Impact report on school #2

February 26, 2020 | Filed under: charity | school

I just got a big info dump about the second school I paid for in Cameroon. Also lots more pics. For the first time I got proper pics of the old school (before we had pics of a different school, which eventually we changed from to this site):

which doesnt look too good and had numerous issues:

“Since 4 out of 7 seven available classes had dilapidated and were
abandoned, only the 3 available classes in a manageable state could be
effectively used. Classes 1 and 2 had to share a single classroom, classes 3 and 4 and classes 5 and 6 also shared a room respectively. The classrooms were therefore overcrowded making teaching and learning very difficult.
Whenever lectures of one class were more interesting, pupils from the other class sharing the room were distracted and could not concentrate on their lectures. This impacted negatively on the performance of the pupils.”

With the old school, the stats were as follows:

“The total number of pupils in the school when feasibility studies were carried out stood at 205, of whom 114 were girls and 91 were boys. At the time of the feasibility, the school had a total of 4 teachers including the head teacher who were all employed and paid by the church. Some of the teachers had to teach 2 classes as the teachers were not enough to cover the classrooms.”

The main problems:

  • Insufficient and inadequate classrooms
  • Insufficient benches, tables and chairs for pupils and teachers respectively
  • Inadequate toilet facilities in the school
  • Lack of water in school

The new school looks like this:

The project had the following outcomes:

  • 3 classrooms, an office and store have been constructed and handed over to the school
  • A 3 compartment toilet block with hand washing facility constructed and under use in the school presently
  • 27 Benches, 3 teachers tables and chairs provided and in use

More interestingly:

  • An improvement in pupils’ performance have already started to be noticed since they started using the new infrastructure and equipment in 2019/2020 academic year. The syllabuses can now be covered as no time would be lost to rainfall disturbances or cleaning of dusty floors
  • Enrolment have increased by over 92 pupils at the beginning of the 2019/2020 academic year with the presence of the new infrastructure and would continue to increase
  • A reduction in the prevalence of illness among the children and improved hygiene and sanitation in school. Upper track respiratory track infections have reduced as well as jiggers
  • School attendance have improved to over 100% since the use of new infrastructure especially for classes using them and this would continue.

I’m very pleased to have hard numbers on this stuff. More kids getting an education, and more kids getting a BETTER education, plus a reduction in health problems. Awesome. Total cost is about £24k.

Its worth noting that sometimes the shortage of teachers is related to the condition of the school. Basically a nice, modern, clean school will attract the best teachers, and more of them.

Regrettably, Cameroon is facing serious problems, and they badly need help. I currently have a bad back AND bad toothache (just got back from dentist), but its humbling to realize just how amazeballs lucky and healthy I am, mostly because I happened to be born in the UK. Anyway, thanks again to everyone who buys my games and puts me in a position to do this kind of thing.

As designer of Democracy 4, I’m obviously a full-on political geek. I have my own views on policy, but I also have views on a non-party basis about all the stuff thats wrong about our system. Heres a brief rundown of some of the easy-win stuff that we should have collectively decided to do decades ago, but our politicians are so useless we don’t…

Drug-test Politicians

You can now detect cocaine use from a fingerprint (new-scientist this week!), so why the hell do we not drug test ll our MPs when they cast a vote? You cannot fly an airplane when drunk, or operate on a patient when on cocaine, why do we not hold the people who MAKE our drug laws to the same standards? these people make life changing decisions. We need to know they are sober, and of sound mind. I’d even be happy with mere weekly checks.

Pay Politicians More

The average UK MP earns £76,011. That sounds a lot, but its pathetically low given the responsibility, and the pay offered to senior managers in the private sector. Its not much more than a ‘category manager’ at a john lewis store. I suspect category managers never vote on going to war, or changing hospital budgets, or giving the OK to arms deals. There is an argument that paying them more makes them ‘out of touch’ but MPs meet a lot of people through their work, and are likely more ‘in-touch’ than we think. Plus, if you want to attract talented people with great management experience and prevent them from trying to exploit their political connections to leverage future income…we need to pay them the appropriate amount.

Proportional Representation

There are many options, but frankly any system where the party that gets the most votes does not get the most MPs is not democracy. The results of the last election make it clear that the current system is a farce. Example:

Libdems needed 336,000 votes per seat won, Conservatives needed 38,000, Greens need 886,000 votes. This is not a democracy

House of Lords reform

Bishops sit in the house of lords (the UK’s second chamber) because… reasons. A huge number of members of the house of lords never show up at all, treating it just as a cool thing to stick on their headed notepaper. Their average age is 70 (how very representative…). 92 of the peers are hereditary, most of which can only be inherited by men. This is a ridiculous, embarrassing feudal relic. There are 782 members of the lords. They include convicted criminals like ‘Lord’ Archer.

Image result for queens speech

Electronic voting

UK politicians vote by going out of the room they debate in, then walking back in through one of two doors while someone counts them. This is the year 2020. For fucks sake. There is NO reason for this other than ‘tradition’. Our democracy is not a museum.

Speakers Constituency

One of our MPs is declared ‘the speaker’. they chair the debates. They are an MP, but nobody ever challenges them (normally) in elections. This ‘tradition’, means that everybody in the speakers constituency no longer lives in a democracy. Again, a complete farce. Simply appoint an outside expert as speaker, there is NO reason they should be an MP.

Modernize the system, away from the palace of Westminster.

The building needs fixing anyway, and besides that it is too small. Turn it into the museum it should have been for the last 100 years at least. While we do that, lets scrap a lot of the historical crap that makes our system of government feel like an old-boys club merged with a posh public-school debating society. People should be able to:

  • Call each other by name, without this stupid ‘the right honorable member…’
  • Ask the PM questions directly, without this ‘in addition to my duties in this house’ bullshit.
  • Say the words ‘the house of lords’ when in the commons and vice versa, none of this stupid ‘the other place’ crap.
  • Be ejected from the house if they jeer or shout. its not a rugby club, its a serious place where laws are made and policy challenged. it sounds like a group of childish little boys jeering.
  • Do away with ‘black-rod’, the ‘men-in-tights’, the mace, and the other stupid civil-war re-enactment bullshit that litters our parliamentary chamber.
  • The ‘queens speech’ is written by the prime minister and should be read by them. Its a stupid bit of diversion to try and imply she agrees with whats being said.
Image result for house of lords

Hold political broadcasts to advertising standards

They are exempt. WTF? This is a license to lie.

Prevent the sale of alcohol in parliament.

Not only is there a BAR in the place, it is dramatically subsidized, so we can ensure that our politicians are often drunk, at our expense, with no idea of the price the rest of us pay. Genius.

Publish tax returns for all members of parliament, as long as they serve + 5 years afterwards.

Pretty obvious measure needed to avoid corruption. There is no argument I can see against this. I’d be very happy to publish mine if I was an MP. There is so much history of corruption in politics that this should be a minimum requirement.

Term-limits for MPs.

My current MP has been the local MP for as long as anybody can remember. It has been a safe Tory seat since 1923. My current MP is likely to die in his post, unchanged and not seriously challenged. This is a recipe for corruption, and stagnation. MPs should serve 4 terms maximum.

What have I missed? :D