Targeting money wisely in Africa - British couple's Three-Point Plan for G8 Leaders

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A recent Save the Children report 'One in Two' states that 'to break Africa's cycle of poverty, there must be an unprecedented level of investment in this generation of children'. This is pulled sharply into focus when you consider that more than half the population of Africa are children. It is exactly through the kind of targeted work that a Cheshire couple are doing, that will make this vision become a reality in Africa.

Alan and Hilary Davies have donated £40,000 successfully doing their bit to 'make poverty history' in Africa by taking what is already good and making it better.

The Davies' believe that targeted funding to improve communication within Africa, through such international languages as English, is the key to empowerment. In October, they are funding a 'Centre of Excellence' for the teaching of English, at Masibambane College, a school in the Orange Farm township south of Soweto, the poorest and fastest growing squatter camp in South Africa.

Targeted funding has already benefited 130 student teachers at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and 80 teachers of the deaf, following training at Fulton School in KwaZulu-Natal.

A recent Save the Children report 'One in Two' states that 'to break Africa's cycle of poverty, there must be an unprecedented level of investment in this generation of children'. This is pulled sharply into focus when you consider that more than half the population of Africa is children. It is exactly through the kind of targeted work that the Cheshire couple is doing, that will make this vision become a reality in Africa.

Masibambane is a Zulu word that embraces the idea of holding hands and building together. Many of the school buildings have been funded by the City of Vienna, but more needs to be done in guiding the school to achieve a high standard in reading and spelling English.

Darryl Geffen, the headmaster of Masibambane College said, 'This gift will make a tremendous difference to the school. We have lots of different national languages and I know that the teaching of THRASS will make a significant difference to the learning of English in the region. As a country we have some major issues to tackle, including poverty and Aids. I believe that, if South Africa is to grow and deal with these issues, our children must be able to confidently communicate with the rest of the world.'

The Davies' have been working together, over several years, to help thousands of children and adults worldwide to read, write and spell in English using a programme called THRASS (Teaching Handwriting Reading And Spelling Skills). Alan, a chartered educational psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society, is recognised as a world expert in the teaching of English phonics.

The Davies' Three-Point Plan

For G8 leaders, the Davies's three-point plan is simple:

1. Work with schools/universities where the teaching of English has a high priority.

2. Improve the quality of teaching in English by improving teacher subject knowledge.

3. Create 'Centres of Excellence' so that the staff can reach out and make a difference in the wider community.

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Chris Griffiths
THRASS
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