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Supporting education in Liberia

Monday, February 16, 2015 - 14:07

ActionAid Liberia has partnered with Kids’ Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) to support learning for children in communities across Gbarpolu and Grand Gedeh. We are providing opportunities for parents/guardians to participate in home tutorials for their children. So far, 5,477 children have received essential educational supplies including textbooks which are aligned to the national curriculum and stationery.

When ActionAid Liberia and Kids Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) partnered to provide educational support to children in Gbarpolu and Grand Gedeh counties, we first arranged meetings with local leaders and educational authorities in the communities we wanted to support. We wanted to understand first-hand the current educational situation and dynamics in the communities, so that we could identify key priority areas of focus. During the discussions, we told the educational superintendents, town chiefs, elders, parents, girls, boys, and children what the project would involve. We discussed home-schooling, issues the families might encounter around this, the materials we would provide, what support the project would provide, etc.

The community members seemed very happy about the idea of children receiving educational support at home. One of the town’s paramount chiefs, Chief James Kahn of Zleh Town expressed his unreserved gratitude for the project, saying “It hurt us that we don’t know book”.

The district education commissioner of Bokomu District also said, “This program will help our children because all they do is play and help on the farm.”

As a part of the project, ActionAid has hired teachers who will act community coaches and will work with parents to supervise the learning process for the children and provide support where necessary. After meeting with the community stakeholders, the AAL/KEEP team carried out training for the community coaches to build their capacity to tutor  the children.

During the workshop, the coaches were trained on how to engage the parents and the community members in the tutoring activities every time they visited a community. Some of the coaches were familiar with the communities, but others had to become familiar with new communities. So the team gave them tips on how to engage the community members if they were new to the area. The participants also learned how to monitor the children’s progress in their lessons and provide support that was suitable to each child’s learning ability. It was a fun and interactive session for all.  

Since we carried out the assessments and delivered the training, the distribution teams (comprising of ActionAid staff and KEEP staff) have been busy distributing homeschooling materials (binders/folders, textbooks and lessons, copy books, pencils, crayons, sharpeners and erasers) to approximately 5,477 children in Gbarpolu and Grand Gedeh counties.

Children across Liberia have had their education interrupted by the devastating Ebola virus disease outbreak. As schools around the country reopen, ActionAid will be working to support the educational needs of children.