MIEPI Mini-Community Project

Last week, eight (8) schools/education centers were funded for the mini-community projects by the MIEPI:

1).Majuro Deaf Education Center
2) Majuro Middle School
3) Majuro Cooperative School
4) Ajeltake Public Elementary School
5) Kwajalein Atoll High School
6) Ebeye Public Middle School
7) Wotje Elementary School
8) Assumption Schools RMI

See the summary description of their projects below, provided from the MIEPI.

1) Majuro Deaf Education Center: Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Awareness in the Deaf Community

Project Summary: Deaf or hard hearing individuals face problems with availability, accessibility, and acceptability of mental health services. Deaf people are frequently marginalized and underserved. First, due to isolation from normal information flow, access to information on the prevention of suicide and mental health is extremely limited. Secondly, deaf individuals may experience greater levels of stress due to strained interactions with the hearing community.

The Majuro Deaf Education Center plans to raise awareness of mental health symptoms by developing materials and hosting an event in sign language for deaf youth.

2) Majuro Cooperative School:

Project Summary: The Majuro Cooperative Middle School has “health” scheduled 80 minutes a week on their school timetable. Currently, resources for instruction are gained from the internet and experiences/knowledge of staff. The HealthSMART curriculum would provide an academic foundation to ‘health’ and provide staff and students a framework to become more aware of their choices. The HealthSMART Curriculum is aligned with the US Common core standards and include: Substance abuse prevention, nutrition, physical activity, reproductive health and puberty, and a small area for older youth on suicide prevention and self-harming. The school plans to implement the program in the Middle School for at minimum 5 years, after which it will be reviewed or adapted as necessary.

3) Majuro Middle School: School Garden Project

Project Summary: The Majuro Middle School garden is currently patch of land in front of the school with sparse vegetation. The School garden project aims to revitalize the area to help students learn the necessary skills for gardening and promoting nutritious food to its students. The garden will be used as a practical way to educate students through hands on learning. Teachers will engage students to have different roles in maintaining the garden and use examples of the “farm-to-healthy plate” concept in the classroom. The students will be actively involved in preparing the land/soil, daily garden up-keeping, harvesting and cooking the produce of the garden.

4) Kwajalein Atoll High School Health Club: Unplanned Pregnancy & Drug Abuse Resistance Education (UP & DARE)

Project Summary: Over the past years one of the greatest challenges faced by the school is the use of tobacco and betel nut on campus. Approximately 80% of school disciplinary action is based from the use and possession of these substances. Another challenge of the school is teenage pregnancy. One student even lost her life while giving birth last month. The KAHS project is a two part process, educate, train and mentor student body government officials on UP & DARE. The second part is to utilize the SBG officers to impart their UP & DARE learnings onto their peers by hosting outreach activities at other elementary and High schools on Ebeye. The approach is to start a cycle of peer-to-peer healthy lifestyle and behaviors through active learning.

5) Ebeye Public Middle School : Jab Jerwane Am Mour: Cancer Awareness Prevention

Project Summary: The Ebeye Public Middle School aims to raise awareness of the different forms of cancer through a spirit week at the school. The one-week event will have corresponding themes by day and color focusing on the top forms of cancers found in the RMI, including cervical, breast, thyroid and prostrate/colon. Each afternoon from 1-3 pm students a grade of the public middle school will be tasked to host student-led activities on assigned topics. The students will be mentored by their teachers and will conduct research. Students will be looking into community resource persons (ie survivors) to be part of their activities. The school requests a portion of the funds requested to be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation on behalf of its student body for the advancement of breast cancer treatment and prevention for future generations.

6) Ajeltake Elementary School: Be Local! Eat Local! Cook-Off! (using No imported ingredients)

Project Summary: “you are what you eat from you head down to your feet” – Dr Seuss. There are over 242 students attending Ajeltake Elementary School and ongoing problems in this school is the negative view of local food among the students. It is not known how this negative view on local food came about but it is evident in lunch prepared from students either from home and food vendors. Even though ajeltake has an abundance of local food available most of the food prepared is store bought. The project proposed is to provide a week of education on local food as a low cost nutritious option. The aim is to show how local food can be prepared affordable and healthy. The second part is to host a local food cook off competition where they can practice their new learnings and skills. By doing this we can showcase student and community cooks to produce deliciously inspired foods. This helps give community members ideas for home cooking but also reduce the stigma associated with local food as “lesser desirable”.

7) Wotje Public Elementary School: School Physical Education Project.

Project Summary: The Physical Education department at the Woja Public Elementary School has limited access to sports equipment for its program. Students show interest in sports but not many can take part in these activities given limited resources. Students are then not developing their potential by exercising and following a healthy lifestyle as part of active physical activity on a daily basis.

8) Assumption School RMI: School Health and Wellness Program.

Project Summary: The Assumption School believes in the formation of the whole person- this means that in addition to academic formation, students will be challenged to grow spiritually, morally, psychologically, socially, physically and emotionally. Currently, the Physical education department of the school lacks much needed sports equipment for the school so every student can take part in these activities. The second part of this project is to support students whose interest is in the arts. Expression through arts is shown to reduce stress and encourage active thinking. The project proposes the purchase of art supplies for posters and murals of healthy positive messages to be decorate around the campus.

[Pictures] MIEPI visited schools to talk with the school staff and the students, and most importantly to present awards. Photo credits to Hilary Hosia of Marshall Islands Journal.

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