East African Playgrounds is a UK registered charity that promotes the importance of play in child development. EAP build playgrounds at no fee to the community so children can explore, learn, develop and play alongside their academic education.
EAP offers playgrounds to schools and local children’s centers in Uganda at no cost. Academic institutions apply to EAP and must demonstrate a passion for play alongside holding adequate infrastructure and grounds and ability to share in providing recyclable materials for the playground (usually tires). An initial consultation is held to understand the needs of the community at a particular institution; understanding how the children play, what aspects of play they value and what is of importance in their own culture and location. Each playground is custom made to match these needs. In particular an EAP will draw out 6 key areas of learning through play: Active, Free, Game, Imaginative, Rest and Creative. Playground design is often a team effort drawing on the interests of the children, EAP expertise and the expertise of international and local designers. A playground can be designed to different sizes and choosing from a variety of over 140 apparatus designs.
EAP have 2 playground building workshops, where teams of local builders are trained up and build the playground pieces. Playgrounds use locally sourced materials, which are hard-wearing meaning the playground will last for up to 20 years with limited maintenance. The community are encouraged to participate in construction alongside a team of international volunteers, recruited mainly from universities. All volunteers fundraise a minimum of £700 which contributes to the running of the project. A team of 15 volunteers will typically spend a month constructing one playground alongside EAP’s Ugandan playground building team. With volunteers recruited 9-12 times a year EAP can typically build 16 playgrounds per year. Volunteers play a crucial role as their funds raised ensure the project is sustainable and does not rely on additional donor funding.
Alongside building the playground EAP promote creativity and play by facilitating Arts and Play sessions for children at the school or center. These sessions are initiated during the playground building phase. In the afternoons EAP’s Arts and Play team work with teachers to run the program and show how arts and play and fit into the curriculum. In addition, EAP’s agreement with the school mandates that the school continues to lead Arts and Play sessions for their pupils. This takes place within the school day, often as a co-curricular session for a minimum of once a week. It has been widely researched that play is one of the vital elements of early childhood development with fine motor, social, problem solving skills being just some of the benefits to children.
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CEI approaches in actionSchool supportTeaching materials (teaching guides, lesson plans, etc.)Infrastructure and equipmentStudent supportLearning through Play
Model details2009Not-for-profitOtherLearning through playActiveLong-term project
Institutions receive Playground, Arts and Crafts activities/training, maintenance. EAP international volunteers pay £1000 to participate at EAP, of this fee £700 goes directly to building the playground including materials, labor and maintenance.6,000
EAP is designed to benefit children and communities that most need resource support. Schools and children's centers complete application for the playground, which is then offered for free to institutions serving low-income communities. Communities in higher income areas may request a playground, however would be charged a fee.
ScaleOver 6000 children are using East African Playgrounds58To date 58 playgrounds have been built.August, 2014
Starting in 2009 building one playground, EAP has grown year on year. Now in 2014 EAP have 27 members of Ugandan staff and 4 UK staff. They run two playground building workshops which now has capacity to build 30 playgrounds a year. The service now includes continuous arts and crafts classes.
2009 : 1 New playgrounds built
2010: 3 New playgrounds built
2011: 6 New playgrounds built
2012: 9 New playgrounds built
2013: 14 New playgrounds built
2014: 26 New playgrounds built
EAP are currently aiming to replicate the playground building workshops in multiple East African Countries. The workshop model has proven successful and the vision is to see playground building workshops in as many countries in Africa as possible. EAP are currently looking for partners to work with to assist on the ground with local knowledge of new countries and cities and also partners to assist us with funding this expansion.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
Quality and safety of playground infrastructure is built to strict EU guidelines. Regular site visits and annual maintenance checks monitor the quality and safety over time. All Arts and Play programs are monitored by through visits and observation by EAP staff. Where necessary further training is provided to teachers.
EAP are currently developing and M&E framework to robustly measure the impact of the program.User satisfactionCost effectiveness/value for moneyNo