Tuesday, March 21, 2006

TO BE WORLDWIDE: Interesting And Impressive

One of the most difficult areas of development to address, while at the same time being one of the most important is the creation of educational facilities that can sustain themselves. And this is just what To Be Worldwide does.

To Be Worldwide is an organization that develops libraries and activity centers and other educational facilities that are sustainable and complementary to existing school systems in developing countries. And their projects enable children to learn by using their theoretical knowledge in a practical and creative environment while at the same time having their skills stimulated in ways that are not typically done within the regular school system. This allows the students a chance to be more valuable in the labor market. In this way, To Be Worldwide believes that they contribute to the improvement of the existing educational systems as a whole.

To Be Worldwide is able to operate as a non-profit organization because it is a member of the American Fund for Charities, a 501(c)(3) Tax-exempt organization. Also, it participates with 'Online Doneren' in order to be eligible to receive tax-exempt donations from online donors.

To Be Worldwide believes that: "Direct investment in education is a proven method in advancing the socio-economic development of nations and communities alike." Stating that "It is all about developing Human Capital;" the organization goes on to say that: "Unfortunately, most of the developing countries lack the necessary institutional capacity to ensure quality and relevance of education." A fact recognized by many of the governments of these developing countries. And many of these nations have sought to make improving the quality of their education part of their whole strategy to reduce poverty.

To Be Worldwide is a Dutch non-profit/non-government organization founded by Nellie Kirschner. The organization currently operates in Ghana as an initial focus area for their activities. The mission of this project is to develop sustainable educational facilities that are complementary to the existing Ghanaian primary school system. Therefore, the facilities are designed to stimulate skills such as creativity, inventiveness and flexibility. All of these are skills that are not initially address by the regular curriculum of the primary school system. To Be Worldwide feels that the development of these skills will eventually provide better chances for the children involved both in life and in the labor market in the future.

The hope is that eventually their vision will contribute to the overall Poverty Reduction Strategy of the Ghanaian Government. Their vision specifically states that in order to develop a healthier, better educated and more productive population it is necessary to: Increase investments in Human Resources, through improving the quality and access to education, health services, nutrition, water and sanitation.

The target group of To Be Worldwide are primarily: children, and these children receive the benefits of the program free of charge /within school hours. Secondly, the organization wants its project to benefit anyone who wants to learn and provides to these people its benefits at a reasonable fee, after school hours.

The learning materials provided are: books and learning modules - which incorporate Ghanaian as well as (African)-American and European examples. Where necessary these materials are supported by audio visual aids and computers.

Within each appointed pilot school the course time is one hour per class per week and the activities include a focus on reading and writing skills and general knowledge. A special focus is placed upon personal development, creativity, inventiveness and flexibility.

Extra attention is also given to developing computer skills for children from10 to12 years of age. These computer skills includes developing basic, technical skills, working with software and working with the Internet.

Additionally, the centers are designed for multi functional purposes and each is used for other activities, such as Aids prevention, health and nutritional projects, as required by the specific community that it serves.

The activites of the project are initiated, coordinated, implemented and evaluated by the project coordinator. The project coordinator is assisted by teachers of the related pilot school, as well as by social workers and volunteers.

Whether the project meets its objective is evaluated by reviewing student work - such as book reports and other tasks and using questionnaires and tests every six months. Incentives such as educational material, stationary, school uniforms et cetera will be offered in order to motivate the students' performance.

It is clear that this project of To Be Worldwide has the respect of the international community because it has received funding from: European Community, Unicef, other 'grant programmes' as well as from private sources. The Ghanaian Ministry of Education will ultimately finance the pilot and the other centers to be developed after the current project is operational. The organization also is a parther of Computers For Development . To Be Worldwide is still pro-actively looking for new sponsors, however, and you can find out how you can help by going to their web site.

You can also find out more information about its Pilot Project by going to To Be Worldwide's web site. The project is the Educational Resource Centre located in Takoradi, Western Region, Ghana.

The pilot project has four Phases which include:

Library (Phase 1)

Related activities (Phase 2)

Computer training (Phase 3)

Other activities (Phase 4)

I could tell you about each of the phases here, but then you would have less reason to go to To Be Worldwide's web site. The pilot program of To Be Worldwide is as interesting as it is impressive, and I strongly urge you to go and take a look at To Be Worldwide .

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