Emily Grech used a £400 grant from the Jack Petchey Foundation to help other volunteers to develop Nigerian secondary schools thanks to the Individual Grants for Volunteering programme.
She said: “We aimed to show teachers 21st-century skills and support them inside and outside the classroom environment. We successfully worked with the principle to strengthen the School-Based Management Committee, which will enable the school to develop after our departure. Alongside transferring our own skills and knowledge to the schools, we also done some fundraising to provide infrastructural development across four schools including building roofs, plastering walls, adding shutters and doors to classes and painting murals.”
The group worked outside the schools and held four community action days based on those the United Nations run (where they identify the main actions and aims they are working towards) whilst they were on the programme. Emily said these days acted as sensitisation and education for the community. The volunteers also ran activities in the schools and the community, including an inter-school competition, cinema club, and a reusable sanitary towel workshop. As well as that, weekly, they ran an Inclusive Neighbourhood Space which was targeted at children not attending school to help them learn via play.
When asked how the project made a difference, Emily said: “Our project should have had a positive impact on many students’ education across four schools. Hopefully, the teachers now have more ideas on how to manage a class and on different teaching styles/methods. I believe we also taught the community about important issues like how to look after their environment, child labour and drug abuse which they will remember and will influence their decisions. Our project also worked on the sustainability of the issues we were trying to solve which I think is the most important and valuable impact that we had because it will be long term.”
The programme offered her many opportunities to learn, such as how to work with individuals with opposite attitudes and beliefs to herself, that it is important to make an impact, and the Sustainable Development Goals. These are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all” set by the UN General Assembly in 2015 to be achieved by 2030. They include no poverty, affordable and clean energy, climate action and 14 others.
Emily said: “I enjoyed most getting to know and volunteer with a group of UK volunteers from all over the country and learn from them.”
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