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Afro Probe: Understanding Challenges in Africa Today

Welcome to a new and exciting resource designed to introduce Canadian youth to one of the most complex, challenging and vibrant places on Earth – the continent of Africa.

Afro Probe: Understanding Challenges in Africa Today is a project of the Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations Unit of The United Church of Canada working in partnership with The United Church of Canada Foundation and AfricaFiles. It is an integrated literacy-based unit for Intermediate and Senior students which provides teachers (in elementary and secondary schools) with resources to assist them in presenting images and information about African people and cultures that are not usually conveyed through mainstream media sources.

Too often, mainstream print and broadcast media portray Africa and its people primarily as victims of poverty, disease and conflict. Stories of the extraordinary resilience of Africans and the many contributions they have made and continue to make to global civilization are too often ignored. This resource is a modest effort to help make up for that unfortunate gap.

The heart of the project is a set of six lesson plans, three each for the elementary and secondary school levels, organized in workshop module format. The modules, which are keyed to current Ontario curricula, can be downloaded free in pdf format.

Teachers will find the resources highly accessible and user-friendly and easy to integrate into the classroom. While matched to the Ontario curriculum, it is hoped that the resource will also be of use to teachers generally.

How to use Afro Probe

The units are conceived to support literacy in the classroom and to cater to a variety of instructional levels. Some materials are suitable for the Junior and Intermediate levels (grades 4 to 10), particularly A Day in the Life of a Child-Spotlight on Africa, Sustainable Agriculature in Ethiopia, and HIV AIDS and Children in Lesotho.

The resource Exploring Resilience: A Study in Three Parts on the Spirit of Africa is best suited for use at a Senior Level (grades 9 to 12).


All the materials are available for download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Intermediate Level Resources (Grades 4 to 10)

Introduction and Overview


A Day in the Life of a Child: Spotlight on Africa

HIV/AIDS and Children in Lesotho

Sustainable Agriculture in Ethiopia

Senior Level Resources (Grades 9 to 12)

Exploring Resilience: A Study in Three Parts on the Spirit of Africa

Additional Information and Suggestions

Shyrna Gilbert, a Canadian elementary school teacher who has worked in Rwanda, wrote the introductory and instructional materials for teachers, and Gary Kenny, currently Southern Africa program staff for The United Church of Canada and a journalist and writer, initially conceived of the project and wrote the stories about life in Lesotho and Ethiopia.

The materials were vetted by Canadian and African teachers and have also been vetted for their Africa-related content and for their cultural sensitivity by staff of the Ecumenical Documentation Center for East and Central Africa (EDICESA), a media education and training center based in Harare, Zimbabwe and a United Church of Canada partner.

For more information or feedback on the resource, please contact Don Nicol of Africafiles; E-mail: info @ africafiles.org .

An Acknowledgement to Afro Probe's Funders

The coordinators of the project wish to acknowledge the Brian and Belva Piercy Fund of The United Church of Canada Foundation and AfricaFiles for its generous financial support of the project. The United Church of Canada Foundation grants funds to various kinds of initiatives including those in support of community, healing, peace and justice at home and abroad.

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