Les amis de Hampate Ba

Improving Learning Outcomes, Fighting Girl Dropout Rates, and Promoting Human Excellence is the mission of Les amis de Hampate Ba for students at the Amadou Hampate Ba Middle School in Niamey, Niger. By promoting and financing the development of the school, and providing grants, we help underprivileged youth in Niger become a positive and responsible force within the community.
Nov 28, 2011

Increasing the CAN DO spirit in our girls

This year, in addition to the quality education offered to both boy and girl students at the Amadou Hampaté Bâ Middle School, a special Girl Empowerment Program has been put in place with activities focused specifically on girls.

Girls are able to attend a special Home Economics class, designed to suit their needs. This innovative empowerment program trains girls to identify and understand the problems that affect them, articulate these problems and take action to solve them. Girls acquire self-confidence and develop assertiveness as well as decision-making, problem-solving, and leadership qualities.  The Home Economics class also covers cooking, nutrition, hygiene, child development, managing money, family relationships, sex education and drug awareness. It assists in preparing students to fulfill real-life responsibilities at home and in their communities.

The sex education program helps girls address sexual maturation issues, improve their knowledge of reproductive health issues and protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS.

We are told how HIV gets into one’s body, how to prevent it and so on. This kind of knowledge helps me make better choices," explains grade 8 student, Safiya.

Girls at the Hampaté Bâ School are better equipped to overcome life challenges because they have teachers who are specially trained to meet their needs, learning materials that portray them in positive and equitable ways, a school environment that is welcoming and conducive to learning, and a school administration that supports them.

 “ We want girls at our school become life-long learners with the capacity to be top academic and social achievers and confident and active members of society”, says the school’s senior administrator, Mr Moussa Haougui.

Thanks to the in-service Teacher training programs, teachers have changed their habits and have become more gender-sensitive. They realize that instinctively they are used to call on boys more than on girls. Classroom observations now indicate that both boys and girls are called upon with the same frequency. Moreover,  through empowerment classes, girls learn to be less hesitant in raising their hand to answer teachers’ questions and participate in class.

We believe that for meaningful transformation of gender relations, girls must participate in efforts to eliminate the discrimination and inequalities they face within their schools and communities. And this is precisely what the new Girl Empowerment project enables the girls at Amadou Hampaté Bâ School to do. Thank you for you donations. They really count and have made the dream of these girl students come true. Thanks for continually supporting these girls.

Oct 10, 2011

Celebrating World Teachers' Day and Gender Equality

October 5th is World Teachers’ Day and this year it is under the theme of “TEACHERS FOR GENDER EQUALITY”. Therefore, in September, the staff at the Hampaté Bâ Middle School in Niamey, Niger had two training sessions on Gender Equality in Classrooms. Teachers were asked to kick off the school year by creating an inviting classroom environment and work at being intentionally inviting both towards boys AND girls.

The Training Program provided teachers with opportunities to examine their own gender sensitiveness, to reflect on their own lives as men or women, and to develop gender-equal teaching strategies. This is a very demanding exercise for teachers who are accustomed to following traditional methods automatically without thinking about gender disparities. A real challenge indeed!! The change in attitude starts with the teachers, their realizations and their beliefs! They are the ones who can set the scene for change and start making a difference in gender equality through gender awareness.

They all agreed that once school starts on October 6th, teachers would observe one another in the classes and, among other things, would provide each other with the ratio concerning the number of female students they called on during the class as compared to the number of male students called upon. This would be a first step towards raising awareness of any gender disparities that were made between the girl and the boy students.

Teachers were also made aware of the fact that they often do not pay enough attention to gender specific needs of girls as opposed to boys inside the classroom. For example, girls who have been socialized not to speak out and to look up to boys for leadership, require teaching methodologies that will encourage the girls to express themselves and participate equally with the boys. Both the girls and the boys need to realize that girls do have a voice and a value. It is the teachers’ role to slowly bring girls into the limelight and make them aware of their worth. Teachers were encouraged to use positive reinforcement and group work to encourage engagement among the assumed to be shy girls.

It was also decided that practical execution of science experiments or dissection of animals and insects should not be left to the boy students only!

“"After this program and as a math teacher, I was forced to acknowledge the disproportionate amount of time and attention I give to the boy students in my class. From now on, I will try to pay more attention to the girl students."  Hamidou Saley, a seven-grade teacher at Hampaté Bâ. 

Les Amis de Hampaté Bâ Organization fully supports the exceptional Teacher Training program at Hampate Ba Middle School as being one of the best ways to improve education of the young students. Our philosophy is that the school needs to start the process of change with the teachers, who can give the example to the students, in order for the gender equality project to be truly effective.

Through specialized and innovative training, the teachers will become aware of the importance of gender equality and be convinced that it is a key factor in making a difference in the learning abilities of the girls. This is the way to pave a road towards the students and for the teachers to transmit to their pupils their strong belief in the potential of girls students and the respect they have for them. A new type of relationship between the teachers/students will be established which will put girl students at ease to participate and give them an opportunity to express themselves, both academically and as human beings.  

Thank you very much for your help and support.  It is thanks to your generous donations that we are able to support the Teachers in these projects that span a full spectrum, sharing a common commitment to innovation. Your support of the Teachers is inevitably helping the students to get a quality education, where girls are valued by their teachers, by boy students, by the community, and by themselves. By supporting Teacher Training, you are making a difference in these students’ lives and giving them a chance to reach their potential !




Jul 11, 2011

Well Done Ousseina!

Ousseina Seyni is so happy and thankful she got a full scholarship this year to go to Hampaté Bâ Middle School with its unique quality education. This opportunity inspired her to work hard and we are proud of her results. She successfully passed her 6th grade exams and received two Merit Awards: one for her excellent grades and another for her human qualities. Ousseina’s father, a janitor, was very touched when he found out that his daughter had not only done well academically, but had also shown and given respect to fellow students and teachers throughout the school year.

The concept at Hampaté Bâ School is simple: Knowledge is praiseworthy when it is coupled with ethical conduct and virtuous character.In our school good behavior and high moral character come first.” says Moussa Haougui, the senior administrator. “How can we develop our country if we produce learned but corrupt and dishonest future leaders for example?” he asks.

Concerning corruption for instance, the character education program at Hampaté Bâ called “Capacity development” goes beyond providing students certain skills to fight it. It puts emphasis on the need for moral convictions and not just techniques in the fight against corruption.

 “Now I know that corruption is an injustice that needs to be fought because it offends human dignity. Corrupt practices lead to unjust social inequalities that deprive the poor of the chance to live truly human lives.” says Alhousseïni Rabiou, a mature seventh grader and also a recipient of two Merit Awards.

 It is thanks to your generous donations that Hampaté Bâ Middle School can provide the Nigerien students with courses such as these which help shape their minds to aspire for a more just global society. Your support and commitment help Hampaté Bâ students learn not only to read, write and count, but also to think and reason.

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