Dear Friends of The Toa Nafasi Project,
I hope this letter finds you all well. We at The Toa Nafasi Project have had a busy and productive first quarter of 2021.
For starters, our new Executive Director, Innocent Estomih, and the rest of the team opened up the fresh academic year in our 11 participating public school sites by conducting parents’ meetings prior to jumping into our intervention with the new class of Standard One pupils.
These gatherings are general informational meetings so that families know of our presence in their children’s schools and can feel free to ask questions or raise concerns about students’ progress. They are conducted with Toa Nafasi staff, government school teachers, and headmasters/mistresses.
Tutor Leader Hyasinta explains our assessment
Tutor Dorcas distributes our brochure
Parents gather to find out more about the project
Attendees watch a video made by our partner Tai Tanzania that shows how parental cooperation helps children with academic success
After completing the meetings, Hyasinta and the tutoring staff began the delicate process of observation and assessment to determine each child’s baseline aptitude and general behaviors. We are now analyzing that data and soon we will be able to determine who falls into Tiers 1, 2, and 3 as per the Response to Intervention model seen below.
Our guiding light: the RTI model
As in past years, students will be reassessed after six months and one year to gauge progress. We should have results from the initial test in the next quarterly report as well as updates on last year’s cohorts. We had expected the 2020 students to lag far behind but a sample testing in October showed that they were performing just as well as children in previous years. The pandemic definitely took its toll in myriad other ways in Tanzania, but so far, the Toa Nafasi kids have come out unscathed!
A six month check-up reveals that student performance did not suffer despite missing 3.5 months of class
In addition to kicking off 2021 with a bang for the students, our Education Officer, Belina Modest, also ramped up our professional development activities for the staff with more and better weekly workshops including the Linda na Uwezo (Protect with Ability) series conducted by our friend, Novatus Marandu and his group, Linda Community. This outfit promotes Tanzanian communities free from sexual abuse, violence, and trafficking so that all children may thrive. Sadly, we have seen such cases in the past and we are thrilled to finally be able to address this sensitive topic in the schools we serve with Nova’s thoughtful seminars.
Novatus leading a sexual abuse awareness seminar
Government school teachers listening in
We continue to hold workshops on other topics each week as well ranging from peer-led according to our tutors’ interests to partner-sponsored with input from local organizations like Songambele and Femme International. These collaborations, stoked by our Partner Liaison, Ema Mnubi, have proved invaluable over the last year and we hope to keep them up and develop even more.
The marathon took place on Sunday, February 28th starting at the Moshi Cooperative University sports grounds and looping throughout the town back to the stadium where refreshments were given and a speech was made by Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner, Anna Mghwira. You can check out the Toa blog post about the event here.
The Kili Krew
International Women’s Day took place on Monday, March 8th under the theme of “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.” The celebration began with a march around town followed by exhibitions from various organizations. The guest of honor was the Mayor of Moshi Municipality, Mr. Juma Raibu, who gave a speech calling out the good work of institutions like Toa and our various partners. Please see the blog entry here for more.
Tutors rejoice on IWD 2021
We hope to have more great news to report next quarter including the results of our assessment and the progress of our tutoring program as well as more partner news and developments from our staff workshops.
As always, we thank YOU, our friends and donors for hanging in there with us and supporting us in whatever capacity you can. It’s because of you that we are able to do this important and impactful work.
With all best wishes,