The Andrew Lees Trust continues to find ways to generate support for the activity of local NGO Andry Lalana Tohana (ALT MG) and its work in the south of Madagascar .
In 2019 ALT MG launched the CERCLE – the Centre for Education, Reintegration, Communication and Exclusive Leadership, with funds provided by the UK based Aldama Foundation.
HELPING CHILDREN BACK INTO MAINSTREAM EDUCATION
ALT Mg’s CERCLE programme is based in Ft Dauphin, Anosy region, southern Madagascar and helps disadvantaged children and young people to access vital education and training. Last year the CERCLE advanced literacy and numeracy classes for over a 100 children from the most disadvantaged households in five communes of Anosy. The classes enabled children who would otherwise fall out of education from the state system to re-enter full time education at the state school, with the necessary skills and equipment.
108 children advanced from the CERCLE into main stream state schools in Anosy at the start of the school term in October 2019.
The Regional Directorate of National Education (DREN) had motivated local school directors to prioritise the children from the CERCLE into the mainstream school classes. However, a test was carried out first in order to determine which level of class each child should be placed.
of the 108 children from the CERCLE, 56 children were placed in primary school class level T1, 49 in level T2 and 3 in level T4
|Receiving primary school||Fokontany (village)||Number of CERLE students received|
|EPP Centre I||Bazaribe||18|
REPORTING BACK – CERCLE CHILDREN DO WELL !
Some students came regularly to the CERCLE office after they began at their new local school in order to tell their ex-trainers about their progress and their day in class. CERCLE trainers also visited the four schools at least once per month from the start of the new school year to monitor progress. The teachers congratulated them because the children of the CERCLE are among the best in class:
“We have no difficulty in teaching the children from the CERCLE, they are assiduous and motivated”
MAKING IT POSSIBLE TO GO TO SCHOOL
A meeting was held at the CERCLE with the parents of students in October 2019 so that they could have information on the results of the CERCLE training given to their children and to discuss the next steps in the programme.
A substantial problem for parents of students at the start of the school year is to find the necessary funds to pay the school entrance fees, school supplies and the required clothing for each child (apron and formal wear). Parents whose children were identified to participate in the CERCLE programme do not have stable working lives or regular income generating activities, and they look every day for the means to provide for the basic needs of their families.
SCHOOL EQUIPMENT FOR CHILDREN
In order to support the children’s’ entry into the local schools, the CERCLE took charge of:
– Registration fees, overheads and insurance for each child-
– All school supplies with schoolbag
– Outfits: apron, t-shirt and party outfit (pants / skirt with shirt)
Parents of students were extremely happy because they would never be able to afford all of these supplies for their children.
Parents thanked the CERCLE / ALT for the assistance with equipment and school registration fees. They hope that the programme will continue in this direction for other parents who also want their children to be educated but lack the means to make it happen.
LIFE SKILLS TRAINING FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
This CERCLE programme was introduced to young people over 15 who have not had the chance to continue their studies for various reasons, for example: inability of parents to pay school fees, pregnancies during studies or early marriage, absence of parents.
The training supports young people to strengthen their capacities to assert themselves, to have confidence to say “no”; to set goals; to make decisions, and to manage emotional situations.
An information meeting was organised at the CERCLE office in October 2019 and 48 young people were identified for the class. The identification of young people was carried out in collaboration with the Presidents from each of the fokontanys (villages) who participate with the CERCLE programme: Tanambao, Ampotatra, Esokaka and Amparihy.
THE LIFE SKILLS PROGRAMME
The programme extended across 16 sessions and covered a variety of themes including understanding child rights, substance addiction, health, nutrition, sexual reproductive health, child marriage, abortion, polygamy (still practiced in the south), violence (e.g. forced labour), communications and environmental awareness.
Many of these young people already have a work occupation to support their family as a cleaning lady, a help in a store, or accompanying younger children to the school. Consequently, it was difficult to find a time which was favourable for the sessions. Unanimously 2 afternoons per week were approved: Wednesday afternoon and Saturday afternoon. A revision of the previous session is always carried out with the active participation of the young people for those who were absent from /missed the session.
29 young people followed and completed all 16 of the life skills sessions
A small evaluation was carried out after session 10 by answering the following questions:
- Name 5 of the 10 themes we saw
- List 2 themes you like, their definition and their life skills
- What theme do you dislike, why?
According to the evaluation, 99% of the young students had learnt about the 10 themes covered, the definitions and life skills generated, and there were no themes mentioned that were not appreciated. The sessions are largely participatory.
The classes were closed by the Director of ALT using cards for each of the big ideas from the 16 sessions. The slogan “Tanora vanona sy vonona” (worthy young people ready to take charge of their lives) was shared and adopted.
After the parents’ meeting for the students on October 4th, before the start of the school year, some parents asked if they could learn to read and write too as they were not fortunate enough to learn when young.
The request came from each individual and it was difficult for the ALT team to refuse, even if this activity was not planned in the CERCLE programme and the parents had no free time to learn except Sunday afternoons at midday. Their needs were met.
16 mothers attended literacy training at the CERCLE
The training follows the same programme as that for children. The sessions are not yet complete. Nevertheless, some mothers have already developed the ability to read and write their names and are able to do simple maths e.g. addition.
ALT MG is seeking funding to support the delivery of vital education to 600 children and young people in 2020-2021 – whilst ensuring maximum safety through the pandemic and providing school meals to strengthen the most vulnerable, youngest children.
The Andrew Lees Trust (ALT UK) continues to assist local NGO Andry Lalana Tohana (ALT MG) in its work by helping with proposal writing/preparation and seeking donors to support ALT MG’s work directly. The Trust promotes the strengthening and autonomy of local civil society in Madagascar.