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people and places

Supporter for Pre-School

Kololi, Gambia

Volunteer to share your pre-school and creative learning skills in a nursery school in The Gambia. Work with teachers to help them develop ECD skills.

About the Program

This program supports the development of pre-school education in The Gambia.  Volunteers will work with a well respected Gambian educator,  Lisong Bah, who trained in Sweden and the United States and is recognised as a leading practitioner in early childhood development (ECD) in The Gambia.

Possible Volunteer Tasks

Mrs Bah has identified the kind of volunteers she needs to support her work.  She would like:

  • early childhood development professionals
  • nursery and pre-school teaching assistants
  • TEFL experts
  • creative play development
  • child counsellors
  • arts and crafts teachers
  • help with classroom management techniques
  • child nutritionists
  • people willing to share ideas with local teachers about maximising available free resources and low cost items
  • education administrators
  • people with the skills to develop curricula and training materials
  • teacher trainers

Why this is important

Nurseries are not government funded in The Gambia and many parents struggle to pay the fees. There is precious little to spend on equipment, and where there are resources there is often little knowledge as to how to use them creatively – children have so little opportunity for learning through play. Facilities vary greatly – from good to barely non-existent. Many ‘schools’ have as many as 60 to a class with only one member of staff, and when he or she is absent they just have to double up with another class as there is no supply teaching facility available. There is little or nothing in the way of equipment apart from a few pencils and chalk. Most of the learning is by rote and some classroom walls are completely bare.

The Gambian government has identified ECD as a priority and is committed to providing pre-school places to all Gambian children. A meaningful and accredited ECD programme has been developed, however Early Childhood Development professionals are practically non-existent in The Gambia and this appeal seeks to address that problem.

To address these problems Mrs Bah founded Futures Training Foundation (FTF). The aim of the Foundation is to work alongside the government to run training courses and provide resources to help raise the standards of ECD teaching. Suitably qualified volunteers help to support her with this work, helping to develop training modules and teaching materials and helping to plan and run workshops.

FTF’s premises include a model nursery school which opened in January 2014 – Mary’s Little Lambs (MLL) Daycare and Nursery School. The school has the capacity to take 36 children between the ages of 2 and 6, in three classes. Most of the children come from poor backgrounds in the local neighbourhood. Four teachers are employed at the school, and it is likely that volunteers would spend most of their time here, working alongside these teachers to share good practice.

Your Role as a Volunteer

The FTF offices and model nursery school are on the same site, in a family compound in a traditional residential area of Kololi. Volunteers will be based here, working alongside Mrs Bah and other local teachers. The exact work they will be doing will depend on their individual placement outline, written to maximise the use of their skills and experience to meet local needs. Most volunteers will spend most of their time in the nursery, working alongside the teachers there to share good practice. Any volunteer whose placement outline includes an element of teacher training may well also accompany Mrs Bah on visits to other local nursery schools.

Volunteers are not expected to bring any materials with them - in fact Mrs Bah would much prefer volunteers to use their imaginations to help create teaching materials from locally available free materials such as stones from the beach, instead of encouraging dependence on teaching materials not easily accessed in The Gambia.

Typical day

The nursery school is open from 9.00 to 16.00 Monday to Thursday and 9.00 to 13.00 on Friday.  

However a volunteer's exact hours will depend on their placement outline - for example if they are helping wit a training workshop this will happen outside of school hours.  Precise details will be provided an part of the application process or on arrival in The Gambia. 

Details on Arrival

Volunteers may join this program at any time.

Free-time activities

Our local partners can help you organise activities and trips for your free time. 

This might involve trips up-country, to experience life in the more rural areas higher up the River Gambia.  You could go to parts of the river important for bird-watching as there are many unusual species to be seen in The Gambia.  

Or you could visit settlements such as Juffure and Jamestown, important for their history as part of the slave trade.  

Alternatively you may want to stick to the wonderful sandy beaches close to where you are living and working.

Swimming
Hiking
Sports

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s). Of course, there is an exception for children that are accompanied by their parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Health Declaration
required
Criminal Background Check
required
Education Requirements
at High school level
Required Documents
Life story and references
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
We work closely with the local people who manage this project and they have identified their primary volunteer needs:
- ECD professionals
- nursery and pre-school teaching assistants
- TEFL experts
- creative play development
- child counsellors
- arts and crafts practitioners
- child nutritionists
- education administrators
- curriculum development
- training program design and implementation
- brochure and print resource development
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 16:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
50+

Any questions? Just ask. We at people and places are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
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Included Services

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Services by people and places

Included:

  • home stay bed and breakfast accommodation
  • airport transfers
  • full local orientation
  • city tour
  • social event
  • local SIM card
  • project and placement liaison
  • contribution to project, which will be used for the purchase of essential equipment and teaching aids.  Previous donations have been used to purchase training equipment and educational toys.

Airport Pickup at Yundum International Airport

When you leave the arrivals hall you will be met by our local partner, carrying a sign with your name on, and will be driven to your accommodation which is about 20 minutes away from Banjul International Airport

Accommodation

You will stay in the comfortable home stay of renowned Gambian cook Ida. You will have your own room with a fan, and there is an inside bathroom with a shower.  

There are three bedrooms for volunteers so you may have other volunteers to share the house with. There is a well equipped kitchen and a communal sitting room with TV. The house is in a traditional family compound and is close to shops and a mini-market.

Self catering or small hotel accommodation can also be arranged at additional cost.

Guest Family Bedroom (Single)
Food & Beverages

Breakfast only. You can arrange to eat at your home stay for a small additional cost, or eat at one of the many restaurants in the tourist area.

We do not ask your hosts to suddenly produce a five course meal – rather they should look at adding to their regular pot.

Traditional cooking is basic and tasty - encompassing meat (chicken or beef), fish, vegetables and rice. Ida is a renowned cook and runs cookery courses for tourists visiting The Gambia, so you will eat well if you choose to eat at home!  

Special dietary requirements can be catered for, but you are asked to let your home stay host know in advance.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Yundum International Airport (BJL) in Banjul. We assist you to find cheap flights to Gambia.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Gambia provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Gambia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Gambia.
Costs (Prices in USD)
4 weeks (min. stay)
$1,503.00
5 weeks
$1,730.00
6 weeks
$1,957.00
7 weeks
$2,183.00
8 weeks
$2,410.00
9 weeks
$2,637.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$3,317.00
Average fees
$326.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Kololi/Gambia between 4 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. people and places will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Gambia.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with people and places during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
Africa Western Africa the Gambia Kololi, 95 Bertil Harding Highway
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