Hsue February 2009

Name: Weihow Hsue
Post: Alfa Koara
Contact: Email
Pickup Location: Parakou
Brief Project Description: The students of the environmental club of the primary school of Alfa Koara will be painting an endangered species mural in the local museum for W National Park. The mural will be 280 cm long and 190 cm high. A total of ten animals will be painted, each with a label that includes the name of the species in French, the scientific name, a brief list of habitats, whether it is a carnivore or an herbivore, and its conservation status. The animals are: the Hippopotamus, the African Manatee, the African Rock Python, the Senegal Hartebeest, the African Wild Dog, the White-faced Whistling Duck, the Lion, the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, the Cape Clawless Otter, and the African Spurred Tortoise. The smaller animals will be painted by one student, while the larger animals will be painted by a group of two students. All the students will receive help from Peace Corps volunteers and the club advisor throughout the whole painting process.

In order to facilitate capacity-building, an overview of the principles of mural painting will be taught during club meetings in the weeks prior. In the first session, students will learn how to use the grid system to transfer images of their animals from one paper to the other. In the second and third sessions, the students will learn how to mix colors using art paint and practice painting on paper. In the final fourth session, the students will compose short stories about their animals (in local language or in French), and present them to the other club members in order to better understand and appreciate their chosen species. A few chosen stories, from both boys and girls, will be translated into French and edited for display along with the mural.

Dates of Project: February 18th-22nd, 2009 (The four introductory club sessions will occur on January 21st, January 28th, February 4th, and February 11th, 2009)
Number of People Involved: 16 primary school students (8 boys and 8 girls), 1 male advisor, and 5 Peace Corps volunteers (2 men and 3 women) will be directly involved in the painting process. Once the mural is finished, all the villagers, which consist of around 4,000 people, will potentially be able to see and learn from the mural. Countless tourists who come by and visit the museum will also be able to enjoy and appreciate the mural.
Budget:

Item Description Number Cost
White oil-based paint (4kg) all the paint that will be used for the mural 1 13,000
Colorant to provide color to the white paint 4 12,000
Brushes (small set) to paint in small details 2 5,000
Brushes (size 1") to pain in larger areas (same for all the following brushes) 4 1,000
Brushes (size 1.5") 5 1,500
Brushes (size 2") 5 1,750
Brushes (size 2.5") 5 2,000
Brushes (size 3") 5 2,500
Varnish to provide a protective coat for the finished mural 1 7,000
Petrol (1 liter) to wash and clean the oil-based paint 2 1,100
Soap for the painters to wash their hands 1 125
Carpenter pencils to trace the outlines of the animals 6 750
Chalk to draw in the grid system 3 75
Ruler (30 cm) to draw straight lines 2 500
Solani (yogurt) to give a nice treat to the hardworking students and club advisor (not including the volunteers) 17 1,700
Total 50,000 CFA

Amount Requested: 50,000 CFA

Comments

GAD Coordinator: This is a fantastic project! The application is professionally written and concise, the budget is very specific, and the project design itself truly goes above and beyond. This is a model GAD Small Project, and I think it should be reprinted in the next KoKoKo in its entirety, if only to give Volunteers a strong model for the ever-popular mural or map project. I enthusiastically recommend funding!

GAD Finance: I completely agree with you Erin. I am very impressed by the way he detailed who was involved in a very complete manner, and am happy to see that the students will be intimitly involved with painting the mural themselves. It is also very proffessionally written and he states he will plan way ahead with the students. I also agree it should be reprinted in the Kokoko. Recommend Funding .

GAD Specialist: I totally agree with both of you. I was all "wows" as I was reading it.

Closing Report

Brief Description of Project: The students of the environmental club of the primary school of Alfa Koara painted an endangered species mural in the local museum for W National Park. The mural was 277 cm long and 185 cm high. A total of ten animals were painted, each with a label that included the name of the species in French, whether it is a carnivore, an herbivore, or an omnivore, and its conservation status. The animals were: the Hippopotamus, the African Manatee, the African Rock Python, the Senegal Hartebeest, the African Wild Dog, the White-faced Whistling Duck, the Lion, the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, the Cape Clawless Otter, and the African Spurred Tortoise. The smaller animals were painted by one student, while the larger animals were painted by a group of two students. All the students received help from Peace Corps volunteers and the club advisor throughout the whole painting process.

In order to facilitate capacity-building, an overview of the principles of mural painting were taught during club meetings in the weeks prior. In the first session, students learned how to use the grid system to transfer images of their animals from one paper to the other. In the second and third sessions, the students learned how to mix colors using art paint and practiced painting on paper. In the final fourth session, the students learned about the distinguishing characteristics of mammals, birds, and reptiles. They then proceeded to identify which group their chosen species belonged to.

Number of People Involved and Age Range: 16 primary school students (8 boys and 8 girls), 1 male club advisor, and 5 Peace Corps Volunteers (2 men and 3 women). The students were either from CM1 or CM2, the last two grades of primary school; they were generally around 9-15 years old. The advisor was around 45 years old.

What Were the Goals/Objectives of This Project? In order to increase their understanding and appreciation for the protected species of W National Park, 16 students should have learned about and painted 10 different animals for the local museum. Each painting should have been completed with a label that included the name of the species in French, the scientific name, a brief list of habitats, whether it is a carnivore or an herbivore, and its conservation status. In addition, a handful of short stories written by the students should have been edited and displayed along with the mural. Finally, by the end of the project, the students and the club advisor should have gained a general sense of how mural paintings work.

Were Those Goals/Objectives Met? In general, the objectives of the project were met, but not completely. All 10 animals, along with their labels, were fully painted. However, the labels were originally supposed to include the scientific names and the habitat information of the animals as well. Due to issues of space and time, these were taken out. Also, despite encouragements from PCVs, the students did not want to compose short stories for the mural, which might have been because of lack of confidence, lack of experience in creative expressions, lack of motivation, or any combination thereof. Instead, the students just went over the importance of animals and protected preserves with the volunteers. Finally, although their understanding is not complete (possibly from age), the students have developed a general grasp on the principles of mural paintings.

What Were the Strengths of This Project? Creative art can be a very powerful learning experience. Because their understanding of French and biology is limited, the students were not able to learn critically about biodiversity and conservation through discussions and illustrations. Still, the students had a chance to grow close to their chosen species and explore creative avenues that were never before available to them. In the end, despite limited understanding of concrete concepts, the students still felt like they accomplished something great and worthwhile.

The students were also surprisingly competent during the entire painting process, most likely due to all the practice sessions beforehand. All the visiting volunteers and adults were very impressed with the students, given their age.

What Were the Challenges/Weaknesses of This Project? The main challenge of the project was to get the students to compose short stories for the mural. As an alternative, the volunteers even tried to get the students to retell local folklore that had animals in them, and they still refused. Short stories might have been too large of a jump for most students, given their language abilities. Next time, if a similar project were to be conducted, the students can maybe instead just come up with a scenario for their drawn animals, such as what they may have eaten for lunch, where they were that morning, what are they going to do for the rest of the day, etc.

Do You Consider This Project Completed? Yes

Budget:

Item Number Cost
White oil-based paint (4 kg) 1 13,500
Black paint (small can) 1 900
Colorant 4 12,600
Brushes (small set) 2 4,900
Brushes (1” size) 4 1,000
Brushes (1.5”) 5 1,500
Brushes (2”) 5 1,750
Brushes (2.5”) 5 2,000
Brushes (3”) 5 2,500
Varnish 1 8,000
Petrol (1 liter) 2 1,200
Soap 1 125
Carpenter pencils 6 750
Chalk 3 75
Ruler (30 cm) 2 500
Solani (yogurt) 12 1,200
Discounts -2,100
Total 50,400 CFA
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