The existing preschool in a rural village of Kolda Department, Senegal houses 85 children under a temporary thatch structure. However, because the building is not permanent and is not closed to the exterior, poisonous snakes have nested inside, exposing the children to injury and death. Each year, the building must be dissembled and the land on which it sits razed and set ablaze to reduce the population of nesting snakes. This project proposes the construction of a permanent fixed building in which to house the preschool, providing a safe and stable location in which toddlers and young children can expand their mental horizons.
Progress Update: 3/27/2017
After significant delays due to regional political tension, the project managed to continue ahead without further problem. The community rallied together to clear away land, assemble materials, and erect the initial superstructure of the building.
"Work that remains at this point is to finish building the structure, install the doors and windows, add a roof, and paint the building to weather-proof it. Once that is done, the village will transfer the mats, chairs, toys, and educational materials from the current preschool location to the new building. Everything should be done by the middle of April 2017!" - Abigail, Peace Corps Volunteer
"The new preschool is very important. If you see children, the ones who go to preschool before they go to the big school [elementary school] do better than the ones who do not. It is also good for their development. They learn things they cannot learn at home. It is also a place where they are safe and their parents can work without having to worry about them. That is why the new preschool is important, because it is much safer than the school we are using now. The school we are using now is made of grass. Animals can get in, snakes can get in. That is dangerous for children. Also, the structure is not very sound. We are right now in the season of big winds, and sometimes a large dust devil will blow by big enough to knock the structure over or to carry off the roof. That will not happen with the new school because it is made of cement and is strong. That is the importance of the new preschool." - Babou, Project Leader
"The preschool is also important for our work as health personnel. We find there the age groups from 12 to 36 months, and 36 to 60 months, very vulnerable populations. Having them all in one place will permit us, the health workers, to supplement their diets with iron pills and to conduct annual de-worming campaigns with Albendazole. Preschool also contributes to the psychological and motor skills development of children, especially important for that age." - Habibatou, Project Participant