Our Mission of engaging and transforming societies through education is centered on one program - known and styled "Help A School (HAS)" Program:
The HAS Program is the core of our projects with the overarching goal of enabling teachers and communities to be effective agents of education. Our approach focuses on empowering teachers by conducting periodic subject-mastery refresher workshops, using easily and locally made experimental materials for trainings, and teaching methods. We believe one teacher can reach many students in several other schools. The "Help a School" program is not focused on a specific school but serves teachers and schools from different counties all over Liberia.
To fulfill our mission, we seek partnerships with local and international institutions and organizations. In 2022, piloted a partnership with the “Center for Science Education” in Margibi county, Liberia to implement our 2022 Teachers Refreshers Workshops for 2 weeks. We also work in collaboration with the University of Liberia Department of Physics and mathematics to provide us with lead trainers for the teacher refresher workshops.
Our workshops have been funded by SPIE (Education Outreach Grant) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
In 2013, over 25,000 students took a joint University Entrance Examination for admission to the University of Liberia. Out of this number, not a single student made the required mark for admission into the University. Despite the many interpretations associated with the outcome of the Entrance Exams, to us, it was a national disaster that needed attention. Liberia has suffered many crises and the results are still clearly visible: There were no libraries. Simple teaching and learning materials are still luxuries and finding qualified teachers is still a dream. The goal of the TEACH LIBERIA PROJECT is to support the development of the education system in Liberia based on sustainable partnerships. Through the TLP, we organize periodic subject mastery workshops base on the curriculum of the Ministry of Education of Liberia for teachers. These short term professional development trainings are designed to stimulate the interest of teachers in contemporary pedagogy and key subject themes to help teachers upgrade their skills and knowledge. The during of these workshops varies from 2 to 3 weeks; 8 hours daily. The workshops are led by education specialists who are part of Helping Hands Network resource pool of trainers. We use easily and locally made teaching-learning materials for experiments. Another component of the TLP is the school-focused-workshops. These are designed on the requests of schools to cater to specific school improvement needs and are conducted on site. Along with the benefiting schools, we work together to track the impact and progress of the beneficiaries.
In 2018, we reached an agreement with the University of Liberia to serve as the main source of supply for the facilitators. As part of the agreement, the University facilitators will also serve as mentors for the teachers to troubleshoot with the teachers on subject related challenges.
The goal of the Science Outreach Project is to increase enrollment for science subjects both in High Schools and colleges. The disparity in enrollment between sciences and humanities courses at the various colleges in Liberia is alarming. In 2019 and 2022, we worked with the Center for Science Education, the Ministry of Education and University of Liberia Department of Physics and Mathematics to organize two subject experts workshops for physics teachers. Our goal was to get at least 2 female science or physics teachers. Of the 4 counties participating, we could not get a single female physics teacher! We believe the root cause of this is attributed to lack of career guidance on admission for the sciences and other courses at the college and even High School level. In some academic years, there would be over 1000 students in the business college and just 5 students in the science and engineering college at the University.
The SOP therefore focuses on inspiring female students to take up science courses in High Schools and Colleges. We work with the schools to set-up science clubs where the students and science teachers can undertake mini scientific projects using simple and easily made experimental materials. We do this to stimulate the students interest in the science courses.
The LTRC is an education hub for teachers and students in Montserrado County; a county that hosts over half of Liberia population and 35% of the country’s school going population of 922,000 pupils. The LTRC is a centralized space where teachers connect with their peers and other educational resources through technology. The center has internet facilities, digital library and videos for demonstration to enhance teachers’ understanding of basic teaching concepts. Moreover, the LTRC serves as location of various teacher training programs combining virtual sessions with international experts and on-site hands-on training facilitated by local partners, e.g., of the University of Liberia. The Center is also open to students who come to do their assignments using the available resources. The long term goal is to turn the space into a digital academy for the teachers. The Digital Academy will be a place where online learning would transform the practice of teaching and learning self-development. The center will run series of webinars, and other online learning opportunities that connects teachers to and students to the education community. Teachers will sign up to academy in batches. At the center, we will regularly invite educational leaders and inspirational personalities to share their stories. We believe this will give the teachers the opportunities to hear from the moving and shakers of the education community in and out of Africa.