As many of you know, I went to Bankondji, Cameroon last August (2016) to lead a teacher training for the Aumazo tutoring program, a program designed to bring up the academic level of middle-school girls in the village to allow them to pass the high school entrance exam (I blogged about it day by day—you can go to the beginning of this blog and read upwards to learn what I was doing and my experience of it). For much of this past school year I worked with the head of the Aumazo program, Jacqueline Audigé, to support the teachers from afar. My involvement lessened in the spring, as the teachers grew more comfortable and the program was running smoothly.
After a whirlwind month of travel and conferences in June (the AP French reading in Cincinnati; the IGNITE conference sponsored by the Cherokee Nation in Talequah, OK; and the Comprehensible Cascadia conference in Portland, OR), I finally had the chance on Monday to sit down with Jacqueline and her son Olivier, who lives in Bafang and oversees the program on site.
After a tough winter in which Aumazo was confronting obstacle after obstacle, including a continued lack of regular funding, I was delighted to hear several pieces of extremely good news:
- Six girls in the village who took the BEPC (Brevet d’études du premier cycle), the high school entrance exam, passed. Of these six girls, five were in our tutoring program. (Last year, only three passed.)
- After a ten-year wait, Aumazo has finally received the ministerial decree giving official authorization to open the Aumazo high school.
- A funder has committed to raise the $11,000 needed to bring water to the school site, which will enable Aumazo to build the sanitation facilities needed to start using the one building that has already been built. Together with the official authorization that Aumazo received, this means that the Aumazo school will be able to open in September 2018.
- The tutoring program will operate for one more year as a continued bridge program as we await the school’s opening. The teachers that I trained last year will continue to run the program.
- Jacqueline plans to have me back in Cameroon next summer to train the teachers for the school as it opens. As much as I would have liked to be back this summer to do a follow-up training for the tutoring program, I agree that the money is better spent concentrating on the school itself. The tutoring program is only a bridge program as we awaited the paperwork and funding to make the school a reality.
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