Yehalem, our Executive Director, recently traveled to the Amhara region to assess progress on the new Azena and Abichikili schools. Construction on both is advancing well and they will be fully complete in August and ready for use well before the beginning of the academic year on September 28. The education department is responsible for assigning staff to the new schools and they have now almost finished, this after consultation with, and review of candidates by, Yehalem. Books have also been selected and ordered for the schools and plans are underway to make drinking water available.
Yehalem attended bid openings for local manufacturing of furniture for both schools. The process is the same as for overall construction bids, whereby a number of contractors are invited to bid and the community is invited to attend the openings. After the contracts are signed, a feast of goat and beer was held. We are very pleased with the prices obtained, being well below the budgeted amounts for both Abichikili and Azena.
David and Gina will attend the official openings at both Azena and Abichikili schools in October, hopefully accompanied by one of our donors.
At Sebatamit, the school on which construction was completed last year, the greening part of the project is proving to be very productive. About 300 trees (including mango and avocado) have been planted and the first crop of cabbage has been harvested and distributed to families.
The best teaching practices and sanitation and hygiene workshops presented at Sebatamit have by all accounts proven to be extremely successful, with students and staff implementing procedures and taking them home to their families. On his latest visit, Yehalem worked with the principal drafting an annual plan for the teachers regarding workshops and teaching and learning approaches.
Our research consultant, Teddy Cosco, has located a metric for measuring wellness, as well as academic progress, which will be administered for the first time in all three of our schools in September, and re-administered on a continuing basis for longitudinal outcome measurement. The metric has previously been used, translated into Amharic, the official Ethiopian language, and validated in Amharic, by the World Health Organization.
The head of the regional education department has been commending FGCF’s model and contributions at every meeting he attends, and awarded us a certificate of outstanding contribution last month.