As CRC programs are transforming to a family based program, the need for case management training has become very important for the CRC staff. While on a return visit to the CRC this summer, Nabs held a collaborative training with the CRC's case managers and partners from the US. The CRC staff and US volunteers have been meeting locally and via Zoom for some months in preparation for the training. The four-day training involved ten participants.
Participants learned the ways and methods case managers use to impact the lives of their students in Sierra Leone, and they were learned techniques for tracking measurements of change. The trainees especially valued learning techniques for approaching teenagers, how to handle bad behaviors, motivational interviewing, and open-ended questioning.
Participants cited the value of learning about role playing, and how it can be used to communicate effectively with children and youth. There was a general consensus that more such training will be very valuable, and the CRC staff plans to coordinate with other organizations to share learning and develop healthy connection.
Members of the July mission team organized the second annual "Teacher Learning Collaborative," a joint project of the Child Rescue Centre and teachers from Bo-area schools.
This year, eight inspiring "teacher-leaders" were invited to participate in a four day "trainer-of-trainers" professional development event, where the participants gained a deeper understanding of children and learning.
Over the course of the week, the group developed a curriculum to use with other teachers in Sierra Leone.
"Our time together was filled with laughter, strong opinions, serious conversations, respect, years of experience, a deep love for children and education and great joy!" missioner Sharon Gardner reported.
The Child Rescue Centre is excited to welcome their new director, Olivia Fonnie. Previously, Olivia was the Director of Christian Education and Specialized Ministry to Children of the United Methodist Church, Sierra Leone Conference, a position she had held since 2011. In that role, she often visited the CRC and interacted with the staff, who are happy to welcome her on board.
Olivia was born in Freetown and has lived her whole life in Sierra Leone. She holds degrees in Theology and Community Development, and certificates in teaching and social development. Olivia was married to her late husband, Samuel, for 26 years. She has an adult son, Aiyu, who is studying to become a doctor.
“Working with children has always being my passion,” Olivia says. She taught at the Albert Academy UMC for many years before becoming the Director of Exams at the school.
She has held many other positions in education and community development, but she says the Directorship of the CRC is a fulfillment of her dream to raise children to their God-given potential.
To be closer to work, Olivia moved into the former Deborah House on the CRC compound, one of the dorms that was renovated to accommodate the shift away from residential care. "I like Bo because it is quiet compared to the bustle of Freetown," she says.
"We have some challenges, but by the grace of God we are meeting them," she says of her new role. What does she like best about being the CRC Director? "Meeting the children! And now I see them all the time! I only have one son, but I have so many kids," Olivia laughs.
"Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Do you love me?’ and he answered yes. Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs.' I am happy to be part of this great and dynamic CRC staff here in Bo and in partnership with HCW, to respond to God’s command.”
With the support of their teachers in Bo District, WASSCE pupils met and engaged in practice testing for their exams. The practice tests targeted WASSCE pupils and started with a planning meeting, distribution of the examination’s time table, and finally the practice exam period which lasted five days. After the event, the students’ papers were marked and sent to the education manager. With the support of the examiners and other CRC staff, they were able to identify areas that need specific attention before the exams from the two major subjects (Mathematics and English Language).
After scoring the initial practice exams, three students passed the mathematics section (Hassan Koroma, Kemoh Kallon, and Aminata Kallon) while seven students passed the English Language section (Hassan Koroma, Kemoh Kallon, Aminata Kallon, Alhaji Songu, David Swaray, Robert Bangura, and Vandi Koi Manjama A.). The teachers recognized that the reason for some poor performance was that they were unable to cover the complete academic syllabus with the students up to this point. They also recognized that some students lacked the technical ability to answer questions, especially long essays, letter writing, and summary.
As the CRC has close relationships with school authorities, two of the examiners in the major subjects have voluntarily opted to support the children before the examination for more coaching and providing them with techniques to answer questions. This practice exam event was very helpful to the students.“Coming for such a program like this is a step in the right direction. During the practice test exams I was able to know some of the areas not covered and pay more attention to” said student Vandi Koi Monjama A. Another student, John Sandy, said “I am really happy for the exam’s practice, during the event I was able to know my weakling points”. We wish all of the students luck as they prepare to take their exams!