torek, oktober 09, 2012

Intervju s prostovoljko INFOPEKE Ines Kavgić o njeni izkušnji prostovoljskega dela v Gani, 8. oktober, Planetbook:

Interview with Ines Kavgik. Ines visited Ghana for 3 months this summer and presented Planetbook in two schools. Below is an interview describing his amazing experience and what impact Planetbook had in the children.
- What is your specialty and profile in regards to your studies/employment?
My name is Ines Kavgić, and I am a full time student at University of Maribor in Slovenia. I finished my bachelor in Ecology and Nature Conservation at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and I am currently doing the last year of my masters (Environmental Engineering at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering).
Aside from my studies I am an active volunteer at a local NGO MISC INFOPEKA for more than 2 years now, and am also somewhat involved with other, mostly Slovenian, NGOs (Voluntariat, Umanotera etc.). I regularly attend international seminars, mostly discussing issues on the topic of environment (e.g. Seminar Youth in Charge Armenia 2011; I was the team coordinator for the Sustainable Environment workshop).
- What was the name of the town and schools you visited in Ghana?
I worked in two schools in Ghana. I worked in two different villages, Azani and Butre, both in the Western region of Ghana, but I was accommodated between the two in the village of Busua (Busua Community Library). I worked with children aged 9-14 mostly attending Primary School (some attended Junior High School).
- How much time did you spent there and what was the purpose of your visit?
I was there for almost 3 months, July-October. The main purpose of my visit was volunteering/teaching children about the environment.
This project was a part of GLEN (Global Education Network), and the internship in Ghana was hosted by the local NGO Embracing Hidden Talents Network, which works to promote importance of education and empowerment of women. It offers voluntary educational support programs to selective deprived communities in Ghana and else where to help combat child labour practices and provides educational support and health care services to needy children living in rural communities.
- How many kids are living in the orphanage and what is the average age?
In the SCHOOLS that my tandem partner (Sofia Getzin from Germany) and I worked in we had a group of approximately 40 children (20 in each school). The age varied between 9 and 14. During July-September our “Environmental Watchdogs Funclub” was a part of the vacation program, after the school started in September it became a part of the afterschool program.
- What are their day to day activities?
Kids attend classes between 8 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. Sometimes there is practice to have extra classes till 4 o’clock for the kids in J.H.S. (Junior High School). Aside from school a lot of children are involved with helping their parents on the farm after school and for the weekends.
- How was Planetbook adjusted in their day to day activities?
Throughout the whole three months that Sofia and I were conducting the workshops regarding environment, we tried to present everything through games and activities. To keep the kids interested we did a lot of role playing, a lot of crossword puzzles and worksheets. Planetbook was a summary of everything that we learned. To some extent we adjusted (changed and added) the questions in order for the kids to comprehend what knowledge they have gained and what is still left for them to discover. These are the kids who have never before heard of “the greenhouse effect”, and unfortunately there is only so much you can teach them in three months, and we had difficulties with questions regarding NGOs, because we did not learn about them at all. You need to keep in mind that even though these kids are very smart and eager to learn, there is the language barrier, not to mention that they live half way across the world and are therefore faced with different priorities and challenges than those in Europe, where the game was originally designed. However, they could not hide the anticipation in their eyes as they were waiting to be asked the question, and smiles when they answered the questions correctly. :)
- What was their first reaction to Planetbook?
It was expressions of amazement and whispers of “wow”. They always like new colorful and shiny things. If they cannot eat it, the next best thing is playing it. :) They were carefully listening while the instructions were being read, and once we started playing there was not only rivalry between the opponents, but also childish dispute among individuals within the teams about who gets to roll the dice. :) Once we finished playing the game, they of course wanted to go another round, and every next day they would ask if we would play the game today again.
- Did they enjoy the game?
They enjoyed the game very much. I believe it gave them a sense of accomplishing something, conformation that paying attention in class and learning something is an advantage. I think it also gave them a new perspective of the environment and the importance of keeping it clean. So there is no doubt in my mind that the game combines fun with learning in a child-nice way.
- For which of the zones did the kids express their most interest? Grey Zone, Hope and Participation Zone or Saving the Planet Zone?
I would say second zone (Hope and Participation) was the one they liked the most. I believe it was because of the diversity of questions; when we were learning, workshops were in a way separated the topics to water, air and soil as well – so this was a familiar concept to them. Also I believe what intrigued them were the countless of possibilities that could happen. Everything was left by coincidence, especially if they would jump squares or be lead back by the oil hose.
- What do you think was the most valuable learning point for them?
From what I observed I would say that the most valuable learning point was that they themselves have an influence. When doing the workshop we had countless of activities on promoting “care for environment”, so it is no wonder that when the action card would pop up they would all jump in anticipation – that is when they got the feeling that they are making a contribution, and that is what we tried to encourage.
- How many times did you play Planetbook?
We played the game twice in each school, and in the final week, where we invited the children participating in the “environmental watchdogs funclub” from both schools for the final event day, we played the game again. This time it was a battle between the schools. The game was very exciting, at times one school would be leading, and then other times (in a different zone) another would take over, so they were tied the whole way. And because schools in Ghana try very hard not to make a difference we have agreed that the last question would be an activity and if they all do it, they would all be winners. :)