Participation Builds a New School in Grand Gedeh County
February 4, 2008
When Major General Seul Rida approached the Accelerated Learning Program Plus (ALPP) to see about a collaboration in the rebuilding of a school last fall, one school appeared to be most need. Its students were attending classes in a ravaged structure without electricity, running water or lavatories.
Today, the Grand Gedeh community, the school’s PTA, the Liberia Ministry of Education, Creative Associates’ ALPP and Major General Reda, who heads the Ethiopian contingent in the UN Mission in Liberia, can look proudly upon newly inaugurated Ethiopian-Liberian Friendship School as an example of successful team work and community participation.
“Creative taught us how to fish, with this knowledge we have built a school along with the Ethiopians,” said PTA Chairman, Isaac B. Kannah. He noted also that revitalization of school’s PTA by ALPP was a major contributor to the rebuilding of the new school.
ALPP is implemented by Creative with funding by the U.S. Agency for International Development. The project-led training facilitated support of the PTA which ultimately led to a successful community-driven project to rebuild the former ELRZ school, selected in consultation with the Ministry of Education. The community contributed labor and harvested local materials for structural reinforcements.
Students and teachers can now work in an environment that is conducive to learning. The PTA training involved improving effectiveness and promoting a new model of community leadership for youth. In the first year of its implementation, the ALPP project team facilitated the training of 2,183 PTA members in the six counties in which the project operates. The Ethiopian-Liberian Friendship School’s PTA had been found to be consistently participatory in its support of school needs and persistent in its follow-up on student progress.
“I never thought that we as a community could work and achieve this much in less than three months without putting in money,” said 58-year-old Grand Gedeh community member, Jeremiah Barlee, during the dedication of the new school.
Adequate school environments, such as the new school help facilitate ALPP’s goals to provide quality education to those in need. By the time ALPP concludes in 2009, its accelerated learning courses will have reached 54,000 students. In addition to training over 2,000 PTA members and fostering community mobilization, ALPP also provides teacher training, service-learning opportunities to both students and teachers alike, small grants, instructional materials, textbooks and a life-skills curriculum.
ALPP is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented in six Liberian counties by Creative in collaboration with the MOE. ALPP’s primary focus is providing accelerated learning classes to over-aged students 10 to 18, and out-of-school youths aged 15 to 35, to enable them to complete the six-year elementary school curriculum in three years. The project also provides Life Skills training to youths entering the workforce while others are re-integrated into the local school system.
Reda’s offer of partnership was welcomed by Creative ALPP staff who, since 2006, have overcome the challenges of a post-war environment and a lack of basic infrastructure to provide access to education to out-of-school youths.
To date, nearly 11,000 young people ages 15 to 35 are obtaining an elementary school education. When the Creative-implemented the ALPP project was singled out by the UNMIL to collaborate with them on an education project, the staff were pleasantly surprised to hear from Reda that, “the Ethiopian contingent in Zwedu is very impressed with the work of Creative Associates in the County.”
— Princetta Varmah in Liberia
For more information contact:
Education Officer, USAID/Liberia
Dr. Peggy Poling
Chief of Party, ALP Plus