Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School Sierra Leone Waterloo Schools Project
30 July 2012
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To set up a collaborative project between a UK school and a Sierra Leone school (Nelson Mandela High School) so that pupils and staff in both schools could learn from each other’s local and national contexts.
To embed long term projects that would be beneficial to the curriculum in both schools. To provide resources to Nelson Mandela High School that would enable them to complete these projects.
Delivering the project and linking it to the curriculum
The project was delivered through collaboration on reciprocal visits between both schools. It was delivered in the UK as an ILT (independent learning task). It was integrated through taught sessions on water sustainability.
We selected a theme from a list of cross curricular projects from the British Council that could be completed by Geography, Religious Studies and History students. The theme for Geography was sustainability and was integrated into the topic of ‘Water and Sustainability’ in Year 9. Part of the scheme of work was to design a system for water sustainability e.g. roof top harvesting etc.
The History department’s theme was on the slave trade and the R.S department looked at the religious response to aid in LEDCs (less economically developed countries). The work was displayed in the Vitreum (Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School’s art gallery) and copies sent to Nelson Mandela High School in Sierra Leone.
Getting the pupils involved
All year 9 students took part via curriculum, which involved independent research and designs. The issues were discussed at Eco-Committee meetings and they did an assembly on World Hand Washing Day to highlight links between sanitation and health. A speaker from WaterAid also came to talk to all Year 9 students in their Geography lessons.
We had funding from the British Council and Department for International Development.
Staff in curriculum areas taught issues relating to the project. Mr Power took work to Sierra Leone and taught Nelson Mandela High School pupils what water sustainability meant to UK pupils. A speaker from WaterAid came to speak to the girls.
Communication – No/limited internet access in Nelson Mandela High School
Language – Krio is first language
Poverty – Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world and has a very low human development index value
Education – Pupils in Sierra Leone did not really have an education after the ten year civil war
Benefits of being an Eco-School
The students gained knowledge of water issues in Sierra Leone and the possible solutions. It made them more environmentally aware, particularly in relation to how they use water. In 2012 Merchant Taylors' Girls' School was awarded the first stage of International Schools Award (Blue flag) and the Nelson Mandela High School has been selected to be a ‘conservation school’.
Measuring the impact
We could see how interested the girls were by assessing their Geography Independent Learning Tasks on Sierra Leone, which were graded. The display in the Vitreum was seen by many parents and visitors to the school and attracted much interest. Hand washing posters were displayed around the school and anti-bacterial cleanser was introduced into the dining room.
Year 9 held a fundraising netball match (staff v pupils) and raised over £100 for WaterAid. The students were inspired and wanted to help. Additional fund raising from ‘own clothes’ days have taken place to keep the project going.
Using the Pod’s resources
In other areas such as recycling and reducing waste but not for global perspectives.
Educational resources used
Mr Power delivered INSET sessions to Sierra Leone teachers as part of British government funded CODEP project. Also took part in World Hand Washing Campaign.
Prepare a sound Global curriculum project that is important and relevant to both schools, in which both sets of pupils can learn.
Nelson Mandela High School has become a ‘Sustainable School’ and has started to recycle waste. MTGS sent old text books and football shirts to Nelson Mandela High School as part of our waste strand. We are involved in a new bid for funding for the project in the UK, based on sustainability in both environments.