Education
 Fiji
Project #8763

Working with children in Fiji

by Global Vision International Charitable Trust
Vetted
Seasons Greetings from Fiji
Seasons Greetings from Fiji

Dear Supporters, 

GVI Fiji would like to extend a huge thank you, vinaka vaka levu, to our Charitable Trust donors for their support over the past year. It has been a challenging year as our team and our partner communities faced devastating losses following the landfall of monster Cyclone Winston. GVI Fiji are looking forward to a very productive 2017 and will be making the most of a difficult situation by refreshing, rebuilding, and improving all of our projects.

Our community ties have grown even stronger as together we all faced difficult losses and worked cooperatively to recover. Our projects in the coming years will continue to focus on collaboratively developing sustainable solutions to issues facing the community as the challenges of a changing climate, and shifting social conditions affect the lives of the citizens of Dawasamu District.

2016 Context- Cyclone Winston

It is impossible to discuss our achievements without first discussing Cyclone Winston, a category five cyclone that made landfall directly over Fiji on February 20, 2016, causing widespread damage to buildings, schools, homes, infrastructure and agriculture, leaving no aspect of life untouched. In GVI Fiji’s partner communities in Dawasamu District, both primary and secondary schools were devastated, roofs were ripped off, classroom furniture destroyed, and all school supplies left unsalvageable. Many homes and farms sustained massive damage as the 300+km/h wind blew through the region and the tidal surge flooded the remaining houses. This extensive damage included the complete destruction of GVI’s Babale Base, including all volunteer bures, kitchen, and communal spaces, and the loss of nearly all educational resources and equipment that had been collected and developed over the past years.

After the cyclone, it remains a priority for GVI Fiji to spend donations wisely, and this process became especially important as the Cyclone response brought a wide variety of international NGOs and the Fijian Government into the Dawasamu District to offer assistance and funding. It was crucial for GVI Fiji staff to work collaboratively with various NGOs to ensure that funds were being allocated efficiently and effectively, and to avoid overlapping funds. Government funds, for example, have been set aside for the repair and reconstruction of homes and schools, however the scarcity of building materials across Fiji have slowed repairs. In response, GVI Fiji focused our budget on priority areas identified by our partner communities that were overlooked by the Fijian government and other NGOs as well as offering First Response assistance to families in need.

As GVI Fiji continued to repair, replace and reinvent the multitude of educational resources utilized by our teaching volunteers and school partners, the purchase of a paper binding machine became a necessary resource in order to create professional, organized and long-lasting resources. Funds have been wisely spent on this machine which has already been used extensively on resource building for the upcoming school year. We have also allocated funds to replace all school supplies that we lost at the beginning of the 2017 school year when school resumes.

We’d like to extend a massive thank you for your support this year. 2016 was a reminder to us of how generous and compassionate the world can be, thank you for reminding us of that!

We wish you a happy and prosperous 2017!

With Gratitude,

GVI Fiji

Thank You for your support!
Thank You for your support!
Respect. Honesty. Commitment
Respect. Honesty. Commitment

Dear Supporters, 

In the wake of Cyclone Winston routine and structure was severely disrupted at Navunisea District School (NDS). This resulted in an alarming decline in the behaviour of students and the capacity of teachers and volunteers to deliver lessons. With consultation between GVI and school teachers, a collaborative full school behaviour management policy was created and implemented with great success, resulting in teachers and students regaining a safe and secure environment in which to teach and learn. 

What did we do?

GVI staff discussed what various structures would be appropriate for the school and created a general behaviour policy in line with the Fijian Ministry of Education guidelines. We then met with teachers from the school to make the policy specific to NDS. This involved selecting three core values for the school and building the expectations or rules from these values. Poor behaviours were then levelled and matched with a set list of consistent consequences, ensuring consistency across the school.

NDS teachers decided to create a school culture in which the school community holds pride in the values of respect, honesty and commitment. From these core values, the students were clearly explained what was expected of them both inside and outside the classroom. Posters showing the correct behaviour for each value were displayed in every classroom as well as a behaviour chart, these visual aids were present in both English and Fijian and supported the consistency this policy offered to the school. In conjunction with consistent expectations and consequences, a reward scheme was implemented to encourage positive behaviours. 

Student’s received raffle tickets from GVI volunteers and teachers for displaying the positive behaviours from the values. At assembly, one student from each class would then be drawn out to receive a small educational prize as well as the student from each class who received the most raffle tickets in a week. 

Student’s were eager to please those around them and the school regained the lovely atmosphere it once had almost instantly, making it a rewarding place to work and for learning to continue! 

Thank you for your continued interest in this project!

With Gratitude, 
GVI Fiji

English and Fijian Behaviour Charts
English and Fijian Behaviour Charts
Raffle Prizes!
Raffle Prizes!
Good to be back in the classroom!
Good to be back in the classroom!

Dear Supporters, 

At the beginning of term two, we were able to move back into the Dawasamu District and therefore recommence a full assistance program at Navunisea District School. The hard work of GVI Community volunteers in the rebuilding of the reading centre has meant Navunisea District School students have an appropriate learning environment to engage in their lessons.

With a team of dedicated volunteers, all classes at Navunisea District School (NDS) are receiving our support. Now working with a full presence at the school, GVI education volunteers have been able to transition from delivering PE, Music and Art and Craft lessons to now carrying out full literacy and phonetic support to classes alongside fostering students’ creativity with PEMAC lessons.

 

Literacy Program back in full swing

Using reading results taken at the start of the last term, GVI placed students into literacy groups with peers who have similar learning goals. With a heavy need for comprehension and reading support, literacy and phonics have become a large portion of GVI volunteer’s roles at NDS. Groups are seen for tailored literacy lessons two to four times per week depending on the needs of the students. Students who presented with mechanical reading difficulties during testing have also been receiving additional phonics tuitions to assist them in this area.

GVI volunteers have shown incredible passion and creativity to deliver interactive, engaging lessons with very limited resources as GVI continues to build up a base level of reading resources, replacing the extensive resources lost in Cyclone Winston. The students of NDS have shown they have not lost their willingness to learn and have thrived on the routine these sessions have added to their week.

The effect of the cyclone

Having been through their own personal trials in the recent months after the cyclone, teachers at NDS have had a mammoth task in restarting formal, routine education for the students in a very damaged environment. The support GVI volunteers have been able to offer classroom teachers in this big step is something that has been very challenging but something all volunteers have tackled with extreme energy and passion. The PEMAC lessons that have been consistently delivered have not only taught the students new skills but have been a big source of happiness and excitement for the students which has been a pleasure for teachers and parents to see in the school. Again with very limited resources, GVI volunteers have shown great innovation in delivering high quality, interactive lessons, for example using recycled food tins for students to design, decorate and use their own musical instruments. While there is still a long way to go, these lessons have been an important step in providing students with an outlet to express themselves and encouraging teamwork to achieve goals.

Currently, we are assisting Dawasamu District School advocate their need for further teaching spaces in the wake of Cyclone Winston. With many of the school buildings being used to house teachers, GVI has been unable to recommence working with the school. Going forward Education volunteers will begin delivering PEMAC lessons with the students, before continuing literacy and phonetic support when a base is able to be established on the school grounds.

Thank you for your continued support during this difficult time.

With Gratitude,

GVI Fiji 

Dear Supporters, 

Since the devastating effects of Cyclone Winston, GVI Fiji have interacted with over 639 people, including nearly all the children, in the Dawasamu District, relying on the previous relationships built up within the community to effectively assist post- disaster and promote the effective provision of WASH facilities and awareness. 

Greater access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene after a disaster has hit, can lessen the impact of diarrhea outbreaks, and reduce the burden of morbidity and mortality associated with faecal-oral infections which often increase in incidence following a natural or man-made disaster. In some emergencies and post-emergency situations, diarrhea can be responsible for the majority of deaths. 

Realising the importance of providing access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene during this time, and ensuring the spread of disease is minimal by encouraging hygiene promotion and sanitation facilities that are both working and sanitary is essential. Furthermore, these activities reinforce the need to practice good Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) access both during, and post-emergency, thus contributing to long-term development.

We have done, amoungst other things, the following to promote safe WASH practices:

  • Installed 4 Hand washing stations (i.e., Happy Taps) in an effort to increase access to safe hand-washing facilities in areas without working taps, mainly near the kitchen or next to toilets. As well as ensuring safe water is in sufficient quantity for regular hand washing to be achieved, GVI has ensured the availability of soap, using a soap on a rope and the delivery of soap to all households in the District.
  • Supplied 45 UNICEF Emergency WASH posters in Fijian to homes throughout the district.
  • Carrying out hygiene promotion strategies to encourage hand washing with soap and other hygienic behavior practices.
  • Developed a WASH presentation that is delivered to children of all ages, small adult groups and during house-to-house visits. These presentations proved to be successful, and already women are asking for advice regarding health and hygiene.
  • Engaged children in a hand washing song, and playing hand games with glitter to depict how germs spread.

Thank you for your continued support during this difficult time. 

With Gratitude, 

GVI Fiji

Links:

Conducting the reading tests
Conducting the reading tests

Dear Supporter, 

At the beginning of February 2016, the GVI Education team conducted Reading Record testing with students from Class 3-­8, across both Navunisea District School and Dawasamu District School.

The purpose of these assessments was to identify the specific level at which each individual student can read and comprehend a text. The testing enables GVI to create individual reading profiles for students, providing class teachers and GVI volunteers with extensive information to use for tailored needs support,as well as a benchmark for tracking both student and class progress.

The testing showed a widespread imbalance between students’ mechanical reading ability, their ability to phonetically read words correctly, and their understanding of texts. Concerns surrounding literacy aptitude had been regularly highlighted and observed by the Education Team however the extent to which this issue impacts on the students became clear after the results were collaborated. 

The reading behavior and patterns observed in the results are a common occurrence when students are learning in their second language, especially if they have little experience speaking English outside of their formal education. The Fijian Ministry of Education has also expressed similar concern surrounding literacy levels, leading to frequent coverage in the media, as well as the introduction of the ‘Read to Lead’ program.

A major long-­term objective of GVI’s Education project is to improve students’ understanding of English language, through targeting reading comprehension in the literacy program and written language in composition lessons. These records allow for literacy lessons to be tailored to small groups who have a similar reading ability, giving GVI the opportunity to focus lessons on specific trouble areas; as well as giving students the opportunity to participate in lessons at their level.

The Reading Record testing also highlighted a small number of students in higher grades who were unable to mechanically read independently. These students then completed activities to test their phonetic knowledge, many had little to no understanding of the sounds letters make. This is something that class teachers have been concerned with but regrettably unable to completely evaluate or address due to large, composite classes and lack of non-­teaching time. In order to provide additional support to these students, GVI have created an intensive phonics program. Starting with basic sounds, students will follow a complete scheme to gain an understanding of the sounds letters make and how they are blended to form words, as well as building an understanding of the meaning of the new vocabulary they are learning. 

Sadly the damage caused by Cyclone Winston has resulted in the loss of three years’ worth of education resources and has also disrupted GVI’s presence in both NDS and DDS. Fortunately, the Reading Record results have been retained electronically and GVI has been able to start delivering tailored reading sessions to students two days a week. Furthermore, this information can be given to the school and class teachers as a small step in rebuilding the school’s student records, many of which were in paper form and lost in the cyclone. In the short term, the intensive phonics program can    begin on  a  less regular basis, as well as some  of the  literacy  program, giving students some  stability in  their education until GVI can resume

In the short term, the intensive phonics program can begin on a less regular basis, as well as some  of the literacy program, giving students some  stability in  their education until GVI can resume full-time support at both primary schools later in the term. Once the initial period of disaster ends and the schools resume normal operations, GVI will use the in­depth student information compiled to set up the project in a timely manner and continue offering consistent, intensive education support to the teachers and students.

Thank you for your continued support and generosity. 

With Gratitude, 

GVI FIJI

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Global Vision International Charitable Trust

Location: Exeter, Devon - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.gvi.org
Project Leader:
Kate Robey
Exeter, Devon United Kingdom

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