I am Back!

I cannot believe we are at the end of the 2011/2012 school year, and the 4th promotion of students at the La’angum Learning Center (LLC) has just completed!  The 3rd and last term of the academic year ended on July 26, 2012.  The 2012/2013 school year will begin on September 4th,  with a teachers’ work week from 4– 7.  Classes begin on the Sept 11th.  In addition to end-of year and next school year preparations, we have been engaged in a series of annual reviews with close collaborators during the past few weeks.  The results of these reviews will feed into PAMBE Ghana strategic planning session during my next visit to Oklahoma City in November.  So far, we have organized and held day-workshops with administrative staff (Executive Director and her assistant), the Bumboazio and Bantambari community (i.e. the two villages directly involved in the La’angum Learning Center), and staff of the LLC. We are preparing one for the PAMBE Ghana Advisory Committee. There are so many exciting things happening out here in the field. I am currently in Accra finalizing preparations for a week Montessori training from Aug 23 – 29 for staff and volunteers of the La’angum Learning Center, offered by the Ghana Montessori International training center in Accra. This training could open up opportunities for collaboration in other areas. We shall see! That is all for now. Come back same time next week. I will keep you posted!

PAMBE Ghana facilitates Measles vaccination at La’angum Learning Centre.

Girl child being immunized by nurse

Measles is a dangerous childhood disease that can have devastating complications including brain damage, blindness, and deafness. It also often causes diarrhea and malnutrition.  Two decades ago, measles epidemics caused the highest mortality and morbidity among young children within the shortest period. Thanks to concerted efforts on immunizations programs for under-fives  by the Ghana Health Services and international agencies such as UNICEF, widespread measles outbreaks have become a thing of the past.  hana health authorities say that it costs less than GHc2.00 ($1.45) to prevent the disease through vaccination and to provide a Vitamin “A” supplement.  However, it is often difficult to mobilize marginalized communities to take full advantage of this vital health service to protect their children. PAMBE Ghana’s approach to primary education includes a strong component of raising awareness in rural areas about such key issues. PAMBE Ghana works to  link communities to local health services for children.  A good example is about the recent measles vaccination campaign in Ghana. On November 04,  PAMBE Ghana organized the Bumboazio community to work with the Ghana Health service (GHS) to have all the children of the La’angum Learning Centre  between the ages of 4 and 5  immunized against measles. The children also received doses of Vitamin “A” supplements to boost their immune system for better protection against other diseases. This effort not only helped to protect the children against potentially serious diseases, but created a precedent of the school serving as a means to promote an active collaboration between local communities and health services.

Opening of the third term of school today

Alice with pupils on opening day of third term

Alice with pupils on opening day of third term

Today, May 12th, is the opening day of the third and final term of the school year. I went to the school today to greet the children and teachers and get the final term of our first year off to a good start. Amid the excitement, there was a sad note because one of pupils, Fataw, lost his father. After school ended, we went to offer our condolences to the family. This current school term will end on July 30th. A new learning activity for this term, because of the rains, will be to help the pupils establish a garden, which has rich opportunities for learning at this stage of child development.

Hand Washing Day

New sanitary behaviors being learned at school

New sanitary behaviors being learned at school

After school today, I happen to turn on the radio and, to our greatest surprise, we heard that October 15, today, has been declared “Global Hand washing Day and Mary, Issah and I laughed so hard.  We had just been talking about the challenges the introduction of washing hands with soap after toilet and before eating is posing.  The children love it so much that they pretend they need to go to toilet so they can wash their hands. It is a lot of work for the teachers to keep the recipients filled at all times.  In fact, we were running low on water today and had to call for help. About 15 women brought in water.  


Understandably, the two teachers and assistant saw the children’s extreme interest in washing their hands with soap as a problem. I shared with them how children, all the world over, love to play with water, and especially soapy water: the feel, suds and bubbles are all points of great interest to young children. Besides, for these children, this is the very first time they actually have the opportunity to wash their hands with soap, and as often as necessary. This is a huge luxury!


We brainstormed ways to moderate / reduce the traffic at the hand washing stands. One idea was to create an activity with soapy water in the classroom. Also, the novelty will probably wear off after a few weeks and regulate itself.


How interesting that while we were pondering in our little corner in Bumboazio, deliberating about how to manage the children’s high interest in hand washing with soap, the rest of the world was celebrating the day as “Global Hand Washing Day with fanfare!  


Hygiene and sanitation, and basic health have been part and parcel of the education model PAMBE Ghana strives to develop. Hence, we made provision (albeit modest) for them in our planning and implementation.


Donate Today

Your Donation Today Will Help PAMBE Ghana Provide:
-- Teacher's salary
-- Children’s health insurance
-- Montessori materials
-- Teacher education

PAMBE Ghana is a 501(c)(3) registered charitable organization.