Make Poverty History lessons and assembly

Campaigning events and action weeks can provide a good focus for learning about particular global issues and reflecting on how individuals and groups can make a difference.

Oldfield Primary School is a small rural primary school perched on the edge of a West Yorkshire valley. It has 47 children aged 4 to 11 who are taught in three classes.


For one week the school ran a Make Poverty History event in preparation for the G8 summit in Edinburgh on 2 July 2005. The whole school took part and with careful planning activities were prepared for each age group. Each day began and ended with the whole school working together. During the morning pupils worked on the theme in their classes, whilst during the afternoons pupils in mixed aged groups took part in a range of different activities. The former Co-ordinator of Craven Development Education Centre, had recently returned from living in Tanzania, and facilitated the week by planning the programme and activities and giving first hand impressions of Tanzania.

The week began by pupils discovering about tourism in their local area. Class 1 presented their very own power point of the nearby Oldfield Trail. The problems and benefits of tourism locally were then compared with those of Tanzania through slides and stories. This led onto a photographic exercise about good and bad tourism and enabled the pupils to produce their very own ‘Good Tourist Guide’.

In the afternoons pupils took part in a range of workshops including making and playing with Tanzanian footballs, learning Kiswahili songs, dressing in Kangas, painting a huge African landscape and going ‘shopping’ with Tanzanian money.

The focus of the week then shifted to the Make Poverty History Campaign, and pupils learnt about what it actually means to be poor by thinking about refugees in Tanzania. Pupils were then asked to decide on their dreams for a better world, which they wrote on strips of white paper which were clipped together to make a long white chain. They then made foot pledges by drawing around their feet, and writing on the feet what they were going to do in their own lives to make a difference. Finally pupils were given the opportunity to write to Tony Blair asking him to make his own pledge to Make Poverty History.

The final assembly saw each class join their white band chain together, foot pledges placed around the African landscape, and letters and postcards posted in their own post box to Tony Blair.

Following the Make Poverty History week in school the banner which was made by the pupils of Oldfield Primary was carried by one of the teachers to the lobby of the G8 in Edinburgh on 2nd July.

Successes and limiting factors

The week was a tremendous success. Students were really engaged and worked well together across the ages. The afternoon workshops were particularly successful with a buzz of excitement being felt all around the school. The week needed a lot of careful preparation and the support of all staff is necessary to keep something like this flowing.

Find out more

Calendar: Our Calendar lists action days and weeks – such as World Water Day or Refugee Week – that can provide a focal point for global work in schools.We also produce an annual global wallplanner featuring these days.

Find a speaker: If you would like to invite a speaker to your school to help with a lesson or an assembly around a particular global theme, visit our School Speaker Services page.

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