For many years, our country teams have been working closely with our learning centers. What are they most proud of? How do they assess the impact created by their support of our learning centers? In this blog post, Sokhan, Amar and Monika share their personal views.
Impact Report Cambodia – by Sokhan Khut
BOOKBRIDGE Cambodia has operated since late 2011 after signing MoU with Cambodia Scouts and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports establishing its very first two learning centers in two separate provinces: Takeo in Southern Cambodia and Siem Reap to the North of the country. Both centers were set up with strong support by Cambodia Scouts and run in the form of social businesses in the field of education.
After 4 years of its operation, 3 more learning centers including a mobile one were set up in Takeo and Kampot provinces under the supervision of two key members of BOOKBRIDGE Cambodia Country Organization Team. BOOKBRIDGE Cambodia provides BOOKBRIDGE with implementing our Capability Program in Cambodia, on-going support in the operation of the established learning centers and conducting a bi-yearly workshop for the learning center staff.
In 2016, BOOKBRIDGE Cambodia conducted two local Capability Programs with Cambodian candidates joining in parallel with European programs. They resulted in one new learning center established in Tani, a district town in Kampot Province, creating at least three jobs for local people working in the learning center, a business plan for setting up a new learning center for investor pitch prepared and 12 Cambodian talents have been trained to think and act as entrepreneurs as well as new generation leaders.
By the end of December 2016, six learning centers including the Mobile Learning Center were established in total. They have operated as social businesses in Siem Reap, Takeo and Kampot provinces
- reaching out to 87,484 community members in total
- offering 386 free educational activities with 7,112 participants
- running 54 paid courses with 664 students per month on average
- covering 81% of sustainability rate per month on average.
Different Challenges and Situations
However, the progress of each learning center varied due to having different situations and challenges. Aside from the monthly status calls with BOOKBRIDGE Community Heroes in Cambodia to get updates on the development and understand their challenges, a 3-day workshop was conducted for all learning center staff to let them share best practices and experiences, disseminate BOOKBRIDGE Vision 2020 and gather inputs towards the Quality Framework.
In addition to the monthly status call, the Country Organization Team travelled very often to visit all centers to work with the Community Heroes to find out what can help them and to support them in the development and improvement of their learning centers and in aligning them with the BOOKBRIDGE 2020 vision.
Now let’s see how each BOOKBRIDGE learning center in Cambodia has performed in general:
Takeo Town: Officially opened in November 8, 2011 in cooperation with Takeo Provincial Department of Education, Youth and Sport, but redeveloped and opened officially for the second time in January 27, 2013. The learning center employs 2 full-time staff and has created 6 part-time job opportunities for local teachers. In 2016 alone, the learning center reached out to 13,542 community members in total. On average, 10 free educational activities with 141 participants were conducted and 108 students attended 8 different paid English courses on a monthly basis, allowing the learning center to cover already 93% of its annual operational expenses by course revenues. Currently, Community Hero Sreydieb works together with her colleagues to reinforce rules related to the learning center guidelines and to conduct technical meetings with the teachers in order to share ideas on teaching concepts.
Siem Reap: Like Takeo, Siem Reap learning center was opened twice, firstly in November 2011 and secondly in May 015 in partnership with 10 January 1979 High School. From January to December 2016, with 2 full-time staff and 5 part-time English teachers being employed, the learning center reached out to 13,443 community members in total. On average, 5 free educational activities with 77 participants were conducted and 42 students attended 4 different paid English courses on a monthly basis, allowing the learning center to cover 55% of its annual operational expenses by course revenues. With support from the center’s very first fellow, Martina, Community Hero Sanith could organize many library activities that attracted many students: Public Reading Contest, cinema event and fun educational games. Sanith and Martina conducted technical meetings with teachers in order to share ideas on teaching concepts.
Angtasom: The center was officially opened in November 2013 together with Tramkak District Education Office. It has performed well during the last two years but the decision to leave the learning center by the community caused a dramatic change in its performance. The learning center is currently employing 3 full-time staff and 8 part-time teachers. In 2016, it reached out to 7,105 community members in total. On average, 3 free educational activities with 98 participants were conducted and 218 students attended 18 different paid English courses on a monthly basis allowing the center to cover 72% of its annual operational expenses by course revenues. New Community Hero Sothika has worked very hard to find solutions and strategies to save ‘the sinking boat’. He and his colleague Mr. Sareth have worked together to provide training on specific areas to their teachers in order to enhance their English skills and to produce necessary teaching and learning materials.
Tonloab: Officially opened in May 2014 in collaboration with Kirivong District Education Office, learning center Tonloab employs 3 full-time and 10 part-time staff including the community hero. In 2016 alone, the learning center reach out to 43,318 community members in total. On average, 8 free educational activities with 116 participants were conducted and 241 students attended 20 different paid English courses on a monthly basis, allowing the center to cover almost all (98%) of its annual operational expenses by course revenues. Community Hero Vannak tried to set up a specific curriculum which matched the government school’s English curriculum in order to win students who study at public schools and look for more support after school. Vannak has also set up technical meetings with his teachers to share teaching strategies. He offers a speaking club that connects alumnis of our Capability Program with students on a monthly basis adding benefits to the enrolled students of the learning center.
Angroka (Mobile Learning center): Officially opened in March 2015 as BOOKBRIDGE’s first mobile learning center, Angroka has been run as a subsidiary of Angtasom Learning Center. It creates job opportunities for 1 full-time, 1 part-time staff and 3 part-time teachers. In 2016, the learning center with its 4 mobile subsidies reached out to 5,900 community members in total. On average, 3 free educational activities with 112 participants were conducted and 108 students attended 7 different paid English courses on a monthly basis, allowing the center to cover 98% of its annual operational expenses by course revenues. Also in 2016, Community Hero Sothika from Angtasom Learning Center took over the responsibility at Angroka. Since then, he has worked with his colleague Mr. Sareth to provide training to their teachers to enhance their teaching and English skills. There were also new teaching materials produced and they started to implement the mobile learning center concept by establishing 4 more micro learning center around Angroka.
Tani: BOOKBRIDGE’s youngest learning center opened in March 2016 providing job opportunities to 3 full-time staff and 1 part-time staff. By the end of last year, the learning center reached out to 4,186 community members in total. On average, 3 free educational activities with 48 participants were conducted and 55 students attended 5 different paid English courses on a monthly basis, allowing the learning center to cover 70% of its annual operational expenses by course revenues. Community Hero Sothy promoted a kindergarten class in the morning shift that was very well accepted. He also provided specific meetings every week to his teachers to train and share ideas related to teaching strategies. They also to set up some homework for students.
Impact Report Mongolia – by Amar Purev
The year 2016 has been successful for BOOKBRIDGE Mongolia in several areas such as learning centers’ teachers skills development, students motivation, CAP implementation according to the business plan, finding capable and experienced community heroes for CAP projects in 2017, having fellows working with community heroes, getting financial audit done and increasing commitment from Nomin guur NGO board members towards learning center’s operation.
English Skills Improvements
Dulamsuren, English teacher at our learning center in Zavkhan, was able to improve significantly her teaching and speaking skills. She has organised jointly with PCVs English Olympics for the first time. Daria from Murun learning center started to attend English advanced level course (C1) in Ulaanbaatar last December. Contributing factors to this were English skills development sessions and mock lessons organised at bi-annual all staff training, good scheme or peer to peer support amongst the team, English teachers fellows worked at the learning centers.
Uugantsetseg Gantumur, Community Hero in Arvaikheer, went to first to Germany and then to Cambodia to share her English teaching skills. It was a great opportunity to develop her peer support skills with immediate results.
English Festival Cooperation between Arvaikheer and Chinggis
Our learning centers in Arvaikheer and Chinggis have organised a joint English festival in Chinggis town taking students from the both communities. It was great opportunity for students to know and learn from each other and motivated the students a lot. The English Olympics organised by Zavkhan learning center was great opportunity not only students, also for teacher to develop their English skills. Scout activities organised in Arvaikheer, Bulgan and Dalanzadgad have attracted and motivated students to join English courses in the communities.
First Capability Program with Local Candidates
A local Capability Program project was piloted this year during the implementation of our 8th Capability Program in Mandalgovi. Five local candidates out of eleven initially selected candidates from Mongolia have completed all five modules successfully. Twenty hours training sessions on business and English speaking skills have been provided to local candidates. As result of the project, one local candidate started her own private business, another candidate has improved her English noteacably and another candidate started taking English course at the learning center. The country organisation was able to train their own business coach thus saving budget for hiring external business consultant.
New Community Heroes found
Two community heroes, one in Dundgovi and another one in Khovd, were found for two Capability Programs to be implemented in 2017. Batchimeg from Dundgovi teaches English at a medical universtiy branch and is doing Ph.D. in linguistics and Buyankhishig, Khovd, works as local English teacher on the Access project funded by American Embassy having been selected as the best teacher in the province.
One six months fellow has worked in Murun, Zavkhan and Khentii learning centers helping English teachers there to improve their teaching skills and co-teaching. Five to six short term fellows in Mandalgovi and a two months support by fellows at Sukhbaatar learning center have been coordinated by the country team.
The financial audit was carried out in May/June 2016. The new audit company found in 2016 was more professional with less fee than the previous one and provided an audit report in English. The audit hasn’t discovered a major break of law or financial and NGO regulations but only released four recommondations that have been pursued by the country team.
Restructuring of BOOKBRIDGE Mongolia NGO Board
Finally, Nomin guur NGO board was restructured. Altantungalag who made a request not to continue being a chair of board has been replaced with Tsolmon who has an educational background and did her master’s degree in USA. Board members demonstrated more interest and commitment towards the learning centers’ operations and two board members including the chair of the board attended the all-staff training.
Impact Report Sri Lanka – by Monika Nowaczyk
2016 was the first year of operations for BOOKBRIDGE in Sri Lanka. BOOKBRIDGE Sri Lanka is the newest member of the BOOKBRIDGE global family with the first Learning Center established in June of 2016. So far one Capability Program, GMP+3, has been completed in Sri Lanka with 13 European and five local candidates participating and opening the first learning center in Bandarawela. The GSE2 CAS program started in October, 2016 and will result in the opening of the 2nd LC in March 2017.
Learning Center Bandarawela
The first learning center is located in Bandarawela, Uva province by Sujitha Miranda. In 2016, the Skills Learning Center ran 41 activities with 726 participants. Sujitha has also conducted 49 courses with 463 students. Sujitha has been working hard to develop a unique program called Find Yourself, which aims to support school leavers to develop the necessary soft skills to succeed in work and life. Three parents who also started to learn English also improved very much.
One the biggest impacts of Sujitha’s Learning Center is the achievements of some of the students from the Find Yourself course. 11 students have completed this course and 5 have gone to find employment as a result of their improved communication skills and confidence. And three students have continued onto higher education. Once student, Kuga Sri Ganesh, is now employed as an intern at the learning center as a support staff member and is further developing his skills as a teacher as well as continuing to improve his English.