February 25, 2013 – At a ceremony with the Antigua Ministry of Education today I made the following points.
It’s time to stop talking about input and start talking about output. When a project is in its infancy it’s natural to discuss what we’re doing. This could be referencing the number of computers, dictionaries, sewing machines or other “things.”
The next step is to share anecdotal evidence of success. Things like:
- Students seen with their dictionaries, in use, at school, in shops and restaurants, etc.
- Attendance rates higher on Fridays because it’s “Chess Days” and chess overpowers Friday skip day.
- More students have computer access and the computers are well maintained.
We have now moved to the level of true, proven results. When asked about our project it’s time to stop saying that we have brought in over 1,500 computers, 7,500 dictionaries, started sewing lessons, chess programs, etc.
It’s time to say, “We’ve improved the education of the Antiguan students and given opportunity to ladies with no job possibilities. We’ve done this through our donations of computers, dictionaries, sewing machines, the chess program and more. We know the results, they are positive and include:
- The passing rate on the Common Entrance Exam for primary students to go to a secondary school is up by 50% in the public schools and 12% in the private schools (private schools started at 82% passing).
- 90% of graduating students pass at least one technology class. Ten years ago it was almost zero.
- Our sewing project has created a group of a dozen ladies who can now sew family clothes that look like they were bought in a nice store. Three of them are planning a new business to make and sell clothing.
Rotarians and Ministry of Education Officials, I urge you to start talking about the results and the projects sustainability not just what we’ve provided.
On Friday, February 22, 2013 there was a ceremony to award a dozen ladies who started sewing lessons one year ago. At that time they barely knew what a pattern is. At the event they models clothes which they made.
My wife, Jan, and two friends planted the seed when they started basic lessons in 2012. The seed was germinated cared for as the lessons were continued by the head tailor of the Antigua Military. What a great example of cooperation between Rotary, a community center and outside help. The clothes modeled for us was the fruit of all the care and effort.
Sustainability is always a problem in developing nations, yet this project sustained itself and because of that another sewing center was started this month on another part of the island.
We had some incredibly proud ladies who received certificates from the Prime Minister. Besides the clothes they made success can also be measured by confidence and self-esteem and opportunity. Jan said that ladies who wouldn’t look you in the eye or speak a year ago were now modeling their clothes with flair. Three of the ladies are talking about starting a business making and selling clothes.
February 20, 2013 – we continued our five-year project of giving an illustrated dictionary to every third grade student in Antigua and Barbuda. After this year, about 7,500 books to kids!
The pictures below are:
- The dictionary, cover and inside
- Happy students after receiving their books.
- A student with a well used book which she received two or three years ago. Zoom in to see the telltale signs that she’s been using it! 🙂
The first picture is of our students loading computers onto bare desks for a computer lab in the State College engineering school, about 10:00 am.
The second picture is of the finished lab, about 20 computers, pretty powerful Dell’s that will run AutoCad software, about 3:00 pm.
The third picture is happy kids at a primary school after their computer lab was installed on February 18, 2013.
All computers have Windows 7, Office, Deep Freeze and other software.