YES Programs



Spoken Word Contest Builds Student Confidence

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By Emmanuel G. Godfrey (YES 2015-16, Liberia, hosted by AFS-USA in Cumberland, ME) 

Recently, I have been implementing lots of voluntary programs under the banner of the “Workshop for Effective English Teaching and Speaking” (WEETAS) project of which I am the proud founder and leader.

Students in Liberia are very shy when it comes to public speaking because of the influence of traditions. Students do not have the courage to speak up when their rights are challenged. As a result, students graduate from school with poor public speaking skills and educational malpractices are also increasing each year.

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The audience at the contest.

We at WEETAS believe that a great way to boost students’ confidence is through public speaking. Therefore, during the week of November 25, I along with my team implemented the “Expose the Problems to Solve the Problems“ spoken word competition with support from the people from the U.S. in my host state of Maine. According to the county’s Education office, this is the first spoken word competition that has ever taken place in the county. Students from the four major schools in the area participated in the contest. Contestants pointed out, spoke against, and suggested solutions to eradicating all forms of educational malpractices in schools across Liberia.

One contestant said: “The inability of students to correctly read, write, and speak is due to the employment of unqualified teachers.” He further suggested that WEETAS and the national government should work to train teachers to be more effective and professional in the classrooms (this is something the WEETAS project has been working on for the past years).

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Winners of the contest with prizes.

There is more work to be done and more resources to be created if the standard of education in every country is to be improved. The work must begin with us, the people. After all, we are the world!

Without the following individuals, this would have been a huge challenge: Joshua Cole (helped with raising funds), Korvah M. Fromayan (YES Alumnus 2016), Jel D. Luma, Koiwu Gboluma, and John Lamin (team members and judges).

WEETAS: Working Together for a Better Education.