A School ‘Without’ Teachers – A Nigerian Education Innovation

  • Have you seen a school that uses no textbooks, no exercise books and no timetables?or… 
  • Have you ever visited a school without a row of chairs, tables for students and teachers?… and 
  • Have you been to a school where there are no grade levels, and nobody is actually a student?

If you haven’t, then welcome to Prikkle Academy!

All that you see in a regular school, we have the opposite at this Academy.

In Nigeria, there is a worrisome statistics of millions of youths that have to spend at least 16 years through school to become fully unemployed.

The numbers are even scarier in rural communities where the quality of formal education is low, where the infrastructures are weak and the motivation of learners and teachers dwindle down to zero every day.

This news is everywhere, everyone is angry about the educational system and the hope for a highly productive future of the nation is like the legs of a snail walking backwards.

Instead of waiting until everything crumbles, Prikkle Academy decided to chart a different path – a daringly odd direction to not fix education but to nurture the gifts and assets that are available in any community.

We have a vision of an Africa where rural youths are community builders, valued by everybody and can play a critical role in national development.

So, we co-create innovation hubs (called makerspaces) with grassroots youths to inspire creative collaboration in identifying the social problems within their community, freely choose their own tools and become problem-solvers through virtual and peer-to-peer learning.

Student at Prikkle Academy

In a practical sense, we run from a specific community location, inside a solar-powered building, opened for 7 days in a week, where anyone of any age, background or skill can freely walk into and find the tools and resources they need to turn their ideas into real solutions.

No timetables, no teacher or student, no classwork or homework, no report cards, no payment of any fees, and nobody is paid a salary.

We call it real learning as real life is happening.

There is a little story that is worth sharing about how we decided to go in this direction and then, we will hold your hand as we walk you through some of the magical possibilities that have happened since we started in 2016.

Are you ready? Let’s go:

In 2012, a young man after immediately graduating from the University was enrolled by the Nigerian Government as a biology teacher on the compulsory 1 year National Service.

The usual practice is that some graduates influence their placement to be posted to the cities, but this guy didn’t bother influencing his posting.

Fortunately, he was posted into a hard-to-reach rural community in Benue State, North-Central Region in Nigeria (Most-populous African Nation).

He had to live in a house without electricity, drinkable water or toilet for 7 months of his stay in the community. When he resumed at the school, he found students that were academically brilliant and many others that struggled to learn.

While his job was to help students learn Biology, something shocking started happening to the students that he couldn’t ignore.

He realized that some of his students dropped out of school without any prior notice. He inquired about the situation and found out that there were two problems that led to this problem:

#1 Poverty! – the parents could no longer afford the cost of sending their children to school.
#2 The quality of education was too low to raise skilled youths.

Survival is generally tough in rural communities and the youths continuously moved to the city to become street children and manual laborers to survive.

At this point, he got inspired to help rural children and youths to get tailored, personalized and quality education that will ensure they learn effectively, have top-notch competencies to get jobs, be engaged and lead peaceful lives in the future, no matter where they go to.

He engaged about 200 students for 3 days in a series of capacity building sessions. The creative spirit, curiosity and the passion in the students were unleashed. Within a month, new enterprises were created and still growing till date.

The children and youths seemed powerless living in rural communities because they didn’t have the necessary technologies to learn, research, grow and blossom like the children in the city or in developed countries.

After his 1 year service year ended, he took a job that he didn’t need in the city. Yet, deep down, he was already consumed with the passion to empower humanity, because of his experiences visiting and working with more rural communities within that year.

His name is Damilola Fasoranti, straightaway he decided to start Prikkle Academy, left his city job and permanently moved into the rural communities to do 2 major things:

  • to make sure that any child and youth in the rural communities can be fully engaged with the tools, people and resources that will help them turn any education they have into solutions.
  • to help more youths to access learning opportunities, to collaborate on projects with other youths from around the world, to communicate effectively, become ethical leaders and lead successful lives.

In the past 3 years, here are some of the results of this ‘odd’ approach to Education:

  • Increased community recycling: plastic bottles, nylons and cartons were usually thrown away by the community people are now being sold in bundles starting from $2, as they now see the tangible recycled products that children and youths are creating from it.
  • Employment opportunities: At least 15 unemployed participants now earn $60+ monthly (above minimum wage) by offering their new skill sets virtually in design, content creation, social media management and research.
  • This makerspace, launched in 2017 has helped to engender peaceful co-existence with neighbors, different tribes, religions and language serving 7 schools (over 900 students) in the local communities of Mbagishi, Benue State and Afon, Kwara State, Nigeria.
  • For the first time, rural youths are able to use computers and learn with other people from around the world virtually.
  • The centre has attracted the visits of urban professionals, University students from several states in Nigeria and Overseas.
  • Our solution of turning household food waste into organic fertilizers for farmers has been adopted by people in 3 African countries.
  • We have successfully converted human feces into organic cooking fuel.
  • Successfully partnered with the Government in Nigeria and 4 other organizations in Nigeria (MollyFrank Nigeria Limited and MindTheGap – A Google Sponsored Initiative), in Benin Republic (VIP World) and a Non-profit Organization (Loss of Generality) Ireland.
  • In 2017, Prikkle Academy was profiled as one of the 450 education organizations in the world solving education problems with an innovative approach by Centre for Education Innovations (an Initiative of Results for Development Institute), USA.
  • – We were selected as 1 of the Top 100 Global Most inspiring Social Innovations by Social Enabler, India.
  • Our Staff and Participants have been selected for at least 6 International fellowship programs for using an unconventional method to solve rural educational problems in Nigeria.
  • Prikkle Academy’s inspiring approach to development has been published in the renowned CHANGE Magazine, by Development Innovation Insider (Diinsider), Hong Kong.

If there a dream that you have always had, the time to launch it was yesterday, not tomorrow. No matter how odd or scary it may seem.

See this documentary, click >>>> HERE

You have been inspired enough… now, LAUNCH!

To learn more and support our work at Prikkle Academy, visit our website: www.prikkleacademy.org | On Social Media: @PrikkleAcademy [ctt template=”8″ link=”aIJ70″ via=”no” ]Prikkle Academy – Changing Lives, Empowering Communities [/ctt]

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Damilola Fasoranti writes in his dreams and helps fearful entrepreneurs to finally launch their awesome dreams. He is a Tedx Speaker, a professional educator and the Chief Listener at Prikkle Academy (in Nigeria) where he provokes young people to turn their skills, gifts and knowledge into social solutions.

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Sunday’s Thought: Prayers, Conversations & Criticisms

the photo above courtesy of CBN

So, I’ll just hop right into this one – in case you hadn’t heard or maybe you’ve banned yourself from the news and social media altogether (in which I don’t blame you). Some of America’s most prominent Inner-City African-American pastors all met with President Donald Trump a.k.a #45 to some; on August 1, 2018, to discuss Criminal Justice Reform and how the church can play a role in helping non-violent offenders get back into the workforce.

Continue reading “Sunday’s Thought: Prayers, Conversations & Criticisms”

EnSpired: Pet Hair, Don’t Care. Meet the Grooming Dogs Who Were Born To Be WILD!

photo above courtesy of katrinapetsalon

Whether you want it dyed, fried, laid to the side or a rainbow of colors – there’s one salon in California that’s specialized to give your…..PET!…..anything it’s heart or I guess I should say, it’s owner’s heart desire. Thanks to ‘Katrina’s Pet Salon’; now your pet can be just as fashion forward as you are!

dog-grooming-trends

Katrina Short is the owner and certified groomer of ‘Katrina’s Pet Salon’ in San Leandro, CA. a salon that specializes in dog, cat and creative grooming and when I say creative, I mean it’s on the next level of creativity! Katrina, whose has been a lover of animals her whole life, had dreams of becoming a vet when she grew up, but when she got bit by the  “grooming” field bug; she immediately fell in love with it and decided to combine her love of pets and her new love of grooming together and VIOLA! soon, she began taking pets from ordinary to an extraordinary WILD SIDE, literally.

As you’ll see in the video below – Katrina, gives the pets fresh looks by dying their hair, trimming their tresses and even painting their nails, giving them not only a new look but a new found confidence as well. This new found confidence helped give Khalee a boost, whom according to her owner – suffered from depression (I know that may seem a bit unreal for a dog to be depressed, but I guess it happens for animals too) 

Katrina’s not only a master mind when it comes to grooming, but she’s also into the pet’s overall health as well. Due to her thorough grooming services, she’s saved over five pets lives by discovering cancerous lumps early.

Katrina Short

 

“As a groomer, I’m in tune with each individual pet and their bodies” Katrina Short

 

So, without further ado – get ready to meet the “glam squad” Zeus, Kevin, Khalee and their “rat pack” Brody, Tank, Sterling and Bling in the video below.

To see who’ll be getting a fabulous makeover next or view more videos of her shop and grooming process. Feel free to follow Katrina on one of her social sites below:

Instagram: @Katrina_Short

YouTube: katrina_short pet grooming 

You can see more of Katrina’s Creations on her website: Katrina’s Pet Salon

 

What do you think? Do you like the way Katrina is glamming up pets? Would you get your pet glammed up this way? – Leave your comments below….

 

ROSHONDA N. BLACKMON

Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

 

EnSpired: Luke Mickelson, Making Beds So Children Can Sleep in Heavenly Peace

photo above courtesy of bing/lukemickelson/shp

“No Kid Sleeps on the Floor in Our Town”

This is the motto of Luke Mickelson, whom founded the non-profit organization “Sleep in Heavenly Peace” and since its start in 2012, that motto has lived up to its standard.

Before founding ‘Sleep in Heavenly Peace’ a.k.a SHP, Luke Mickelson had a great life; a beautiful family and  booming career. He coached his children’s sports team, was an avid church goer and for downtime, he’d go fishing in the river by his home – Life was sweet as you can say for Mickelson until he received some disturbing news; news that would bring his “normal” life, into perspective.

Mickelson, had learned that a family in his community were struggling and one of the major struggles was that of a little girl, not having a bed to sleep on. The girl slept on her clothes every night, clothes that resembled that of a birds nest per Mickelson.

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Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP)

“This little girl had a nest of clothes; it looked like a bird’s nest – a nest she’d built as her bed. “It was such an eye-opener for me, I sat there in silence thinking. “Is this really what’s going on?” Luke Mickelson.

The situation pulled at Mickelson’s heart strings, so much so – he immediately jumped into action; to devise a plan to help other families/children whom may be in the same situation. Mickelson used the safety guideline and his daughter’s bunk bed as a prototype to start constructing bunk beds of his own; using funds out of his own pocket and with the help of recruited family and friends, Mickelson began buying the wood and supplies needed to begin his project.

Sleep_In_Heavenly_PEace5
Sleep in Heavenly Peace Volunteers

Since its inception, the non-profit has built more than 1,500 free beds for children across America. So passionate about his new found career, Mickelson gave up his corporate job to focus on ‘Sleep in Heavenly Peace’ – a decision he doesn’t regret!

“I found that the need I have isn’t financial, The need I have is seeing the joy on kids’ faces, knowing that I can made a difference.

And rightfully so, as the first bed he made and delivered to the little girl with the bird’s nest bed; hugged her bed and wouldn’t let it go. A first memory that Mickelson would not soon forget, a memory that keeps him focused on his mission as he continues to make sure every child ‘Sleeps in Heavenly Peace.’

Check out SHP and the Great People/Volunteers that keep this mission driving forward:

 

To read Mickelson’s interview with CNN – click here

You can follow the non-profit – Sleep in Heavenly Peace on FB

To learn more about the organization and how you can help, donate or apply for a bed in your state   – go here.

 

Roshonda N. Blackmon

EnSpired: No Means No! In Nairobi, Kenya. Empowerment for Girls, A Lesson for the Boys…

photo above courtesy of bing/reuters/nairobikenya/boys

Within the last year, or months I can say – the #METOO movement has given women as well as men a voice to speak up and say NO to sexual abuse/harassment. Over the past year, we’ve seen many high profile men come under fire as well as lose their power for lewd acts of sexual misconduct they’ve secretly done to women and men for months/years. Women and men alike have taken a stand and decided that enough is enough; their silence was not going to be hushed no longer.

Nairobi Kenya4

 

While the #METOO movement has brought much needed attention to this ongoing issue; companies, T.V. networks and workplaces have stepped up their game as well to make sure that sexual harassment/abuse and rape be addressed and dealt with appropriately.

The movement has raised awareness and has given organizations like No Means No Worldwide a platform to continue to empower both young girls and boys to create a culture of mutual respect for women. The program teaches girls self-defense tactics to avoid a sexual assault should they get into one, but it doesn’t stop there – the program also teaches young boys mannerisms when it comes to girls such as “No, is not a Yes” and how to respect young ladies when they say No!

Nairobi Kenya3
In Nairobi, Kenya – girls are taught how to defend themselves against an attacker

As you’ll see in the video below – the mentality of most young men prior to taking the program was like our culture today, meaning “If a young lady is wearing provocative clothing” she’s asking to be raped and most felt like it was okay to do so (I know, sad right?) Well, after taking the program – the young men gain a new respect for women and instead of taking advantage of them, they’re taught to defend them, should they see them getting attacked.

The No Means No Worldwide program is a 12-hour curriculum that emphasizes interactive verbal skills, role playing and physical training, in which teaches the youth to speak up and/or prevent or intervene in an attack. No Means No, overall goal is to reduce rape & teen pregnancy. Below, the program was completed in Nairobi, Kenya and has garnered great results since its start.

Check out the video below and see how the No Means No Worldwide initiative is helping young girls as well as boys in Nairobi, Kenya.

 

If you or maybe someone you know is currently or has been the victim of a sexual assault/harassment (no matter how long ago it was) dont’ be afraid to TAKE A STAND!

Please tell someone you trust and take it further by going to your local authorities because, ONE voice is all it takes to change the culture and world around us! 

 

Roshonda N. Blackmon

Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

 

 

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