At Mali Rising Foundation, we know that building schools is amazing, but not sufficient when it comes to ensuring real learning for our students. Providing good training to our teachers is one of the most valuable things we can do to keep kids learning. One of the ways Mali Rising Foundation helps our teacher is to host teacher peer meetings. Education experts tell us these meetings are unique in the whole country and makes our village schools different from the others
As part of keeping girls in school, Mali Rising’s Girls Project initiated a new activity that will allow girls to have not only theoretical knowledge but also practical knowledge. This month, our session with the girls focused on "good nutrition.” The purpose of this activity is to teach girls the different nutritious foods, the composition of a balanced breakfast, the importance of breakfast especially for teenagers, how to eat well. The aim is to give girls the love of school through the preparation of new dishes with local products. Our dish of the day was bean dumplings and vegetable salads.
This year, Mali Rising started a new project — the Youth Ambassadors Project. Inspired by a high school student’s fundraising initiative, we decided to channel the great energy of young people here in the U.S. into our work. Our first class of Youth Ambassadors is full of great young people. And some of them have really hit the ground running. For example…
One of the very best days of our recent trip was without a doubt the day of the big soccer match between the Beneko Birds and the Simidji Girls. These two village teams are made up of members of our Girls Groups in two of our three pilot villages for the Girls Project. Sports, and soccer in particular, are an important part of the Project — building grit and resiliency in our girls. And oh my is it working.
Back in September, our generous supporters at the 2018 Soiree sponsored 1,000 textbooks for delivery at Mali Rising schools. A textbook might seem like a small thing to those of us in the United States or Europe, but in Mali classrooms a textbook is a gem. Many schools in Mali have no textbooks at all. Zero. With your help, we’re changing that at Mali Rising’s schools…
Well we had a blast. How about you? The Mali Rising 2018 Soiree is one for the books and it we send out our thanks to everyone who joined us to celebrate the last year and to kick of Mali’s new school year in style.
Thanks to our supporters, each year Mali Rising hosts a week-long training for our teachers. Last school year, we gathered 39 teachers from our 19 middle schools for a training where they learned from experts and grew with their teacher peers. For each training, we evaluate a subset of participating teachers before and after the training. The results are in for our 17/18 school year teacher training!
Looking at this year's DEF results we see something we've seen in previous years -- an incredibly wide variation in pass rates among our schools. Two schools did incredibly well with 98% of their students passing; two schools did incredibly poorly with 0% of their students passing. Nine of our 19 middle schools beat the average national pass rate this year (70%), while 10 did not. Why this incredible variation in results?
The DEF exam in Mali tests 9th grade students as they graduate from middle school. If students pass the test, they are eligible to continue on to higher education. If they fail, they must repeat 9th grade until they succeed. This reality combined with the fact that the DEF test results are the only quantitative measure we have of how much our students are learning means that it’s incredibly important to us to have strong pass rates. Frustratingly, DEF pass rates fluctuate greatly from year to year. Why?
I love working with the data because it shows us where we’re at, where we’ve been, and where we’re going. It’s exciting to track our progress over multiple years, to dig into whether we’re improving or not and why. But as much as data is able to tell us, there is a lot that it can’t tell us, and a lot that is misleading with careful review.