Category Archives: Teacher Training

Christmas Appeal 2009

It’s that time of year when we all start thinking about Christmas (or trying not to!).

Last year Nyodema ran an e-card campaign and raised enough money to pay for one of the teachers at Jeddah Progress Nursery School,  Fatou Jallow, to continue with her teacher training course for the year (last year’s campaign).

Let’s see if we can do even better this year. For those of you who didn’t see it we’ve attached last years ‘card’ and as well as a new design.

All you need to do is, rather than buying stacks of Christmas cards this year, copy one of our e-cards below into an email to all your friends – a much more enviromentally friendly way of wishing people a Happy Christmas.

The money you save on buying cards and postage can be donated to Nyodema’s Christmas Card Appeal (please email for details).

It’s a bit early but on behalf of everyone at Nyodema, the teachers and students of Jeddah Progress Nursery School may we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous (fingers crossed!) New Year.

Florida medical students

First Aid and Dental Hygiene Training

In 2008  we put a group of American medical students from Florida in touch with Brikama Hospital. As well as taking out much needed medical equipment and carrying out an immunisation programme, they have become involved in several medical research projects in The Gambia. At our request they also delivered some first-aid training to the teachers at the nursery school we support. The training covered the most common illnesses in The Gambia (including symptoms, emergency treatment and preventative measures) as well as emergency first-aid treatment, particularly with respect to injuries (open wounds, fractures etc).

In 2009 the students returned to the school and gave the teachers a lecture on dental hygiene. They also distributed toothbrushes and toothpaste to the children.

Nyodema would like to thank all the students for their on going support of Jeddah Progress Nursery School

Sponsoring a teacher through college

Fatou Jallow

One of the most promising teachers at Jeddah nursery school is Fatou Jallow. Her enthusiasm and drive for excellence stands out in class and in her overall attitude to her work. Fatou is part way through her teacher training qualification at The Gambia College, and now lacks sponsorship for years 2 and 3. Nyodema will be sponsoring Fatou’s remaining 2 years at college to ensure she qualifies and is able to make the most of her ability.

We wish Fatou every success in the future.



Teacher Training in ‘phonics’

Although English is the official language in The Gambia most children grow up speaking one of the tribal languages. As English is the primary language spoken in secondary education and in business it is essential that children start learning as soon as possible. Many of the parents have little or no English, especially women.

Phonics is an interactive method of teaching English involving actions and sounds associated with letters and words. Many schools in the UK use it and The Gambian government is now looking to introduce it in all government funded junior schools, however, this will be a very slow process and does not extend to infant schools.

In June ‘07 we visited another infant school in The Gambia that uses phonics, with Jeddah’s head teacher Lamin Saho. We were all very impressed with the standard of teaching and the children’s English and Lamin was very keen to bring phonics to his school.

Since then Nyodema has worked with the approved trainer Sainey Gibba to provide training for the teachers at both the infant school and the junior school next door.

“On subsequent visits to the schools we have been very impressed with how quickly the teachers and the children are progressing. There has been excellent feed-back from the teachers who have suggested that other schools in the area would also benefit from the training.” Kathryn


Teachers on Nyodema's first Phonics Training Course

Teachers on Nyodema's first Phonics Training Course


Jeddah 3

Training for teachers from other infant schools in the Brikama area has been organized to coincide with our June ‘09 visit. This will be Nyodema’s fourth Phonics course. Nyodema has also provided over-sized “Jolly Phonics” books and other teaching aids for all the schools that take part in the training.


 For more photographs of Nyodema’s projects in The Gambia please click here.

A week of Song in The Gambia

I have recently returned from another wonderful week in The Gambia with my fellow Nyodema trustee, Shelagh Hamilton. This time our friend, Andrea Encinas, an experienced vocal coach, joined us. Andrea, originally from Trinidad, came to England as a nurse. She is now the director of British Gospel Arts, books choirs for The South Bank Centre, sings with the London Community Gospel Choir (you may have seen her singing at the FA Cup Final at Wembley in May!) and is studying for an MBA in Arts Management.

Well I’m pleased to say Andrea has fallen in love with The Gambia and I’m sure this will be the first of many visits.

Singing Lessons at Jeddah School Singing Lessons at Jeddah School

We had a very hectic week. Singing (and dancing) at Jeddah Progress Nursery School, Brikama was definitely one of the highlights. Andrea taught everyone some traditional Afro-Caribbean songs and the school choir from Farrato sang a mixture of English and African songs for us. Andrea’s enthusiastic approach was contagious as children, teachers and parents joined in this cultural exchange.

The recently formed drama group performed a couple of delightful short plays including one about learning English the ‘Jolly Phonics’ way and another about malaria prevention. I can’t explain how it felt to see two little girls playing, Kathryn and Shelagh, handing out mosquito nets. These two days were an excellent way to strengthen the bond between Nyodema and the local community.

Another Nyodema sponsored, teacher training course in ‘phonics’, took place over the next two days. This is a method of teaching English widely used throughout the UK and is proving to be a great success in The Gambia.

During the week we also managed to fit in a radio interview on Unique FM, a singing workshop at a Gospel church in Bakau and a visit to Serrakunda market. Andrea also took part in a couple of informal yet inspirational performances with local musicians.

The Malaria Play The Malaria Play

As Andrea had never been to the Gambia before we took a day out to explore the area, looking at different housing conditions etc. Andrea was shocked at the extent of the poverty in The Gambia (and since being back has already started raising money for Nyodema).

I mustn’t forget to mention the children’s clothes and toys that we distributed throughout the week, in particular, 14 cuddly toys donated by Elsie, the three year old daughter of another Gambia Experience staff member. After looking at some photographs of Gambian children, Elsie decided that she did not need all her toys. On Boxing Day last year she sorted out all the ones she didn’t play with anymore and asked her Mum to give them to children in Africa. This was entirely her idea. Well done, Elsie!

Elsie was delighted to see the photos of her toys in Africa.

Our last night was spent dancing until the early hours to an excellent reggae/salsa band in a bar on the Senegambia strip. The following day Andrea and I said our goodbyes to the wonderful staff at our hotel (Sunset Beach in Kotu) who had made us feel so welcome and headed off to the airport.

Shelagh stayed on to organise the distribution of more mosquito nets and to meet the medical students from Florida who ran the first-aid teacher training course for us at Jeddah Progress Nursery School last year. This visit they ran a dental hygiene course for the teachers and supplied toothbrushes etc for the children.

Elsie's Teddy Elsie’s Teddy

Each time I visit The Gambia I learn so much, make numerous new friends and return home with many happy memories. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this wonderful week. I’m very lucky to be part of ‘Nyodema’.


For more photographs visit Nyodema’s Flickr stream