News and Colours05. June 2020 - COVID-19 in The Gambia
26 people have been tested positive for COVID-19 in the Gambia to date,
20 of them are now considered to be healed, and 1 person has died in connection with the infection, i. e. 5 people are still suffering from COVID-19 in the whole country. ( Source: COVID Gambia).
With a current population of approx. 2,326,000 people that makes up 0,0002% ( Source: countrymeters. info/en/Gambia).
This figure appears to be very low, but a high level of under-reporting is to be expected due to a lack of testing facilities.
Everyday life has gone down extremely sharply: since 24. March 2020, the country's border with its neighbour Senegal as well as its airspace are largely closed. There is practically no tourism anymore, so that unemployment has exploded in The Gambia as well, and the already existing great poverty has spread extremely. Restaurants, bars, places of worship and shops are closed, and more than five people are not allowed to gather.
Our schools are closed until further notice by order of the Ministry of Education, because here, too, 'social distancing' has been decreed.
However, AT EYE LEVEL guarantees that our teachers will continue to receive their regular salary and additional financial support. Thus, not only the money planned for the (cancelled) Independence Day was distributed to the teachers, but at the imminent end of the fasting month of Ramadan, our teachers received further financial support to ensure the livelihood of their families.
We continue to be in regular contact with our teachers and sincerely wish them that they remain healthy and safe.
04. March 2020 - Winter 2019/2020
In the meantime Claudia and Jo have also returned to Germany from their second stay in The Gambia. They mainly supported the teachers of the SUNSHINE PRESCHOOL in Taibatou with a wealth of working- and teaching materials and trained them methodically and didactically. Here is their report:
Dear friends of AT EYE LEVEL,
at the end of our second stay in The Gambia we would like to report briefly about our activities at the Sunshine Preschool in Taibatou:
On 18. February 2020 we took over and further planned the business in a meeting with the three teachers of the SUNSHINE PRESCHOOL Taibatou - Adama, Ismaila and Kaddy - as well as Sabine and Harald. Since then we have
- bought a wheelbarrow and 3 buckets for easier transport of water from the village well to the school; (Due to a defect in the water pump of the school well, water was carried to school every morning by the teachers on foot and by hand!)
- three more carpets were purchased, especially to be able to completely lay out Kaddy's small classroom for the youngest children;
- distributed appropriately the collected toy donations (10 boxes!)
- also distributed large quantities of toothbrushes and toothpaste and mugs, with which we introduced tooth brushing as a morning ritual of oral hygiene;
- bought five chairs for the classrooms and the office;
- at the end of our stay, a trip to the beach with the whole school by bush taxi.
Our special attention was on the one hand on our new teacher Kaddy. She needed the most support to get to know the game materials and to be active with her students.
On the other hand, we have supported Adama and Ismaila in regarding the positive in painting and building with 'Duplo' and 'Lego' bricks and in giving their students their own choice of what they wanted to do during their 'Activity Time'. Especially the new materials 'Duplo', 'Lego' and the painting materials, including numerous mandalas, were the hit for the kids!
The absolute highlight was the trip to the beach at the end of our stay! Unbelievable . . . ! Because only one out of two bush-taxis appeared for pick-up in the morning, all 40 or so children took that taxi. The trip to the beach was not only for the children an obviously unique experience, we ourselves were also very inspired: to see the initial scepticism of the students and then their unrestrained fun in the water!
Jo and Claudia
22. February 2020 - Winter 2019/2020
The last weeks of our stay in The Gambia this year were really hot (38°C - 40°C) and very stormy. The air was full of sand, much more than in previous years, and when you went out of the house, you had the feeling of being in a circulating air grill! Only near the beach it was a bit more bearable.
With me (Harald) a violent stomach upset was added and had not calmed down again until the end of our stay.
At the RAINBOW PRESCHOOL in Faala, where Saskia worked very hard this year, we were offered a wonderful farewell event: Sainabou, the coordinator and all (!) teachers* drummed, sang and danced for 2 hours - without interruption - the pure joy of life - wonderful! Since we started working here 5 years ago with our cooperation and support, a lot has developed and stabilized here for the better. This is also symbolically embodied by the many, gorgeously blooming bougainvilla bushes, the different trees that we have planted in the schoolyard and which meanwhile have grown so well that they provide cooling shade. The school grounds have become a paradise!
Unfortunately, we cannot say the same about the MANGO PRESCHOOL in Sutuba Daa this year. Over the last year, the teachers at this school have greatly reduced their desire for autonomy and independence and their enthusiasm for work. But they are in good spirits that they will find a new sponsor until our contract is going to expire at the end of the academic year.
The situation was completely different in Taibatou, where we experienced a lot of energy and commitment. It's like the surf waves here on the beach: they swell, pile up, break and roll over and release all their energy onto the beach. And while the water masses become weaker and run out on the beach, new wave towers are already building up behind them. A magnificent spectacle! That's the way it is at present with the MANGO- and SUNSHINE PRESCHOOLS. The MANGOs get weaker and roll out, while behind them the SUNSHINE-teachers motivate themselves, build up, gather their strength and get going on. And how the children blossom up in that process!
Sabine has worked with the teachers of the SUNSHINE PRESCHOOL in their classes, produced working materials for little money and tested them in class. And the teachers soak it up and are infinitely grateful and show this with their great commitment!
Yes, Gambia is a country full of contradictions!
We know, that we will not be able to save Gambia with our activities here; the Gambians (and all other Africans as well) must do that by themselves and on their own responsibility. And they will also have to live with the consequences. (for instance: population explosion).
But for the children who have gone through our schools, it will have been worth it!
The 17th. February Claudia and Jo came and relieved us.
They collected donations from friends and acquaintances, which made it possible to get play equipment built for the children of SUNSHINE PRESCHOOL TAIBATOU: a double swing, a slide, a climbing frame and two horizontal bars; all this welded from steel and painted in colour by our welderman Keluntang in Sanyang - fantastically beautiful!
And a few fathers anchored these devices with concrete in the schoolyard over the weekend, so that the children were quite amazed, when they came to school at the beginning of the next week. They queued up at the devices and could not get enough!
12. June 2019 - Expansion of the SUNSHINE PRESCHOOL TAIBATOU
And another piece of good news:
During our visit in May we talked with the Alkalo of Taibatou, and the school director Adama Jallow about an extension of the school.
The village community of Taibatou urgently wishes an extension of the SUNSHINE PRESCHOOL in the form of converting an existing outbuilding into an additional classroom.
After visiting and discussing, we want to start an experiment:
The outbuilding will be repaired (has been done in the meantime); With the beginning of the new academic year, Kaddy Sanneh, a young woman from the village of Taibatou, will become a volunteer and will initially look after up to 10 children (3 - 4 years old).
At the end of the probationary period she could be employed as a non-certified teacher and then receive a stipend from AT EYE LEVEL.
If all those concerned agree, she could also attend the College for Teacher Training in Brikama from summer 2020 with financial support from AT EYE LEVEL, in order to become a certified teacher, ECDA (Early Childhood Development Association).
01. May 2019 - Examinations taken
On 1. May some very good news:
Karlotta Bass, our teacher of level 2 in the MANGO PRESCHOOL SUTUBAA DA has - after 3 years of extra-occupational training at the Teacher College in Brikama - passed her state-approved final exam during the Easter holidays.
We congratulate her on this great success and are pleased to have her as the fourth fully trained and very committed teacher at our MANGO PRESCHOOL.
A special thank you to those sponsors who expressly donated to cover the school fees, which made possible her education. With their donations they have made an important contribution to the personal development and self-determination of this woman.
26. April 2019 - notice of exemption
On 26. 04. 2019, we received the current notice of exemption from the Cologne tax office for corporation tax.
As a registered association, we continue to be recognised as a non-profit corporation, and we are entitled to issue donation receipts for donations, the amounts of which are tax deductible.
So your willingness to donate will be rewarded by the state!
24. January 2019 AT EYE LEVEL activity report on the 2018/19 season
Our project time in Gambia this year extended from 24. November 2018 until 24. January 2019. The main focus of our work this season was on the following projects:
- Systemic educational work at the MANGO PRESCHOOL' in Sutuba Daa Kabilo (Sanyang), including a workshop for 4 (+ 2) teachers* on the subject of Systemic Elements in Montessori Education';
- Procurement and delivery of high-visibility vests for our children;
- Support of the welderman Keeluntang in Sanyang, who takes young people off the streets to prepare them for vocational training, with donations in kind (tools); - Re-planting of a school garden to extend 'Systemic Education' to gardening;
- Maintenance work on the MANGO PRESCHOOL;
- Demolition of a rotten toilet at the SUNSHINE PRESCHOOL TAIBATOU and new construction of a toilet facility for teachers/boys/girls (according to the regulations of a ministerial decree ('Minimum Standards for Preschools';
- Continuation of the beekeeping project for honey production with 10 bee boxes;
- Start of a literacy course (twice a week) for adults, in cooperation with the local library of Sanyang;
Four members of our association AT EYE LEVEL and four other professionally qualified volunteers were involved in these projects this season. The duration of their stay varied and ranged from one to 3 weeks.
A fifth member of AT EYE LEVEL will travel to Gambia in April, in particular to advance the bee project.
All travel and subsistence expenses were paid privately by the persons concerned.
The following measures could be carried out during this time with the help of donations and donations in kind from various companies, organisations and individuals of 'AT EYE LEVEL':
1. MANGO PRESCHOOL in Sutuba Daa Kabilo (Sanyang/West Coast Region);
1.1 Administrative optimization (accounting) of the MANGO PRESCHOOL in Sutuba Daa Kabilo (Sanyang);
1.2 Instruction and coaching on-the-job of 4 teachers of the MANGO PRESCHOOL (and 2 teachers of the UNSHINE PRESCHOOL), with regard to the implementation of 'Systemic Education' and the use of the language learning program 'Jolly Phonics';
1. 2. 1 Methodical-didactical training work 'on the job' with all teachers in the sense of 'Systemic education' during the whole stay;
1.2.2 Realisation of a workshop with the topic ' Systemic Elements in Montessori Pedagogy';
1.2.3 Consolidation of the internationally recognised language learning programme 'Jolly Phonics', so that the children are prepared for the English language lessons in the basic school;
1.2.4 Production of play and teaching materials from the simplest (regional) means (shells, plastic bottles, sand, paper, crown caps, clothes pegs etc. );
1.3 Financing of 4 teachers' salaries, including taxes and social security contributions, and assumption of the costs for the training of a teacher (Karlotta B. ) at the teacher training college in Brikama;
1.4 Ensuring a regular breakfast for the children of the MANGO PRESCHOOL from Monday to Friday;
1.5 Repair work on the school building and on the cable pull mechanism of the well;
1.6 Financing and implementation of a seminar for two of our teachers (Buba B. and Karlotta B. ) on beekeeping and honey production; the profit is to flow into the MANGO PRESCHOOL SUTUBA DAA project.
1.7 planting of green and flowering plants on the inside of the protective wall;
1.8 Replanting of a school garden, in which the pupils can learn and practice the cultivation of fruits (bananas; papayas) and vegetables (onions; cucumbers; beans; eggplants; corn; lettuce; cabbage);
1.9. Establishment of a simple kitchen to prepare breakfast in the preschool in accordance with the 'Minimum Standards for Preschools'
1.10 Increase of teacher salaries in line with the increase in the cost of living;
1.11 Celebration of the 2-year anniversary of the MANGO PRESCHOOL under the supervision of 'AT EYE LEVEL - Systemic Education in Gambia e. V.' All children and teachers were invited to this celebration with catering on Paradise Beach. Children and teachers enjoyed this trip to the sea very much!
1.12 Procurement and handing out of high-visibility vests to all children of the MANGO PRESCHOOL; Instructions for the independent use of the high-visibility vests; For many children the way to school runs over a busy black road. There are no sidewalks or otherwise secured footpaths. In order to defuse this situation, we have purchased and handed out orange warning vests for all children of our school. These are worn by the children very much like a second school uniform.
2. SUNSHINE PRESCHOOL in Taibatou (West Coast Region, approx. 5 km south of Sanyang)
2.1 Instruction and 'coaching on the job' of 2 teachers of the SUNSHINE PRESCHOOL with regard to the implementation of 'Systemic Education' and the use of the language learning program 'Jolly Phonics';
2.1.1 Methodical-didactical training work 'on the job' with the teachers in the sense of 'Systemic Education' during the whole stay;
2.1.2 Realisation of a workshop with the topic ' Systemic elements in Montessori pedagogy';
2.2.3 Introduction to the internationally recognised language learning programme 'Jolly Phonics', so that the children are prepared for the English language lessons in the basic school;
2.2.4 Production of play and teaching materials from the simplest (regional) means (shells, plastic bottles, sand, paper, crown caps, clothes pegs etc. );
2.3 Financing of 2 additional teacher' salaries and assumption of the costs for the training of both teachers (Adama J. and Ismaila J. ) at the teacher training college in Brikama (3 years);
2.4 Financing the participation of a teacher of this school (Ismaila J. ) in a seminar on beekeeping and honey production; the aim is to give an incentive to self-sufficiency by enabling him to learn beekeeping and honey production;
2.5 Repair of a swing for children in the schoolyard by the above mentioned locksmith Keeluntang (as compensation for donations in kind);
2.6 Demolition of a rotting toilet at the SUNSHINE PRESCHOOL TAIBATOU and construction of a new toilet facility with a new septic tank for teachers/boys/girls (according to the regulations of a ministerial decree 'Minimum Standards for Preschools'). To improve hygiene, the interior walls and floors of the new facility were tiled. Also for reasons of hygiene, a functioning (!) water pipe from the village elevated tank to the school building and toilet, so that running water is available for drinking, washing hands and for the toilet.
3. We have been working with the locksmith Keeluntang in Sanyang for several years now. On the one hand, we very much appreciate the fact that he takes young people off the streets and teaches them to be locksmiths in his workshop, on the other hand, he has already produced a lot of play equipment for the schoolyards and also some steel gates for us, always combined with a personal contribution in the form of a financial discount. We have supported him with donations in kind (light welding equipment; protective masks; hammers; leather gloves; drill; grinding machine/flex), which make his work and that of his boys easier and safer. Our club member Quirinus O. - himself a locksmith - was now there already for the 2nd time. He gave instructions on how to use these devices and also helped with the daily work.
4. Two years ago, the desire to offer a literacy course for adults was first expressed by the village population. This was now possible thanks to a collaboration between one of our teachers (Isatou J. ), a volunteer (Dagmar K. ) and the head of the village library (Dani). Twice a week men and women meet together (!) in the library to learn how to read and write. Isatou and Dani receive a small expense allowance for each session, and the room rental can be used to pay for a WLAN connection for the library, which is also available to other visitors. The first response to this pilot project, which is initially secured until Easter, was very good.
If there is continued interest, the literacy course can take place throughout the school year.
All aid and support measures are designed in such a way that the Gambian side makes a significant contribution in return. This with a view to a partnership 'AT EYE LEVEL'.
Friends and sponsors of AT EYE LEVEL have contributed to the success of all these projects with their generous donations and sponsorships.
Many thanks for this!
05. October 2018
Project day of AT EYE LEVEL in preparation for the 2018/19 season
Last Saturday, 29. 09. 2018, the annual project day of AT EYE LEVEL in preparation for the coming 2018/19 season ('dry season') took place.
We are very pleased and grateful that with the generous support of the members and sponsors of AT EYE LEVEL we can continue our projects to promote Systemic Education in The Gambia. This includes in particular:
- regular payment of an adequate salary for our teachers;
- customary allowances for all teachers for the Tobaski (sacrifice) festival;
- assumption of the costs for the training of 3 young teachers at the Teachers'; College in Brikama (as a scholarship), including assumption of the travel costs there with the bush taxi;
- Further training courses for the teachers of our two preschools in 'Methodology and Didactics of Systemic Education' and in the language learning program 'Jolly Phonics' for children;
- Provision of extensive teaching and learning materials (donations in kind from Germany and Luxembourg) and practice in working with these materials;
At the MANGO PRESCHOOL SUTUBA DAA:
- Regular breakfast for approx. 50 children;
- high-visibility vests for all pupils for more safety on the way to school;
- play equipment on the playground (combination of fine motor skills training in connection with learning numbers and simple addition);
At the SUNSHINE PRESCHOOL TAIBATOU:
- new construction of the school toilets and a functioning septic tank;
- restoration of a water pipe to the school building/toilets (hygiene).
Beekeeping project (for the independent generation of funds for the maintenance of the two preschools):
The beekeeping project initiated by our member Andreas Baumeister has developed well with regard to the external conditions. Meanwhile, we have 10 bee boxes on a quiet property in a cashew grove, and our headmaster Buba Bah has attended several beekeeping seminars, so that he can look after the bees largely independently. In springtime there has been a first, small honey harvest and Andreas is quite confident that the beekeeping project is on a good way. Besides Buba, our teachers Karlotta Bass (MANGO PRESCHOOL) and Ismaila Jallow (SUNSHINE PRESCHOOL) are also very interested in active beekeeping.
Cooperation with other (pre-) schools:
The cooperation with 3 teachers of the preschools in Tamba Kunda and Kusamai (approx. 70 km from Sanyang) can be continued. If they so wish, further internships can be offered.
A further cooperation with St. Vincent Basic School in Sanyang is conceivable, because currently there is a German trainee for one year. In this way a continuation of Systemic Education could be developped into primary school. Corresponding cooperation talks are planned.
We continue to maintain good contacts with the VINCEROLA preschool in Cologne and Aachen. Saskia has once again carried out a large collection campaign of play material and especially good, used children's shoes. So all children of the MANGO PRESCHOOL can get a pair of shoes again this year.
The call for specific donations in kind by means of a wish list was largely successful. 10 large boxes of teaching and learning material could be prepared for shipment to The Gambia. They are now on their way and will be loaded into a container to The Gambia in the next few days. However, we still lack a wooden SCRABBLE game to learn letters in a playful way. Professional accompaniment:
This winter a total of about 10 professionally qualified persons (members and sponsors of AT EYE LEVEL) will come to The Gambia to provide professional accompaniment to our activities there. We are looking forward to a lively support!
And last, not least: As you know, a non-profit association is also dependent on financial support. If you want to strengthen us in this respect, here is our bank account:
AT EYE LEVEL
Volksbank Köln Bonn
IBAN: DE25 3806 0186 6606 0470 19/;
THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
Gambian children greeting you
05. August 2018
Africa week at the Open All Day School in Ensen
Although school children have holidays, many parents do not have as much holiday as their children have. That is why that school in our district Ensen offers childcare for the first 3 weeks of the summer holidays for children, who do not (yet) have the opportunity to go on holiday.
This year Sabine offered an 'Africa week' with the carers in the last of these weeks.
After a short introduction with photos from the last years of our work in The Gambia, the African colourful hustle and bustle began:
African fabrics and fabric remnants were used to make colourful dance fans and mobiles; also 'turban wraps' (headgear), which the girls wore with great enthusiasm, and wrap skirts made of the same fabrics; rattles and rhythm instruments were made from crown caps; a friendly music teacher from our circle of friends even offered a drumming course!
The boys got excited about a big Africa puzzle made of plywood, looked up the different African countries on a big map and then completed the puzzle. In the beginning, Africa was still occasionally confused with South America, but soon the children developed a good overview of the African states and the proportions in relation to Europe and Germany. Here the curiosity about African - especially Gambian - living conditions was also awakened:
- Where and how do the children sleep there?
- How many children do the families in Gambia have?
- What do the kids play with?
- What professions do the people there have and how much do they earn per month?
- Are there thieves and pirates?
- Do Africans eat porridge with their hands?
- Is there running water and electricity?
- Are there toilets in Africa?
- How many women can African men have?
- Do Africans have pets, pigs, horses?
- Why are people black? etc. etc.
Wonderful, how curious the children were!
The Africa Week ended with a small cooking course: the children cooked sweet chakri', made a couscous salad and fruit skewers for their parents and practiced a little dance.
But not only that! - The children brought their own toys on the last day, which they donated for the children of our two schools in Gambia! And two girls had a very special idea: they made lemonade by themselves and offered it to all passers-by on the street. And they collected almost 25 €UROs in donations, which we should take with us to Gambia to buy a bag of rice (approx. 22,-- €URO) for the schoolchildren's breakfast. - Isn't that fantastic?
Many thanks to all donors! It was an all-round successful holiday week - and that in school!
30. May 2018
We have water again at the MANGO PRESCHOOL SUTUBA DAA!
Now, towards the end of the dry season, the well builder was there and dug the well deeper on the school grounds (with a price reduction of about 20 % as a personal donation), so that fresh, clear, drinkable water is now available again. And he has given us a guarantee on top of that (also as a contribution of the community of SUTUBA DAA KABILO): If the well should dry up again, he would dig it deeper, free of charge, until there is enough water again throughout the year.
The children can drink water again as they please, brush their teeth in the morning before class, wash their hands in between, flush the toilet, and the school furniture and classrooms can be wiped damp or be cleaned.
There is also water again for the school garden and the planting along the school wall.
10. May 2018:
The land is now so dry that the well at our MANGO PRESCHOOL hardly gives any water, is no longer drinkable and only good for washing hands and watering the school garden. This year, before the beginning of the rainy season, the well is to be dug deeper, so that we have water throughout the year.
I would never have thought that the ground in our schoolyard would give anything! But thanks to the care and irrigation by our headmaster Buba Bah, there are already harvestable and very aromatic cucumbers, peppers, onions and tomatoes. Only the watercress, which we wanted to offer the children as edible leaves and flowers, does not really come up; the neighbour's chickens peck it up before it has reached a significant size. And the bougainvillias, we planted along the school wall in February, also suffer from the chickens' attacks 😫.
Meanwhile our teachers do a good job, a little more the African way than in winter, when we were in class every day, but with a lot of empathy and always intent on realizing the systemic, holistic approach.
In the meantime I had two conversations with the two young teachers Adama and Ismaila and the Alkalo (mayor) of Taibatou, whose father founded the village (!) We very quickly agreed on the mutual commitment: thanks to the special donations received since my appeal for donations, AT EYE LEVEL will be able to offer its services from the first days of May, regularly pay a small salary and finance the training of the two at the teachers college in Brikama. In return, the two prospective teachers have agreed to familiarize themselves with the methodology and didactics of Systemic Educationand and then apply it, and to attend the college on a part-time basis starting from this summer.
And to round it off: the school will have a new name in the future, with which the children particularly can identify: SUNSHINE PRESCHOOL TAIBATOU.
01. März 2018:
In the last days of our stay in The Gambia we received an urgent call for help from the community of TAIBATOU, ca. 4 km from Sanyang. There is a 2-class nursery school, which is attended by about 40 children from TAIBATOU. These children are taught by two untrained teachers from TAIBATOU, a young woman and a young man. Since the community is not able to pay these teachers adequately, they have been teaching free of charge for years, or received a recognition fee of approx. € 7,-- (in words: >seven<) per month. Since also in Gambia nobody can live on € 7,--/month, the Alkalo (mayor) has sent out his call for help to our association. Specifically: It is about the financial support of the two teachers and their qualified training at the teacher college in Brikama.
AT EYE LEVEL could, under certain conditions, imagine to help here with financial and methodical-didactical help.
To clarify these conditions, our treasurer Harald Heinemann will travel to The Gambia again at the end of April and meet the alkalo of TAIBATOU and the two young teachers for talks.
on the activities of 'AT EYE LEVEL - Systemic Education in The Gambia e. V. ' in the season 2017/18
During this season we focused our work on the following projects:
1. Systemic educational work at the MANGO PRESCHOOL in Sutuba Daa Kabilo (Sanyang);
2. Material support of a young person for vocational training;
3. Organisational support of the 'DIMBAYA MARATHON 2018' - Cross border event 'RUN for PEACE' in Dimbaya;
4. Conducting a first aid course in preparation for the DIMBAYA MARATHON;
Four members of AT EYE LEVEL and two other volunteers were involved in these projects this year, one of whom conducted a study on the use of 'Systemic Education' in the MANGO PRESCHOOL for his master's thesis. The duration of their stay varied and ranged from 2 weeks to 3 months.
All travel and subsistence expenses were paid privately by the persons concerned.
The following measures could be carried out during this time by AT EYE LEVEL with the help of donations and donations in kind from various companies, organisations and individuals:
1. MANGO PRESCHOOL in Sutuba Daa Kabilo (Sanyang/West Coast Region);
1.1 Administrative optimization of the MANGO PRESCHOOL in Sutuba Daa Kabilo (Sanyang);
1.2 Coaching of the teachers of the MANGO PRESCHOOL with regard to the implementation of Systemic Education and the use of the language learning program 'Jolly Phonics';
1.2.1 Selection of an additional Gambian teacher (assessment center);
1.2.2 Methodical-didactical training 'on the job' with all teachers in terms of Systemic Education' during the whole stay;
1.2.3 Implementation of a 3-day workshop on 'Systemic Education' and the application of the language teaching programme 'Jolly Phonics', in cooperation with 2 other preschools from Tamba Kunda and Kusamai (75 km inland);
1.2.4 Intensification of the internationally recognised language learning programme 'Jolly Phonics', in order to prepare the children for the English language lessons in the basic school;
1.2.5 Production of play and teaching materials from the simplest (regional) means (shells, plastic bottles, sand, paper, crown caps, clothes pegs etc. )
1.3 Financing of four teachers' salaries, including taxes and social security contributions;
1.4 Extension of a regular breakfast for pre-school children from Monday to Friday;
1.5 Granting of a micro-credit for the installation of 7 additional beehives for the production of honey; the profit is to go to the MANGO PRESCHOOL SUTUBA DAA project. The headmaster Buba Bah has agreed to take care of the bees and has provided a parking space for the beehives on his property. Another parking space was provided by a villager from Sanyang.
1.6 Construction of a protective wall around the entire school grounds;
1.6.1 Construction of 2 entrance gates (by our local locksmith);
1.6.2 Painting of the wall;
1.6.3 Plastering of parts of the wall in order to
a) paint Article 1 of the 'Declaration of Human Rights' as a guiding principle of the school;
b) Construction of an outside blackboard on which children can carry out extensive writing and painting exercises;
1.7 Construction of a cemented 'hopscotch' in the schoolyard for breaktime play and simultaneously learning of the number pictures from 1-10.
1.8 Planting green and flowering plants on the inside of the protective wall;
1.9 Establishing a school garden, where the pupils can learn about and practice the cultivation of fruits (bananas; papayas) and vegetables (onions; cucumbers; watercress; lettuce; cabbage; tomatoes);
1.10 Holding a swimming course for older children;
1.11. Increase in teachers' salaries in line with the rise in the cost of living;
2. Material support of a young person for vocational training:
In cooperation with LIONS relief organisation Juliacum e. V., and with the help of an earmarked donation from this association, we were able to finance an apprenticeship in the IT sector for a needy young person with good school certificates.
3. DIMBAYA MARATHON 2018
The marathon as a 'cross-border event' was prepared for 6 groups of participants. It was to take place on the 20th. January 2018, crossing the Gambian-Senegalese border and representing a measure to bring people together. The route for this 'RUN for PEACE' was coordinated with the border guards of both countries.
For the first 3 winners of each group 'AT EYE LEVEL' provided graduated prizes from donations in kind.
Unfortunately the appointment was cancelled due to a bereavement.
4. In preparation for this long-distance run, 'AT EYE LEVEL' organised and financed a first-aid course during the Christmas holidays and provided the necessary consumables and light vests.
All aid and support measures are designed in such a way, that the Gambian side makes a significant contribution in return. This with a view to a partnership AT EYE LEVEL.
29. January 2018:
Since the beginning of January we have hired an additional teacher, Mrs Karlotta Bass. She has several years of practical experience, but is not yet certified. During the school holidays she attends the Gambian college to become a certified teacher as soon as possible. AT EYE LEVEL will support Karlotta Bass in her project and pay the college tuition fees - A thousand thanks to all donors, who made it possible to support Mrs Karlotta Bass!
Some teachers teach lessons; our teachers teach children!
15. December 2017:
In order to protect the schoolyard from cows, donkeys and goats and from a lot of dust and sand carried in by the wind, we have decided to build a protective wall of cement blocks as soon as possible.
On Monday, 18th December 2017, we will start to build a wall of cement blocks. Three trucks of sand and 100 bags of cement will be delivered. Before Christmas, the construction workers will press about 3,500 cement blocks by hand to build the wall - After Christmas, they will start with the walling, and by the end of January 2018 it should be ready.
11. December 2017:
Saskia from the VINCEROLA preschool in Cologne has arrived and will support us for several weeks to train our teachers in methodology and didactics of Systemic Education. During the Christmas holidays we will hold a three-days workshop for our teachers on topics of Systemic Education. In addition, we have several other teachers from other schools in our neighbourhood, but also from the ca. 75 km away Tamba Kunda and Kusamai, so that we can establish a network of systemic education in Gambia.
The annual project meeting of ‚AT EYE LEVEL – Systemic Education in The Gambia‘ has taken place. The members of ‚AT EYE LEVEL‘ discussed the possibilities how to continue their activities in the coming dry season 2017/18.
Main focus will be the deepening of Systemic Education in daily practice. At least 7 members will come to The Gambia for a different length of time to offer support to the teachers of MANGO PRESCHOOL.
During the Christmas holidays there will be a workshop not only for the teachers of MANGO PRESCHOOL but also for teachers of some other preschools in The Gambia, who want to know how to practice ‚Systemic Education‘ in accordance to the Gambian curriculum.
Beyond that it is intended to bring electricity to MANGO PRESCHOOL, so that a computer, a printer, a laminator and other devices can be used.
AT EYE LEVEL would like to install a school garden for the children, if the fencing of the schoolyard is done till the end of November 2017.
AT EYE LEVEL will extend offering breakfast for the pupils of MANGO PRESCHOOL from Monday to Friday.
14.02.2016: We are back in Germany from a three months' stay in The Gambia. It was a wonderful time there, and grace to a generous and motivating support by our sponsors, friends and members we were able to do big steps to realize Systemic Education in The Gambia on two levels:
- Material support:
. Setting up, fitting out and structural designing of the 'Rainbow Foundation Preschool' in Faala/Sanyang (running water on toilets, hand-wash-basins; school furniture for children and teachers; tiling of classrooms, office and toilets; levelling and fencing of the schoolyard; construction of a shadow place for the children's breakfast etc.;
. Delivery of playing tools and teaching aids for the practical classes in that school;
. Construction of a firm roof of corrugate sheets instead of palm leaves for the 'Lower Basic School' in Dimbaya (southern border to the Senegal);
. Repairs at the 'Antonio Cristina Nursery School' in Sanyang, to clear away important risks of injuries for the students;
. Renovation and consolidation work at the 'Ronald-Jabs-Nursery School' in Kerewan Samba Sira (about 270 km upstream the Gambia River) as well as playing tools and teaching aids for the lessons in that school;
- Knowledge transfer and strategic trainings:
. Supervising and coaching of teachers at the 'Rainbow Foundation Preschool' in Faala/Sanyang to install modern holistic methods of teaching (away from frontal teaching, up to group work and free play in all school subjects);
. Practically based psychology of organizations for teachers and school administration;
. Organizational management to prepare and to perform the 'DIMBAYA MARATHON 2015' as a cross-border event in that village, cut through by the border between The Gambia and Senegal.
. With great support from Luxembourgian people in our last week we bought a second set of school uniforms for the Faala students;
we made sure a half-year-salary for an additional teacher, and started to build a breakfast-kitchen for the children;
. And at the end of January, Saskia from the VINCEROLA Preschool in Cologne got into the practical work with children, and continued that work for 4 weeks. One of her projects - especially sponsored by parents of her school - concerned mouth- and dental hygiene.
Next is the setting of the kitchen to prepare the children's daily breakfast;
We are convinced that our projects have a long lasting effect, and we are looking forward to continue with your donations that development cooperation, and to start new projects in the next season: AT EYE LEVEL!
Our account for your donation:
AT EYE LEVEL
Volksbank Köln Bonn e.G.
IBAN: DE25 3806 0186 6606 0470 19
18.10.2015: Today we sent five big boxes with learning- and teaching-aids, wooden puzzles, dominoes etc. to The Gambia, so that we can work with it when we stay there next time. There will be great fun for teachers and children, when we unpack it! What we still need urgently are well working laptops and mobile phones for teachers and school administration. Maybe at this moment somebody is exchanging his/her older devices for modern ones? – Each of these devices would be the fulfilling of a dream ...
20.08.2015: Gerhild and Sabina developed a project for German nursery and daycare centres named „What are children doing in Africa?“
Together with a detailed handout for preschool teachers with methodical and didactic suggestions to approach the world of children in Africa with art, music and craft.
That project is currently carried out as a pilot project at the bilingual Vincerola School in Cologne.
Inquires for carrying out such a project in other nursery and daycare centres are highly welcome!
13.08.2015: Our association opens an account at Kölner Bank (see below) for all money transfers. From now on fees and donations shall be payed into that account.
Since the establishment of our charitable organization only two months have passed!
01.08.2015: Eleman Bah (Gambia-German and intermediary in The Gambia) is on a visit in Germany and joins us as a member.
30.07.2015: The Local Court of Cologne adds our association to the Register of Associations.
20.07.2015: Our website >www.at-eye-level.de/en< is established, supported by TEAM GALILEO and FilmMaker Group; Our contact e-mail adress is >firstname.lastname@example.org/en
24.06.2015: The tax authority of Cologne certifies the charitable character of our organization.
13.06.2015: Finally! after the establishment of our charitable organization ‚AT EYE LEVEL – Systemic Education in The Gambia’ by 10 persons on 13 June 2015 in Cologne now the official steps have been completed successfully
We express our sincere thanks - as well in the name of parents, children, teachers and other partners in The Gambia – for numerous helping hands, hearts and minds of the members and sponsors of our charitable organization.
To success - at eye level - in The Gambia!