Eco-Library Proposal 2012

Fore View

 

List of Acronyms

CC Commune Council
CCWC Commune Committee for Women and Children
CNSR Cambodia’s National Summary Report
DIP Detailed Implementation Plan
DoE Department of Education
DRR Disaster Risk Reduction
ECCE Early Childhood Care and Education
ELP Eco-Library Project
FGD Focus Group Discussion
KII Key Informant Interview
MDG Millennium Development Goal
NER Net Enrolment Rate
SSC School Support Committee
UNHDR United Nation Human Development Report

PROJECT SUMMARY

  • Project Profile
Project Name Eco-Library Project (ELP)
Project Location Sithor Village, Sithor Commune, Ksach Kandal District, Kandal Province
Project Goal To enhance student learning outcomes in Sithor Primary School
Project Outcomes Improved children knowledge through additional reading facilities and materials
Strengthened school and community engagement and participation to improve children’s learning outcome
Project Beneficiaries: Direct beneficiaries:

  • 18 School Teachers (8 Females)
  • 852 school children (387 Females)
Project Start Date February 2013
Project End Date April 2013
Estimated Project Budget USD 4,330.00
Anticipated Funding Sources
Primary Contact for the Project Mr. Rethiya Khan, Choeun Team Leader
Mobile: 855-17-755565
E-mail: rethiyakhan@gmail.com
Website: www.choeun.org

PROJECT RATIONALE

  • Project Selection

Cambodia is striving hard on its way to achieving the education millennium development goal (MDG) of “ensuring all children complete primary schooling by 2015 and if possible expand to nine-year basic schooling.” Remarkable strides have been made over the past decade in improving access to education. The primary school Net Enrolment Rate (NER) in 2009 reveals that Cambodia is on track to fulfilling the MDG target, and the regional inequalities in accessing to primary education have been significantly removed. The achievement of NER between urban, rural, and remote area is equally high (Urban 95.3%, Rural 92.2%, and 90.3%).

Amidst this dramatic improvements in children’s access and completion to basic education, Cambodia comes to a challenge of achieving quality learning outcomes owing to the fact that Cambodian children are not gaining basic competencies in literacy and the desired life skills that they need to succeed in school. The latest United Nation Human Development Report (UNHDR) 2007-2008 indicates that Cambodia’s youth literacy rate is 73.6% while the functional literacy rate under the Non-Formal Education has decreased by 38.62% reported in 2009-2010 Cambodia’s National Summary Report (CNSR) on the Education, Youth and Sports Performance. CSNR 2009-2010 attributed the decrease in percentages due to the following challenges, namely: the shortage of buildings, qualified teachers, learning and teaching materials, the dissemination on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) program has not been comprehensively conducted especially in remote and disadvantaged areas, the decentralization and de-concentration on the management of community learning centers at sub-national level were not  smoothly implemented, and the participation from local authorities and communities was still limited. Aiming for the quality has now become a new trend in addressing education in Cambodia.

Building upon the belief of “making a better future with our little help”, CHOEUN Group was established to put efforts in bringing about positive changes in the lives of poor and vulnerable children in Cambodia. One part of our vision focuses on making chances for children to attain their rights to development in which the education sector is included. In 2011, the team was able to contribute to improving the education quality of school children in a primary school of Baribour district of Kampong Chhnang province. An eco-library was successfully established supporting approximately 500 pupils encouraging them to read more books and educational materials. The project results were widely known and have obtained recognition from the Provincial Department of Education on its contribution to the Cambodian MDG. In this coming 2013, the team plans to do an analogous activity in continuing to provide eco-library to other primary schools. From a baseline survey and a feasibility study, Sithor commune was chosen as the target area, and the eco-library will be established in Sithor primary school.

Sithor commune is located in Ksach Kandal district of Kandal province approximately 60 kilometers from Phnom Penh. It can be reached through National road #6A across the Cambodian-Japan Friendship Bridge and the newly built Prek Tamak Bridge. The commune is home to a total number of 7,379 people in 2011, most of which pursue their livelihood activities of farming and small businesses. There are 4 primary schools and 1 secondary school in 6 sub-administration of this commune.

Sithor primary school is currently hosting 852 school children, of which 387 are girls and 18 school teachers (7 females). There are a total number of 4 buildings but only 2, with 10 classrooms, are presently functioning since the other two are in severe damaged condition.

FOCAL PROBLEM

The following problems were pointed out from our rapid assessment in the forms of Key Informant Interviews (KII) and Focus Group Discussion (FGD). The problems identified were narrowed down to match to the objectives of the project.

Problems Causes
1 Insufficiency of existing library in contributing to the improvement of student’s knowledge
  • Space limitation of the library room
  • Carrying capacity of the library
2 Less children accessing the library and
Low frequency of children accessing the library
  • Low participation from community and school in encouraging student to read

Data Source:
FGDs with school children, community and school committee
KIIs with School director and Commune Chief

There is indeed an existing 8 by 9 meters library within the school compound. The maximum allowance for this room to host children is around 50. However, the room is mostly filled with bookshelves and table which greatly limit the carrying capacity and spaces for student to read. This reduces the maximum number of students entering the library to only around 20 per time. Comparing to the proportion of the total number of students in the school, this small library accounts only for 6% of the students (per time per day), given the fact that children are studying in 2 shifts. The data from the FGD with school children reveals that there are less than 10% of children who go to the library every day. Most of the pupils go to the library two or three times a week (65%) while there are fairly high number of children who never go to the library (15%). 90% of the children confirms they go to the library only once a day.

From this, we could see that the existing library is quite insufficient in attracting student to read the book in a way that it has limited space; thus the performance of this library in contributing to the improvement of children’s knowledge is fairly low.

Another factor contributing to the low access and frequency of children using the library is that school and community’s engagement in pushing students to read at school is not yet strong enough. The parents of course encourage their children to try hard to study read at home but not at school. Some parents do not even realize that there is a library at the school for children to read.

Light of Hope and Opportunity

Despite the low performance of the library and the less frequency of children accessing the library, there is room for this to improve. Upon some sensitization, the children are willing to read more at school. Once there is an improvement in library facility and the push factor from the school and community, the high likeliness in the improvement over the aforementioned problem could be assured.

“We like reading books in the library, but the library room is not big enough, and sometimes it is dark which causes hardship in our reading,” said the school children. The school director agrees with these facts that the room is yet to be big enough to host a big amount of children reading per times and it is not bright enough for student to read. Given this situation, the school director, community, and children suggested another library where children could experience reading in an open space with enough eye-friendly brightness.

Upon the team on-site assessment, the children passionately visualized their imaginary new library, and they even pointed out where this new library should be placed to meet their best interest.

A lot of different pictures have been drawn out by children groups. However, despite the difference in size, shape, and the beauty of the pictures, there is one

Small Case Study:

School children drawing their imaginary library
(Photo by Pitou Phat, August 2012, CHOEUN)

amazing fact in common among those drawings. All children visualized a library in an open space where they could experience the nature around them. This matches best to the library concept we are trying to promote.

Result from children’s drawing (Photo by Pitou Phat, August 2012, CHOEUN)

PROJECT DESCRIPTION
Project Goal
The project has its own goal of enhancing the learning quality and outcome of school children in Sithor Primary School which is located in Sithor commune, Ksach Kandal district of Kandal province. The project aims at establishing an eco-library within the school compound with strong supports from school committees, community members, and local authorities. Two specific outcomes will be imposed to ensure the achievement of the project goal.

Project outcomes and outputs

Outcome 1: Improved children’s knowledge through additional reading facilities and materials

More on to the hard size, this outcome focuses on providing better reading facilities for children so that they could have access more easily to the library and reading materials. Two particular outputs come under this outcome.

Output 1.1: Eco-library established within the school compound

From the visualized children’s concept, the project team will provide an eco-library, adding to the existing one in the school. A school librarian with possibility of assistance from the children council is responsible for bringing out some books from the existing library, placing them on the shelves in the eco-library, and bringing them back once the school hour is finished. A clear role and responsibility and a library management plan is expected from the school so that we can ensure a long-term running and effectiveness of the library.

Output 1.2: Improved/diversified reading materials for children

Having the library has created better space for children to read, but it is not yet enough to improve children’s reading. More child friendly reading materials will be provided to the school. The project team will try to work with identified partners who are willing to provide reading materials to students in order to save the cost.

Outcome 2: Strengthened school and community engagement and participation to improve children’s learning outcome

This outcome emphasizes more on the soft part where he project will use an empowerment method to get as much involvement and participation as possible from the school committees, parents, authorities, and the children themselves. The school committees and parents here are expected to play an important role of assisting and encouraging their children to read more books and do more exercises both at home and school.

Output 2.1: Children’s reading monitoring system established and functioned

Project team will coordinate for a developed a simple system to track children’s reading at their school. This system will be managed by school teachers and used as a tool to communicate with parents and encourage children to read more both in the school library and at home.

Output 2.2: Increased participation from school teachers and parents in supporting children’s reading

At this stage, school teachers will be the main source and the starting point of communication to both children and their parents. Teachers will play an important role in sensitizing and share out to the existing parent-teacher network within their community about their children’s study and progress. The teacher will try to encourage the parents to push their children to read more.

Project beneficiaries

The Eco-Library Project is to be implemented in Sithor Primary School. It is estimated that 18 school teachers (8 females) and school children (387 females) currently in school will benefit from the project. However, the benefit is limited to these numbers of teachers and children. As the library and reading material continues to exist, they will still be able to benefit hundreds more of children in the next generation.

Project Partners

A partnering approach is highly prioritized as the project moves on. Involvement and participation from the following identified partners will be implemented throughout the project life. It is expected that this partnering approach will bring about a strong sense of ownership among the school teachers, parents and children which finally lead to a minimum dependency on the project team. This could ensure a longer run and high likeliness of sustainability of the project.

The following table describes further of the identified partners and their roles and responsibilities within this project.

Partner Name Role in Project
1 District Department of Education Youth and Sports
  • They are direct line authorities in education sector. Their approval and participation is a crucial issue. The DoE will monitor the school progress and how school is managing the eco-library.
2 Commune Council
  • Mobilizing the local community resources that contribute to the ownership and sustainability of the project
3 School support committees
  • Supporting school teachers and director in managing the project progress
  • Push parents to encourage children to read
4 Teachers and school director
  • Support children to ensure teaching quality and that children are coming to school regularly
  • Encourage students to read books in the library
5 Student council
  • Monitor children’s performance and reading progress
  • Encourage their peers to read books at home and in the library

CROSS-CUTTING THEMES
Gender:
The project sees gender issue as one of the vital parts. Women indeed play important role in community development. Despite the fact that there more and more women attending the community development meeting events, the final decision is still strongly influenced by the men. Adding on top of these facts, the tradition concept of not sending girls to school is still running around Cambodian society. Having realized of these issues, equal participation from men, women, girls, and boys are to be achieved at an utmost effort.

Disability:
The project will ensure that the project staffs and partners will be aware of disability concept and the vulnerabilities resulting from disabilities. From the school statistics in 2012, there is no student with physical disability. However, there is one with mental disability. Special attention will be paid on this student. The design of the library building will incorporate the concept of making access to children with disabilities. Shallow slopes will be placed alongside the library stairs.

Child Protection:
This is a critical issue for our team as we are a child-focus group. All staffs are responsible for ensuring the protection of children in every aspect of our work and activity. The project will work to avoid any exclusion or discrimination against children and ensure that the value of every child is reflected in the project implementation. Child participation will be included in all steps of the project: design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

Environment:
Indeed the project team foresees some minor side effects on the environment, especially during the construction period. However, the minimum negative impact on the surrounding environment is highly reassured.

Disaster preparedness, disaster risk reduction (DRR), and emergency:
Climate change has become a global concern as there are higher prevalence and uncertainty of natural disasters all over the world. Climate change adaptation (CCA) and DRR are the major issue to consider in this eco-library project. Children safety while they are reading and learning inside the library need to be assured. The building will be placed closest to the main school building so that children could quickly move to the main school building just in case of emergency such as heavy rain. The building floor is lifted by 600 centimeters higher than the ground level to prevent flash flood that may occur from the rain. (Please see the construction plan in Appendix C for more details.)

PROJECT SUSTAINABILITY

Objectives Category Description
Eco-library building Hard structure The library is expected to directly benefit 850 teachers and children yearly. As long as the building continues to exist, it continues to benefit more and more children in the community. Approximately 150 new students are enrolling every year into the school.
Improved ownership of the project Empowerment As mentioned above, it is not the project team who take full ownership of the project. Instead, the team will hold the school teachers, parents and the children themselves responsible for the newly built eco-library.
Strengthened school teachers and parents Behavior change The school teachers, parents, and school children will become the pushing factors to encourage their students, children, and peers to read more. The outcome from this contributes to both the project goal and the long run of the quality assurance.
  • Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP)

Please refer to the attached Appendix A.

  • Project Budget

Please refer to the attached Appendix B.

  • Appendices

Download PDF file of this Eco-Library Narrative Proposal