Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Dr. Angela Hare


Over the past thirteen years, the Collaboratory for Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research of Messiah College has developed a relationship with the West African village of Mahadaga, Burkina Faso. This connection was made specifically with the Center for the Advancement of the Handicapped (CAH), a school and therapy center for people with disabilities, run by the organization Serving In Mission. Dr. Angela Hare, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Education at Messiah College, first traveled with the Collaboratory to Mahadaga in January 2006. She spoke with teachers at the CAH, and they expressed to her the difficulties their students have in the subject of mathematics. Since that trip, a new group, the Education Group, developed within the Collaboratory and began focusing on improving mathematics education in Mahadaga and the broader West African region. The first project that the Education Group worked on was the Strengthening Math Literacy project. This was a three-year initiative to help children in Mahadaga learn basic math and number skills that would provide them with a strong foundation for the other mathematical concepts they will learn throughout their education. The first phase of the Strengthening Math Literacy project was to create a counting book that would teach basic counting concepts and number recognition. This book was illustrated specifically to appeal to West African children, and it was modified with Braille numbers and embossing so that the book could be used by children with vision impairments. Although it was clear that the children in Mahadaga appreciated the book, the Education Group realized that the French text in the book was too advanced for children who were at the stage of learning how to count. In order to help support mathematics literacy in Mahadaga, the Education Group needed to know more information about the culture there. This project grew out of the Strengthening Math Literacy project to provide a way of gathering relevant information and presenting it in a useful manner.


Approved for Honors in the Department of Education, Messiah College, 2009.