Humana People to People

Humana People to People

Teaching: A commitment to make a difference in a community

 

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UNICEF reports that, in Zambia for children in the early years, the coverage of care, learning and education services remain persistently low, with a large number of them dropping out of school especially in rural areas.

At the height of this, barriers around the availability of menstrual hygiene facilities for girls, low value placed by some communities on girls’ education, teenage pregnancy, and child marriage, make primary education a ‘limping horse’ for children’s future. In addition, there is a huge problem of understaffing.

To shrink this gap, DAPP Zambia established Mkushi College of Education. With a strong belief in the right to access quality education for all, the college centres on ‘training another kind of a teacher’, with the passion and will, not just to teach in rural schools, but also stay and be part of trigger points in driving development with the communities, by making schools centres of collaborative efforts. It provides interactive and child-centred training that moulds a teacher who wants every child to succeed.

“My plan after graduating is to come back and teach in a rural school. I want to change the lives of these children. Where I did my first teaching practice for instance, there are only three teachers, at a school of Grade 1 to Grade 9. So for me, even if I am sent to teach at an urban school, I will still opt to come back and teach at a rural school because there are very few teachers, and these pupils need my services more than those in urban schools”, Mercy Chisanga, DAPP Mkushi College of Education student teacher revealed.        

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Three teachers running a Grade 1 to 9 school; with average of 30 pupils in each class, is a feat hard to believe. But, that is the face of most rural schools in Zambia. With most of the necessities lacking, very few teachers dream of plying their career in such an environment. Consequentially, the teacher-pupil ratio gap has widened, resulting in few rural pupils having access to quality education.

“Our program is different from other teacher-training colleges in the sense that we first change the mind set of students who come from school thinking that staying in an urban area is the only way they can enjoy the fruits of the teaching profession; and make them be change agents in communities where they will teach from”, College Principal, Kennedy Nga’ndu explained.

In providing the students with unique experiences that widens their understanding of the world, cultures and societies as well as building their ability to overcome difficulties found on the way; the college offers educational, national and international travels, under the ‘bussing’, concept called, ‘learn to travel, travel to learn’. At the 2019 flag off of this journey, Zambia’s General Education Permanent Secretary, Jobbicks Kalumba reiterated the need to have more of such training for it gave the correct definition of teaching.

“You are men and women who fit in my definition of teaching, because teaching is a commitment to make a difference in a community. When we go to teacher recruitment, I will plead that we identify some of these young men and women and consider them for teaching opportunities”, Dr. Kalumba said.

 

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Running in cooperation with the Ministry of General Education, the college started with a two-year Zambia Teacher Education Course (ZATEC) with 31 first students in 2012, graduating in 2014 with 26 of them deployed to teach in rural primary schools.

“The program further, trains students to be the main navigators of their own learning and training, improving their ability and potential to plan, learn, and work both independently and collectively. It equips them with necessary knowledge, skills, and passion that enables them to offer quality education to learners in rural schools”, Mr. Nga’ndu said.  

Currently offering a three-year primary teacher’s diploma affiliated to the University of Zambia (UNZA), the college champions the fight against poverty, illiteracy and disease by imparting students with necessary skills, knowledge and tools that show them how to cultivate problem-solving skills that encourage them to value rural life and understand how to overcome obstacles in rural primary schools.

Teachers: Key to quality education

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The first day as a teacher can be an unnerving experience. For Ajay Dodiya, it was a learning experience. When the 39-year-old entered his classroom in Amla village in Ujjain district of Madhya Pradesh, India, there were barely 6-7 children sitting in his class while the register indicated a total of 41 enrolled students. Ajay soon found out that this was a routine affair at the school.

Like several other schools in rural India, the majority of students in this region come from poor families, with their parents mostly working as landless farmers. This poses a specific problem of securing student retention in the school, as most students are prone to never attending classes owing to prolonged lack of parental supervision.

“I knew it was a common issue in rural primary schools, but in spite of being from the nearby community, even I did not anticipate this scale of truancy,” recalls Ajay.

Ajay’s predicament is all too common among the rural primary school teachers of India.

Through progressive legislations like the Right to Education Act, India has come a long way in ensuring universal primary education to all the children of the country. Challenges, however, still abound, and are not merely limited to the issue of out-of-school children. Year after year, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) has indicated dismal learning outcomes among primary grade students in India. According to the latest ASER, more than 50% of the students in 5th standard attending rural schools are not capable of reading a 2nd standard textbook and cannot solve basic mathematical questions.

 

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“We knew that we had to retain the students’ interest in studies if we had to bring them back to the school. My training in play-way method of teaching under the Necessary Teacher Training Programme (NeTT) has been particularly useful in order to achieve this,” says Ajay.

In 2015, Ajay graduated from Humana People to People India’s two-year NeTT Programme being implemented in partnership with the Government of Madhya Pradesh, at the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), Ujjian.

The Programme is designed with an objective of long-term, sustainable improvement in learning outcomes in the elementary school students through targeted, programme-based training of pre-service student-teachers at the DIETs, and promoting activity-based and child-centric teaching. Key inherent elements of community focused engagements and promotion of women as change agents ensure sustainable and systemic impact of the programme, achieving a holistic development of the students and teachers alike.

“We decided that since they skipped school to play with their friends, we will provide them a better environment to play within the school premises. Further, we used technological interventions, such as the use of radio as a classroom transaction tool which further piqued their interest in coming to the school regularly. Ours is the only school in the region using radio to conduct classes,” says Ajay with a feeling of pride.

 

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Today, all the 41 students regularly attend classes and the school has witnessed significant improvements in grades as well.

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the NeTT Programme in India. The Programme has so far graduated more than 10,000 teachers, many of whom today, like Ajay, provide quality education to children across government and private schools across India. Today, the NeTT Programme is operational in 15 Government Teacher Training Institutes across five states in India.

The Sustainable Development Goal 4, and the dedicated target of SDG 4.c, recognises teachers as key to achieving the Education 2030 agenda, and the NeTT Programme in India is one step among many to bring the country closer to the goal.

Teachers: Key to quality education

DSC 0155

The first day as a teacher can be an unnerving experience. For Ajay Dodiya, it was a learning experience. When the 39-year-old entered his classroom in Amla village in Ujjain district of Madhya Pradesh, India, there were barely 6-7 children sitting in his class while the register indicated a total of 41 enrolled students. Ajay soon found out that this was a routine affair at the school.

Like several other schools in rural India, the majority of students in this region come from poor families, with their parents mostly working as landless farmers. This poses a specific problem of securing student retention in the school, as most students are prone to never attending classes owing to prolonged lack of parental supervision.

“I knew it was a common issue in rural primary schools, but in spite of being from the nearby community, even I did not anticipate this scale of truancy,” recalls Ajay.

Ajay’s predicament is all too common among the rural primary school teachers of India.

Through progressive legislations like the Right to Education Act, India has come a long way in ensuring universal primary education to all the children of the country. Challenges, however, still abound, and are not merely limited to the issue of out-of-school children. Year after year, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) has indicated dismal learning outcomes among primary grade students in India. According to the latest ASER, more than 50% of the students in 5th standard attending rural schools are not capable of reading a 2nd standard textbook and cannot solve basic mathematical questions.

 

DSC 0254

“We knew that we had to retain the students’ interest in studies if we had to bring them back to the school. My training in play-way method of teaching under the Necessary Teacher Training Programme (NeTT) has been particularly useful in order to achieve this,” says Ajay.

In 2015, Ajay graduated from Humana People to People India’s two-year NeTT Programme being implemented in partnership with the Government of Madhya Pradesh, at the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), Ujjian.

The Programme is designed with an objective of long-term, sustainable improvement in learning outcomes in the elementary school students through targeted, programme-based training of pre-service student-teachers at the DIETs, and promoting activity-based and child-centric teaching. Key inherent elements of community focused engagements and promotion of women as change agents ensure sustainable and systemic impact of the programme, achieving a holistic development of the students and teachers alike.

“We decided that since they skipped school to play with their friends, we will provide them a better environment to play within the school premises. Further, we used technological interventions, such as the use of radio as a classroom transaction tool which further piqued their interest in coming to the school regularly. Ours is the only school in the region using radio to conduct classes,” says Ajay with a feeling of pride.

 

postcards4

Today, all the 41 students regularly attend classes and the school has witnessed significant improvements in grades as well.

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the NeTT Programme in India. The Programme has so far graduated more than 10,000 teachers, many of whom today, like Ajay, provide quality education to children across government and private schools across India. Today, the NeTT Programme is operational in 15 Government Teacher Training Institutes across five states in India.

The Sustainable Development Goal 4, and the dedicated target of SDG 4.c, recognises teachers as key to achieving the Education 2030 agenda, and the NeTT Programme in India is one step among many to bring the country closer to the goal.

Improving primary school education in Malawi

Parents have become active in their childrens education

 

“My message to all teachers on World Teachers Day is, keep up the hard work as the fruits you bear is noticeable,” – Gelard Kalima, Treasurer of a Parent Teachers Association at Nasonjo primary school in Malawi.

Quality Education; Sustainable Development Goal 4, is one of the 17 global goals adopted by United Nations member states in a quest to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030 according to the United Nations Development Program.

Education in the context of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) III is one of the key areas as sustainable development of the country hinges upon participation of all people by devoting their energy and skills to various available opportunities.

In Malawi, the literacy rate is estimated at 65.75 percent according to the 2016 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, which calls for the improvement of quality and relevance of primary education according to MGDS III.

DAPP Malawi joined the Government of Malawi’s efforts in promotion of primary education. In coordination with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), a Memorandum of understanding was signed by both parties to train teachers for Malawi primary schools.

Training teachers in private Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs) is one way of reducing the teacher to pupil ratio in schools to ensure effective learning. Targeting to achieve a 1 to 60 teacher to pupil ratio. The average teacher to pupil ratio in public primary schools was recorded at 1 to 75 by 2018 according to MoEST.

 

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DAPP Malawi has since 2003 been implementing a teacher training programme as one way of complementing the Malawi government’s efforts in reduction of teacher to pupil ratio in public primary schools.

With TTCs in four of the six education divisions in Malawi, DAPP Malawi has to date trained 2,640 teachers in its four colleges of Chilangoma in Blantyre, Amalika in Thyolo, Dowa in Dowa and Mzimba in Mzimba district.

A member and co-founder of the Federation Humana People to People, DAPP Malawi employs a Humana People to People designed model to train young teachers specifically for the rural areas. The training prepares the student teachers as agents of change in the communities where they will teach.

The programme has thus provided rural children with qualified and trained teachers who are working professionally in challenging local environments as well as spearheading and supporting community development activities around their respective schools.

The Coordinating Primary Education Advisor (CPEA) for Thyolo district, Mr Kenneth Luke Dumbula, said they work with DAPP Teacher Training College Amalika in training teachers for primary schools in the district. He said, “DAPP Teacher Training College Amalika is a key asset for Thyolo district as it provides trained primary school teachers. Thyolo district do not encounter problems with DAPP Malawi trained teachers as they come prepared to teach in the rural communities as it is one of the components within their training – reaching out to all different communities.”

Through the programme, teachers energetically follow the conviction that all primary school pupils have the potential to become skilful and productive members of society.

Expected to work in rural Malawi settings where teaching and learning resources are not readily available, teachers trained under DAPP Malawi are prepared to produce teaching and learning materials from locally available resources.

The head teacher for Nasonjo primary school, located in Mupombe village under Traditional Authority of Chief Kapeni, Blantyre district has his school benefitting from working with a former DAPP Malawi teacher training college graduates. The school headmaster, Mr Lawrance Thokozani Musaline, concurs on how DAPP Malawi trained teachers are dedicated in ensuring availability of teaching and learning materials.

“The teachers trained by DAPP Malawi have brought a positive impact to our school. Henry Ng’ombe a teacher from DAPP Malawi who is teaching at Nansonjo primary school is the chairperson of the school sanitation committee and his efforts has improved the school sanitation a lot,” said the headmaster.1

 

Learning in trios

 

Throughout the training, student teachers are challenged to demand responsibility and contribution from each individual for children to learn. Community mobilisation to participate in school development and management activities is one way through which parents get involved in their children’s education.

Elizabeth Namamba, Chairperson for the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) at Nasonjo primary school said there is a good coordination between the school and community. She said this is one of the reasons learners from Nasonjo primary school are excelling in national examinations since parents are now actively involved in their children’s education.

Henry Ng’ombe echoed the PTA Chairperson, “In my teaching, I use the TRIO (children working in threes) method to effectively deliver child-centered learning, and engaging each child into active participation in the learning process. The visual learning materials displayed in my classroom has various subject assignments for each TRIO to work on,” said Henry Ng’ombe.

DAPP Malawi has for over the past 15 years been training teachers for rural Malawi schools, to ensure continued learning, a network of graduated teachers was established in 2012. The teachers voluntarily stick together to share knowledge and skills on how they can improve the quality of education at primary schools.

World Water Week is for “Water for Society – Including All”

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Humana People to People will be exhibiting at the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2019, the week is hosted from 25 to 30 August under the theme “Water for society – Including all”.

The event is an annual focal point for the world’s water challenges. It is organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). The week-long event will see water interested experts, practitioners, decision-makers, innovators and young professionals from a range of sectors and countries meeting in Stockholm to network, exchange ideas, foster new thinking and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges of today. Humana People to People will host an exhibition showcasing its approaches to and achievements in community-led water management initiatives.

Water use has been increasing worldwide by about 1% per year since the 1980s, driven by a combination of population growth, socio-economic development and changing consumption patterns, says the United Nations Water agency. The World Water Development Report 2019 reveals that over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress, and about 4 billion people are experiencing severe water scarcity at least one month in a year. Stress levels will continue to increase as demand for water grows and the effects of climate change intensify.

Access to safe water and sanitation and sound management of freshwater ecosystems are key to human health and to environmental sustainability. Humana People to People recognises safe drinking water and sanitation as basic human rights, as they are indispensable to sustaining healthy livelihoods and fundamental in maintaining the dignity of all human beings. Through its work, Humana People to People empowers families and communities to effectively manage their water supply with wide-reaching impacts, including addressing key inequalities, challenging harmful gender dynamics and nutrition, maternal and child health in rural settings.

The members of Humana People to People implementing Community Development Programmes and Farmers’ Clubs integrate access to clean water as a key component of, improving community and household sanitation conditions and increasing horticulture productivity among small-scale farmers. Notable transformations were observed in Zimbabwe and Congo were people driven and community focused water and sanitation projects were implemented. In D.R., Congo, an evaluation of a Community Water, Sanitation and hygiene project (CWASH) project showed that more than 85% of households benefiting from the CWASH project have access to improved water sources (taps and boreholes), compared to 17% among non-beneficiary households. Whilst in Zimbabwe a similar project which covered 8,000 families, rehabilitated 237 boreholes, installed 90 water pumps and constructed 350 cattle drinking troughs. The people centered approach has contributed to a 5% reduction in water-borne diseases being noted in the targeted communities.

Increased supply of safe and clean water helped to reduce the distance, time and effort spent in accessing the precious resource, particularly for women as revealed in D.R., Congo. One participant of the D.R. Congo CWASH project, Rose Kapandila Kinkulu, from Kinkulu village of Kasenga territory, Haut-Katanga province of D.R., Congo has this to say, The new water pump has rescued me from travelling 5 kilometers to fetch water from the river two or three times every day . Having the pump also means I no longer have the pain of carrying a 20 liter bucket on my head for a long period.”

The availability of abundant water is making it possible to establish a thriving horticulture production among the benefitting families, helping to achieve dietary diversity which further contributes to improved nutrition status of the participating communities.

International human rights law obliges states to work towards achieving universal access to water and sanitation for all, without discrimination, while prioritizing those most in need. Fulfilment of the human rights to water and sanitation requires that the services be available, physically accessible, equitably affordable, safe and culturally acceptable.