Early childhood development centre in Salawe – update from team Alpha five

17th November 2014

14O C3- Blog 7.2

Alex, a venturer in team Alpha five, has kindly written this blog about the work taking place on the Early Childhood Development Project in Salawe. Adam, our volunteer photographer, spent the last week with the group and supplied the photos.

Alex writes,

"Our team arrived in Salawe hoping to be able to really get stuck in to some construction on the Early Childhood Development Centre. We have not been disappointed. The first day on site was spent helping the local “fundis” (skilled workers) place the final bricks along the top of the wall. Once these were in place, the plastering started almost immediately.

Team working at ECD with fundis

The past week has seen almost the entirety of the inside and outside of the classroom and the sanitation block plastered ready for painting. We have been working together with the fundis who are the experts at these tasks. Our role has been more basic - mixing cement and carrying bucket-loads of this inside for plastering.

Shovelling cement



 The team even plastered some of the walls themselves, with Kate, Ben, Tatu and Jackie impressing the local fundis with how quickly they have picked up this tricky skill.

Mixing plaster

The building is now looking a lot different to when our team arrived, just two weeks ago, and we can start to imagine how welcoming it will be for the children when it is finished.

Pre-school building

When not working on the structure of early childhood development centre, our group has really enjoyed running two teaching sessions a week with the kindergarten children who will move into the building on its completion.

Playing with kids

 We’ve been teaching simple English such as the letters of the alphabet and animals.

Teaching the alphabet

We’ve also been continuing to build on the community links set up by the team in the first phase of the expedition. We have planned a variety of community events to hold throughout our time in Salawe, such as holding an action day to show how to build a tippy tap and the importance of hand washing; how boiling water to purify it will stop illness and how to build a small home garden.

Demonstrating hand-washing

child using tippy tap

The group also plan to celebrate World Childrens’ Day by holding a sports day and unveiling a mural we will paint at a local primary school.

Along with having a lot to look forward to, a lot has already been achieved. Another kindergarten has recently been established by the community in Salawe. Tory, Meg, Laura, Dan and Tatu built a tippy tap for the children to use there. We also had some fun using glitter on the children’s hands to demonstrate the proper technique for handwashing.

Putting glitter on hands


Glitter washed off clean hands


Carly with kids

We also built another tippy tap outside a local church and members of the congregation later visited our camp to find out how to build their own tippy taps.

We are also running a weekly session at a local primary school to raise awareness for such issues as handwashing, clean environment and the importance of sanitation, a topic on which Ahmadi gave a passionate speech to students.

Despite a very busy timetable, we make the most of our spare time, playing with the children or heading to the market to enjoy a cold drink and a mandazi (a kind of doughnut).

Playing with children

Some of us are also making good use of the local tailor to ensure we have our own unique clothes to wear when we return home.

We are definitely working hard during this phase but, at the same time, having a lot of fun."