best Overall Program award!

The work of the Corvallis-Gondar Sister Cities Association (C-GSCA) to develop sustainable programs and promote cultural awareness, respect, and understanding has been recognised by Sister Cities International, who have awarded them the ‘Best Overall Program’ award in their annual awards recognitions.

Corvallis-Gondar

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Specific projects in 2013, for which the C-GSCA and Link Ethiopia were praised, included:

  • improving the quality of student learning by promoting sound teaching practices in Gondar schools, through training and professional development,
  • establishing computer access and literacy, and
  • creating a culture of reading, maths and science proficiency.

You can read the full press release regarding the award over on the Sister Cities International site.

This brilliant work was made possible by the fundraising and management efforts of the C-GSCA, all the way in Oregon, USA! They work hand-in-hand with local NGOs like Link Ethiopia to implement their projects and have developed a real connection and link between communities and cultures – just the sort of relationship which we like to help foster.

Tsadiku Yohannes Elementary in Gondar was chosen as the C-GSCAs ‘Model School’ and together they have been able to make fantastic strides in improving the quality of teacher training, the school’s educational environment and improving access to computer and literacy facilities.

We look forward to continuing to work with them this year and beyond, and congratulations again for the award!

Posted in 2013, 2014, Fundraising, Libraries, books and literacy, Projects, Science and technology |

Recycling at Tannery Drift School – June 2014

Written by Lyn Simons from Tannery Drift School

Everyone at Tannery Drift School had a break from normal lessons recently to actively engage in a Science Week focused on ‘Change’. Workshops, demonstrations and experiments were undertaken with a large focus on recycling, and with special reference to Ethiopia and Global Learning.
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Initially we planned to dedicate one day of the week to our Link with Ethiopia and Selam Elementary, but we found that the resources provided were so thought-provoking that they impacted on the whole week’s curriculum. With the kind help of Laurence from Link Ethiopia we were able to see a number of videos that showed us how to value resources and find other uses for many items we would normally throw away.

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Some of the activities our school got involved in:

  • It is 30 years since the dreadful famine in Ethiopia that made us aware of the problems there. It was good to follow some of the latest news on the significant changes that have taken place since that time.
  • Posted in 2014, School links, Science and technology, Uncategorized |