Our project aims to improve English Education. We will be building murals on five different walls of the school with five different messages in English that promote female empowerment, strategies to prevent malaria, healthy living, detailed world map depicting where various resources come from and an alphabet promoting various words to increase vocabulary. We, also, plan on creating classroom sets of different level books with side by side English and Kinyarwanda texts with a vocabulary index at the back to promote literacy rates in school. These books will be used in a Reading Buddy system set up this year by my school to have secondary students reading and aiding primary students.
The school and surrounding community will be contributing the buildings and some of the labor for these projects. We hope to empower students and teachers alike to create healthy living strategies, preventative malaria strategies and increased vocabulary through these murals. As a dual effect of both the books and the murals, we will constantly be promoting literacy throughout the school with both students and teachers. We plan to start with teacher trainings in order to first accustom the staff with the books, such as how to use them in clubs and in their everyday lessons. Then, we will start to introduce the students to the books, and especially with the primary students, we will be using the illustrations on the walls (the murals) to help with distinguishing letters and to work on sounds. Both tools with aid leaners inside and outside of the school.
As stated before, the community and school are quite involved in this project. During the PCV’s Community Needs Assessment, our team came up with many community needs that were ranked in order of importance. These issues were all at the top of the list and bundled into one larger, more comprehensive project that targets health as a whole.
Teachers and community members have already talked about creating book clubs or reading groups outside of the school so that community members also get a chance to improve their English with these sources. These book clubs allow adults and students alike, in and out of the school, to continue improving their English comprehension. They will be formed by community members, students and teachers into levels that are deemed fit by the teachers who will be leading the various clubs. We have talked about Reading Buddy systems throughout the year to have students in secondary and primary work together to read and gain confidence, but we have also talked about including reading competitions between various levels of English learners as a way to promote reading, especially in the beginning. We will use the books to aid students in furthering their English confidence through speaking, writing and reading. We have a plan to ensure that this project succeeds and is sustainable. In the design and planning stages, we have tried to go out of our way to include all stakeholders: not only students and teachers but, of course local community members. Since this project is community-initiated, it must be community-sustained. Moreover, we have taken the initiative to set aside money each year if paint needs to be reapplied or a book needs to be remade. The students and teachers are very invested in this project given that they have understood the necessity of bringing Kinyrwanda into the classroom in order to comprehend English.