Hello, dear readers and welcome to a new series we are introducing in addition to our Teacher Features and Alumni Annals called Friday Workshops.

Since first welcoming our American volunteer Kaitlin Marrs back in 2017, Toa has regularly been investing time and resources into conducting professional development workshops with our corps of tutors.  Topics have varied from teacher training to understanding learning disabilities to team-building and leadership.  We have also opened up the scope to include life skills and human interest covering banking and saving money, family planning and women’s reproductive rights, and this year, of course, health and sanitation generally and in the face of Covid-19.

In July, we brought on a young woman, Belina Modest, who worked formerly with Msichana Initiative, an organization based in Dar es Salaam, whose mission is to “advocate for reforms of discriminatory legal frameworks and enforcement of gender-sensitive approaches through engaging girls, community, and relevant stakeholders.”

Belina held three workshops this past month and I am pleased to post the report from the first one below.  I know this may be a repeat for some of you who follow Toa on social media, but it’s still worth your while to take a peek as there is a bit more detail as well as more photos taken by our resident pap, Ema Mnubi.  Enjoy!

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On July 3rd, Toa Nafasi welcomed Belina Modest as our new education volunteer.

There was an introduction of the topic called ‘Protection and the Rights of the Child,’ and an explanation that the facilitator would use a participatory method to teach.

Belina asked the staff different questions concerning the topic such as: (1) Who is a child?  (2) What is child protection?  (3) Who is responsible in protecting a child?  (4) What techniques do you use to communicate with the child while teaching?  (5) What teaching tools do you use?  The tutors formed groups and had to discuss and choose one member in each group to present, sharing their ideas on what they knew concerning the topic.  Then Belina filled in the gaps such as:

(1) The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) defines a child as a human being under the age of 18 years.

(2) The term “child protection” means safeguarding children from harm, which includes violence, abuse, exploitation, and neglect.

(3) In 1924, the League of Nations adopted a declaration on children’s rights that the whole world has to ensure the well-being of children to the best of their ability.

(4) In order to best communicate with a child, teachers can use the techniques of: attentive listening; patience; using body language; showing love and care; addressing the child immediately; and focusing on correcting behavior and not the child’s core personality.

(5) Teaching and learning tools should have variety of features such as: take into account the age of the child; be safe; be attractive to the children; inspire creativity and curiosity; be durable; and address the intended concept.

 

Then Belina explained in short the origin of the rights of the child in Tanzania.  After signing the international rights treaties in 1996, Tanzania then created a child rights policy which was intended to protect the rights of the child and to promote universal education as the government believed that children’s protection was a key factor in promoting national well-being.  However, even after having a policy, Tanzania stayed for long time without children’s protection laws until 2009.

Rights of the child include but are not limited to: health; a name, a nationality, and a family; involvement in decision-making; being taken care of and given food, education, shelter, and freedom; protection; the chance to play; and the most basic of all: life.

At the end of the presentation, the tutors agreed to put into action what was discussed, for example showing love and affection to the children and protecting them; cooperating with parents to ensure their protection; emphasizing children’s rights at school and in the community at large; and considering body language, eye contact, and smiles when with the children.

 

Belina also recommended that the teachers should use more colored pictures when teaching since colors attract children and stimulate their eyes which is good in for their growth and makes them enjoy learning activities.  They should also listen more to the children and give them enough time to think things through and express themselves.

All in all, it was a wonderful first workshop with our new dada, Belina!