Bassila January 2010

Proposal

Post: Bassila
Dates of Project: Afternoons and weekends in February 2010, culminating February 19, 2010.

Brief Project Description:
A mural will be painted on the outdoor wall of the administrative office at a Private Secondary School to promote the enrollment of girls in school.

Community members are the primary organizers of this project. The school’s director requested that the Peace Corps Volunteer organize an extracurricular activity with the student to give them experience in project management and promote the active participation of girls at school. The PCV proposed the idea of painting a mural to students in the first, second, and third years of secondary school, and students interested in participating proposed mural themes. The majority of participants expressed an interest in an “All Girls to School” mural. At a project planning meeting on December 2, 2009, the students suggested that the mural be painted as follows:
The center of the mural will depict three girls, each wearing the uniform of a different secondary school (private school: blue and dark blue; public secondary school: khaki; secondary school: green and yellow.) Two of the girls will wear shoes (black) and carry bags (blue and green) to demonstrate that wealthy and poor families alike can send their daughters to school. The right side of the mural will depict a girl wearing green cloth and carrying a bowl on her head. A large red X will bar this girl. The left side of the mural will say “All Girls to School” in large red letters and “Yes to the education of girls. No to the exploitation of children,” in smaller black letters.

Funds are requested to purchase the following enamel paints:
 1 large container of white paint for the mural background
 1 large container of black paint for outlining, lettering, and details
 1 medium container of brown paint for skin
 1 medium container of dark blue paint for the private school uniform
 1 medium container of blue for the private school uniform, a book bag, the bowl; and the Peace Corps logo
 1 medium container of green for the secondary school uniform, a book bag, and the cloth outfit
 1 large container of yellow for the secondary school uniform (note: a medium-sized container is not available in the PCV's post, but the PCV will search in other cities for a smaller container and return excess funds to GAD)
 1 medium container of khaki paint for the public secondary school uniform
 1 medium container of red for the large X, lettering; and the Peace Corps logo
Funds are also requested to purchase several paintbrushes of various sizes, gasoline to clean brushes and hands, and juice (bisap) for the students as they paint.
The PCV’s mother, an educator and artist, worked with participants to paint the mural outline on December 30, 2009, using supplies from a previous GAD Small Project. Her involvement supports the Peace Corps’ goals of cross-cultural exchange between Americans and host-country nationals.
Participants will work after school on weekdays and on Saturday mornings, with the help of the PCV and the school director, to complete the painting. The project will culminate on February 19, 2010 with a presentation by the students at the school’s “Cultural Days” celebration. In addition to promoting student empowerment through planning and execution of this project, this painting will continue to convey a message supporting girls’ educational attainment to the 212 students who attend private school daily, and furthermore, to the residents of the PCV's post, who will be able to see the mural.

Number of People Involved:
One Peace Corps Volunteer is involved in coordinating the project, purchasing supplies, and assisting with painting. The PCV’s mother also helped with initial stages of painting during her visit to Benin in December 2009. One male school director is involved in coordinating the project and will help complete the painting. Thirteen female students and twelve male students volunteered to participate in the project. They suggested the mural’s theme and elaborated the specific design elements to include, and they helped the Volunteer write the budget. They will complete the painting of the mural. Two-hundred and twelve students currently attend the secondary school and will see the mural every day; the mural is expected to last for several years.

Budget:

Item Number Unit Price Cost
Large container of white enamel paint 1 7.500 7.500
Large container of black enamel paint 1 8.000 8.000
Medium container of brown enamel paint 1 2.500 2.500
Medium container of dark blue enamel paint 1 4.000 4.000
Medium container of blue enamel paint 1 2.500 2.500
Medium container of green enamel paint 1 2.500 2.500
Large container of yellow enamel paint 1 8.000 8.000
Medium container of khaki enamel paint 1 2.500 2.500
Medium container of red enamel paint 1 2.500 2.500
Number 4 paintbrush 8 500 4.000
Number 2 paintbrush 2 300 600
Thin paintbrush 2 350 700
1 liter gasoline 3 600 1.800
Juice bags (bisap) 25 100 2.500
Total Cost 49.600 CFA

Amount Requested: 49.600 CFA

Activity Report

Number of People Involved:

1 adult male HCN
1 adult female American visitor
2 adult female PCVs
13 female students
12 male students

Goals/Objectives of This Project

The first goal of this project was to involve students proactively in the fight for girls’ education. The second goal of this project was to convey a message about the importance of girls’ education to the broader population. The third goal of this project was to give a group of students at CPJN experience in project management.

Were the Goals/Objectives Met

The CPJN students were eager to make a mural promoting girls’ education, which they saw as an important message. All the design elements in the mural were suggested and agreed upon by the students. Through the process of discussing the design, the students were given an opportunity to consider and articulate the importance of girls’ education. The themes of social mobility through educational attainment, children’s rights, the importance of education in general and education of girls specifically, child exploitation, and the financial difficulty of sending a female child to school were all touched on in the debate. Design elements reflecting these various conversations all appear in the mural, giving it depth of meaning. By involving the students in this project, they perhaps became more convinced of the importance of girls’ education themselves. Furthermore, they conveyed this message to their peers and educators at the Cultural Days celebration, and this message will continue to be conveyed to the public due to the mural’s visibility. Thus, the first two goals of this project were successfully attained.

The PCV and director played only a supportive role in this project by advising the students of what steps to take and asking questions to encourage the elaboration of their mural design; the students themselves proposed the mural’s theme and selected the design elements to include. They also created the project’s budget, giving them experience in budgeting. None of the students had experience in painting, so the PCV showed them how to paint and assisted with some of the painting; however, the students did the majority of the painting themselves. Finally, the students wrote and acted the play for the Cultural Days. The students thus had many opportunities to practice project design and implementation, and the third goal of the project was successfully achieved.

Strengths of the Project

The greatest strength of this project was that the students were intimately involved with the design and implementation of the project. The PCV agreed to the message that the students picked, but the message was entirely their own. Boys and girls alike were excited about the mural and participated actively at all steps of the project. The result is a mural that conveys many important messages, and the students were happy and showed ownership of the project.

Challenges/Weaknesses of the Project

Writing on the mural with paint was difficult. The PCV wrote the letters with chalk first, and the students painted over them using a very thin paintbrush. However, it may have been better to ask a professional painter to paint the words or for the use of stencils to make the lettering clearer.

I found that the large (Number 4) paintbrushes broke easily, and so we ended up using more medium-sized (Number 2) paintbrushes than had been planned for. A paintbrush dipped in gasoline could be used to clean up errors or dripping paint.

Budget:

Item Number Unit Price Cost
1 kg green paint 1 2.100 2.100
1 kg red paint 1 2.100 2.100
1 kg brown paint 1 2.100 2.100
1 kg blue paint 1 2.100 2.100
1 kg yellow paint 1 4.500 4.500
Thin paintbrush 2 350 700
4 kg white paint 1 7.500 7.500
4 kg black paint 1 8.000 8.000
Number 4 paintbrush 6 500 3.000
Number 2 paintbrush 7 300 2.100
1 liter gasoline 1 600 600
1 liter gasoline 1 500 500
Juice bags (bisap) 25 100 2.500
Total Cost 37.800 CFA
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