Providing Education to 120 Students in the Village of Bantam Near Timbuktu, Mali  

Project location: Mali, Bantam
Project start date: January 2016 - Project end date: December 2016
Project number: 2016-001
Beneficiary: Caravan to Class

PROJECT TIMELINE: From May 2016 to December 2016
Caravan to Class (CTC) is a registered charitable organization that was started in 2010 and works in Sub Saharan Africa with a focus on Timbuktu, Mali to increase literacy and to provide safe schools for tribal children. Caravan to class is an all-volunteer organization in the U.S. and has two paid staff on the ground, in Mali, Africa.
Timbuktu, Mali used to be one of the world’s most important centers for Islamic study, in the 12th – 16th centuries, with UNESCO World Heritage sites including mosques, libraries, and universities. Now it has become one of the world’s most illiterate areas. Caravan to Class has built ten schools in carefully selected villages, and supports these schools' operations for a period of three years, paying teachers' salaries and providing food and school supplies.
Funding from the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation has helped build a school for 120 school-aged children who reside in the Village of Bantam, Africa, (Timbuktu, Mali).
The village of Bantam has been selected because it’s near one of the largest villages in the area, Dangha, but too far and on the other side of the river, for the children in Bantam to attend school. Bantam is a relatively recent village, founded a few years ago by Bozo (fisherman) and Peul (goat herders) ethnic people. While the school is being constructed, Caravan to Class has set up a temporary school in an outdoor hut as the village awaits the new school. As a result of this project, roughly 120 children ages 6 – 12 years are able to go to school for the first time. Caravan to Class’ operational support for the Bantam school includes basic nutrition, school supplies and the paying of teachers’ salaries. In addition, Caravan to Class will teacher 20 mothers to read and write in their own language with a Female Adult Literacy program to be launched in early 2017.
Construction has already begun according to grant deliverables. The construction process starts with the making of bricks, hard manual work which the village provides labor for as part of their contribution to the school project. The foundation has been laid for the school, including rebar reinforcement. The walls of the school have been formed, and work has begun on the roof.  Once completed, the school will have three classrooms with a cement structure, steel roof and rebar support. Caravan to class has already placed an order for 120 desks/chairs which will be provided to the school by the time it opens.
Detailed description of the activities implemented and of the methodologies applied
Two primary activities make up this project with several phases in each step. These phases include: 1) Signed contract with village on project and commitment by Ministry of Education to endorse school and send a Director, at their expense to run the school, 2) Setting up temporary tent accommodations of school for students, 3) Provision of food, through UN World Food Program, and school supplies, 4) Selection of teachers by Ministry of Education, 5) Building of school, 6) Opening/Inauguration of school. Thus far, Caravan to Class is on target building the school and is roughly 50% built with the areas financed by the Nando ed Elsa Peretti Foundation already completed.

Activity 1-School Construction: A three-classroom school is currently under construction with supervision by CTC’s local partner Nord Et Development (NorDev). NorDev is overseeing construction, ensuring it is being built according to the latest building standards and that it is being built on-time according to an ambitious construction schedule. Activities during the construction phase include: a) laying the foundation, b) building the structure c) installing doors and windows 4) painting the outside of the building.

Activity 2- Opening of the school for 120 students: After the school is built, Caravan to class will supply desks and chairs and school supplies for each of the 120 students. Caravan to Class will also open the school with teachers who are certified by the Timbuktu Ministry of Education. Finally, a cook and will supervise a feeding program sponsored by the United Nations Feeding Program.
Results obtained

Regarding Activity 1 (construction of the school), the school structure is roughly 50% finished. The foundation has been poured/laid and set, walls have been formed and roof is being worked on. Work has been accomplished within budget and on-time according to an ambitious construction schedule.  There have been no delays or problems with construction.  (see attached photos of the school foundation).  

Anticipation of the next steps and expected results

The next phase of the project (activity two) will be to finish school construction. This includes finishing roof, installing windows and doors and painting the outside of the building, installing chalkboards, painting inside of building and finally providing desks/chairs.
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