Collaborative GrantProposal:Technical Understanding and Approach

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We are honored to apply for the grant entitiled, "Sustainable Responses for Improving the Lives of Vulnerable Children and their Households."

Our proposal takes the position of empowering the Ugandan people to reach for the goals outlined in this RFA, not just for now but to continue to reach for those goals in the foreseeable future. In America, we pride ourselves in being able to elevate our station in life through education. Every child, whether a legal citizen or an illegal immigrant, whether in good health or with a disability, is entitled to a "free and public education" and encouraged to live the American Dream. We expect each person to sustain him or herself through life by becoming a contributing member of society; but we also enable those who cannot. We are certain that Ugandans want this for themselves and their children as well. For this reason, we plan to invest in the potential that education can provide by fortifying the multi-level educational system that is already in place with curriculum, guidance and connectivity to reach the most vulnerable households over a period of 5 years, to open their world to ours and that of all industrialized nations.

As the population grows, so must our efforts. Empowerment will not be accomplished by one-to-one contact, although that will be part of it. No, empowerment must take on geometric proportions. Starting at the highest levels of the educational system, we propose to bring the educational resources to the population through a muli-tiered initiative. Our collaborative efforts have resulted in a plan to disseminate important information, practical advice, compassionate guidance from the university level down to the upper levels of primary school children. It is in primary school where children learn cooperation, conscience, practical skills and where they should learn problem-solving skills in a protected environment. It is here where parents and caregivers are most involved with their young children and could benefit from a curriculum that provides skills and resources for them as well as their children. The essentials of reading and writing are taught but for what purpose? We must infuse the curriculum with empowering skills such as self-advocacy, food security, healthy living and safety issues. These children then become conduits to the household, providing useful resources and substantive assistance. Parents and caregivers should become aware of the curriculum and encouraged to participate in activities that are self-sustaining.We believe it is these children who will assume leadership roles in th foreseeable future. We believe we can provide a pathway to empowerment and life-long learning.

Time is of the essence: In the time it takes the government to react with policy changes, a generation of children will have completed their limited education. The need is great and so urgent in Uganda where most children complete only primary school, that only an infusion of well-targeted assistance plan can infuse this precious primary education with the tools of the 21st century.

The collaborators on this grant either live, breathe and educate in Uganda or have volunteered their services there. We believe we can stem the tide of overpopulation, unhealthy behaviors and lack of access to resources with a carefully crafted and delivered educational plan. In addition to the people who will deliver instruction, and in addition to the curriculum which will deliver the access to resources, this plan calls for the deployment of XO computers to the primary school children so that they may learn to invest in their own futures and solve their own problems. We must prepare them to do that.

All over the world in underdeveloped countries, volunteers are introducing and deploying thousands of these amazing XO machines to primary schools. Born at MIT, the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative has captured the hearts and most importantly, the minds of the world’s high school and college students, as well as professors and professionals in an effort to provide low-cost computers to the children in underdeveloped countries. All over the world, adventurous souls are training children, teachers and administrators in the value of a computer that instantly networks within a classroom, fosters collaborative learning, and is capable of communicating with the rest of the world. How much better is an education, if not only a village educates, but an international community is enabled to provide the support for children to enter the global economy in their near future! How much better is an Africa where its students have the education, the connections and the love of learning to pursue their dreams!

So what is this XO computer? It is an amazing little machine that looks deceptively like a toy. Instead, it embodies the tools of learning, creative expression and communication so necessary for today’s effective education. From research to writing, from drawing to animation, from email to browsing, this low-cost machine is transformative. In a country where pencils are precious, these machines provide pencil, paper, library, telephone, camera and geographic independence.

In one small little package, it can carry information, skill building activities, survey polls and questionnaires from university professionals down to teachers, to schools, to students, to households. It can document results, record photos and narrations, and feed this information back up to the stakeholders at the universities in the US and Uganda who can deliver results to providers of USAID funding as well as supporting agencies. It is a top down delivery system and a bottoms-up reporting system.

The plan is to connect 5 school districts in Uganda to 4 respective Universities. This will be done through teacher training, access to resources as well as internet connectivity. The plan will call for setting up technological connections and deploying XO computers and servers in the classrooms. Each of these facets are described below:

 

Contents

Curriculum to include Sex-Education, Prevention of Abuse and Exploitation,HIV/AIDS Prevention, Empowering Women

Need
Comprehensive sexuality education is one of the “most important opportunities in breaking the trajectory of the epidemic” (HIV/AIDS), according to the Ex. Director of UNAIDS. Many in Uganda believe that sex education should be taught only in secondary school, and not in primary schools. According to UNESCO, it is “necessary to influence young people and children before they become sexually active.” Over 90% of children in Uganda enter primary school and 40–50% complete seven years of primary education. About 80 percent of children were registered in Grade I to Grade VII in the primary school by the early 2000s Therefore, a majority of youth can be reached through effective school health education. (<a href="http://her.oxfordjournals.org/content/14/3/411.full#ref-14">Statistics Department, 1995a</a>,<a href="http://her.oxfordjournals.org/content/14/3/411.full#ref-15">b</a>,2000).. .
When I taught HIV/AIDS prevention education in approximately six primary schools in Uganda during June 2010 , I observed that many students in Grades 5 and 6 were older than what I would have expected to find. I asked several of these students how old they were and their ages ranged from 12-17 year –olds in each class.
At present, primary school sex education only teaches content regarded suitable for children aged between six and 12 years. The older students become adolescents while in primary school and do not learn from an appropriate sex education curriculum. Therefore, these 12-17 year-olds are not in the 'age-appropriate' range set by the ministry of education and sports national guidelines on HIV/AIDS.
Henry Ntale, Behaviour Change Communication and Advocacy Manager of the Naguru Teenage Information and Health Centre is an activist. Based on the number of young adolescents visiting the health centre daily, Ntale concludes it is necessary to make available relevant sex education information based on age - not education – grade levels. "The ministry assumes that all kids in primary school are still young and not sexually active. So they give them information based on that assumption. It is our concern that when we use the age-appropriate information, those mature boys and girls in primary school need that information,"
Without an effective sex education program , students obtain their sex education from their peers who relate the myths and misconceptions. Examples of myths that are widely accepted by students : developing breasts indicates that a girl is ready to get married; pain with menstruation indicates that one is not able to conceive a baby; the way to get rid of pimples which is the result of excess hormones is to engage in sexual intercourse; the penis will become larger if the boy rapes a girl; their testicles will burst if they don’t have sex; a girl with small breasts can increase their size by having sexual intercourse which will feed her body; if you don't have sex before age 15 a bone grows in the vagina ( Straight Talk Program; observations by Elizabeth Ross )

Nearly half (48%) of children in Uganda are orphaned by HIV/AIDS with either one parent or no parents . During June 2010, I taught HIV/AIDS prevention education to students at Kampala University, St Marks College in Namagoma,students studying to be nurses at Reach Out- Mbuya Parish , secondary schools such as Kololo Senior secondary School and Rise and Shine High School Ntinda in Kampala and primary schools such as St. Catherine Day & Boarding Primary School in Kampala, and the Police School in Kampala.
Initially, I asked the students in primary schools questions about how a person becomes infected with HIV. Their responses were the same from school to school ,” unprotected sexual intercourse and sharing needles.” The response to how can HIV be prevented , students replied, “ abstinence.” When I probed them to determine whether they understood these terms, I realized that they lacked understanding of sexual anatomy, methods of transmission of HIV and HIV . I also realized that students needed a course in sex education. As a result , I changed my approach to the lesson on HIV/AIDS prevention education.
Students in primary schools were now directed to write questions about HIV/AIDS anonymously. I collected them and read them aloud. These are sample questions asked by students.
Some of the questions were “ What is AIDS?”, “ How do you catch AIDS?”, “ “Can you catch AIDS from kissing?”, “ Can you catch AIDS from saliva,?”,Where did AIDS come from?”, “ How do you give AIDS to someone?,” Do you get AIDS from play sex?”, “ Do you get AIDS from needles?”, “ Do you catch AIDS from the blankets and clothing that people with AIDS used?”, “ Do you get AIDS from drinking out of the same glass with someone who has AIDS?” , “ Can you catch AIDS from cutting your finger?” Can AIDS be cured ?” , “ Is there a vaccine to prevent AIDS?”, “ Can you become infected with AIDS through circumcision?” and “ Can you catch AIDS from sharp objects?”
I taught a student government class at one of the large high schools. Students expressed concern over the stigma against people with HIV/AIDS. Many of the questions that I collected in some of the primary schools indicated that the stigma against people with HIV/AIDS is widespread. These students are more likely to believe the myths about HIV/AIDS, for example that they will be infected with HIV if they use blankets by a person with AIDS (PWA) . They lack the facts about transmission and prevention.
At the end of each class in the primary schools, students answered questions that I read aloud as to whether it was a myth or a fact. While they answered these questions correctly, I believe that a lot more must be done for them to replace these myths with facts. Acquiring knowledge alone is insufficient to effect behavior change .
I also taught the students about peer pressure and sex abuse prevention using the “ broken record technique. They practiced saying, “ No , I don’t want to.” This statement is repeated several times when students are pressured to do something that they know and feel is not the right thing to do. What is needed are role plays and other affective instructional strategies to determine whether beliefs and attitudes have changed. I explained that students in the United States are taught this technique to help them fend off sexual pressure.
Qualitative data is provided by my observations in the primary school along with the quantitative data strongly suggests the need for pre service and inservice teacher training to teach the following to primary school children in Uganda :

  • Sex education
  • Child abuse prevention education
  • HIV/AIDS prevention education

Gender equality and empowering women will be folded into each topic listed above .Female condoms are a tool to assist women’s empowerment. Women who use female condoms report an increased sense of power for negotiation of safer sex, and a greater sense of control and safety during sex.
Methodology
Social learning theory, later renamed social cognitive theory( Bandura & Walters, 1963; Bandura, 1977,1994. Pajares,2002) suggests that behavior change is influenced by the environment, by personal reasons, and characteristics of the behavior itself. According to this theory ,self-efficacy is the most important characteristic that determines a person's behavior change. A person who has self-efficacy believes he or she is capable of behavior change and must perceive an incentive to do so Furthermore, the person's positive outlook from performing the behavior must be more important than the negative outlook and value the results that s/he believes will happen as a result of this action.
Self-efficacy can be augmented by establishing clear and concise instructions, by practicing skills or training, and modeling the desired behavior. The models must induce confidence, appreciation, and respect from the observer (student). In addition, the student must believe that the models represent a behavior that the observer believes s/he can accomplish.
Effective school health and sex education programs employ the social cognitive theory (<a href="http://her.oxfordjournals.org/content/14/3/411.full#ref-7">Kirby, 1992</a>) to affect behavior change. The approach is to acquire knowledge, engage in affective strategies and strengthen individual and group norms against unprotected sex (<a href="http://her.oxfordjournals.org/content/14/3/411.full#ref-4">Baldo, 1992</a>; <a href="http://her.oxfordjournals.org/content/14/3/411.full#ref-13">Schincke, 1992</a>).

Train the trainer model

I-Sex education

  • Identity and describe the functions of the male and female reproductive organs
  • List and describe the positive aspects of sexuality: being in love, body changes – menstruation and wet dreams
  • List and describe the negative aspects of sexuality: sexual abuse, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS
  • Describe the process of reproduction and how fertilization of the egg by the sperm occurs
  • Describe how knowledge of the reproductive system and use of birth control methods can empower women
  • Identify birth control methods for males and females that can also prevent sexually transmissible infections(STIs) and transmission of HIV/AIDS
  • Describe how knowledge of the reproductive system and use of birth control methods strengthens and empowers women
  • Explain how knowledge of the reproductive system and use of birth control methods strengthens and empowers women to play an equal role in Ugandan society
  • Explain how educated women will impact Ugandan society

II- Child Abuse and Abuse of Women

  • Define abuse and neglect
  • Define types of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional
  • Define maltreatment ( neglect): physical neglect, emotional neglect, educational neglect
  • Identify indicators of suspected child abuse and suspected child neglect
  • Explain laws and reporting system to report child suspected abuse and neglect to authorities in Uganda
  • Compare the laws to report suspected child abuse and neglect to authorities in Uganda and in the USA
  • Describe instructional strategies to teach prevention of child neglect in Uganda
  • Describe instructional strategies to teach prevention of physical, sexual and emotional abuse of children in Uganda
  • Describe instructional strategies to teach prevention physical ,emotional and educational neglect of children In Uganda
  • Describe instructional strategies to prevent violence and sexual abuse of women
  • Describe why people with disabilities are more likely to be abused

III- HIV/AIDS prevention education
Using age-appropriate vocabulary :
Grades K-3: Learner Outcomes

  • Contrast being healthy and being ill
  • Distinguish between healthy and unhealthy choices
  • Describe how diseases are transmitted
  • Describe how the immune system works
  • Describe how HIV disables the immune system

Grades 4-12- same learner outcomes as above and include the following:

    • Explain that HIV/AIDS is an infectious disease
    • Describe how the immune system works
    • Explain how HIV affects the immune system
    • Explain why women are more likely to be infected with HIV than men
    • Identify methods that will protect women from being infected with HIV
    • Describe how HIV/AIDS can be prevented: abstinence from sexual intercourse and drug use is 100% effective
    • Regard people with HIV/AIDS with compassion
    • Identify ways that family members and friends can help those persons with HIV/AIDS

    Teacher Training

    Access to Resources

     

    Internet Connectivity

     

    XO Computers and Servers

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