Dear Friends of The Toa Nafasi Project,
We are pleased to report that after the difficult time we went through earlier this year with the third wave of COVID-19 hitting Tanzania particularly hard, and losing one of our own staff members, we have finished this most recent quarter on an up note. Thank you for standing by us!
We are back on our regular assessment schedule after a truncated one last year due to the 3.5 month school closures. You may remember that in 2020, students were only tested at the start of the school year for a baseline assessment and after a full year when schools had resumed for a while and we were actually able to carry out our interventions; we skipped the six month evaluation altogether. This year, we did our baseline assessment in April/May, so Test 2 after six months of intervention is happening now and we should have results for you by the end of the year. Test 3 should happen in April/May of next year.
An example of the 2020 results at one of our participating public primary school sites. NB: For those children whose scores did not improve over the course of the year, we are working with partners to help further support them in 2021.
The breakdown of 2021 students found to be in Tiers 1, 2, and 3 based on their baseline assessment at all of the schools in which we work.
An example of the 2021 baseline breakdowns at one of the 11 public primary schools in which Toa has a presence.
We are also back on our regular weekly workshop schedule for our tutoring staff which we had halted temporarily during the heat of the third wave.
Toa Education Officer Belina Modest discusses our child safeguarding policy with the staff.
Founder of Linda Community and Toa consultant, Novatus Marandu, teaches self-defense and empowerment for girls and women.
We also did some more intense trainings than the weekly workshops such as the one conducted at Sibusiso Foundation in Arusha on October 8th. This training discussed the Identification of different types of developmental disabilities, preventive measures and possible treatments/therapy, and assessment. Five Toa tutors were lucky enough to travel to the big city to attend in the hopes that they would come back and peer-educate their fellow staff and impart them with knowledge to help them teach.
Not the best shot, but you can see the tutors smiling as they proudly hold up their certificates upon completing the training session.
And the tutors have also been learning to use a program made for smartphones that both offers the scaffolding of lesson plans for the students and delivers an incentive system for themselves. “The Golden Teacher” was created by a man named Hugh Clench at an outfit called OnLine Training which was founded in 2008 “to provide flexible professional development for teachers and teaching assistants who support children and young people with special educational needs.”
A pair of Toa tutors familiarizes themselves with The Golden Teacher program.
We participated in two exciting events in Moshi this past quarter and one in the United States.
On September 5th, we supported our long-time partners, The Songambele Initiative, at their marathon to raise money for wheelchairs and other assistive devices, and healthcare for those with disabilities.
On October 11th, we recognized the International Day of the Girl Child with other NGOs and people around Moshi. The event was held at Uhuru Park garden in in town and involved government officials as well as primary and secondary students from local schools. The day is celebrated annually to acknowledge girls’ rights and the unique challenges that girls around the world face. The theme this year was “Digital Generation, Our Generation” which refers to a call for equal access to the internet as well as digital devices for girls.
Toa tutors marched with students from their schools.
Meanwhile, on October 16th, the U.S.-based members of Toa gathered for a fundraising event at the Washington DC area home of Clark Armitage, longtime Toa board member. About 30 guests came together (safely) in support of Toa’s mission and many others sent regrets. I like to think we made some new friends and raised a nice chunk of change to boot!
Clark’s high school-age daughter, Carly, who has been volunteering with Toa on fundraising, research, and social media, gave a speech.
Motherhood hasn’t changed me! To my left (and holding my child), a dear friend from high school, Andrea Chichester, and her partner, Keith Graham, and new friends Amy and Bryant Nichols.
Finally, we had an impromptu visit in late September from the founders of A Childhood for Children, Radhika Narain and John De Silva. Through a network of cosmic connections, they found us in Moshi and stopped by 3 of our 11 school sites, passed out school supplies, and stayed for porridge! We think this is the beginning of a beautiful partnership!! 🙂
Radhika makes a friend for life.
John has a question for the teacher.
Our apologies this third quarter report is making it into your inboxes so late. With a full house over here and many miles between Washington DC and Kilimanjaro, things have been a bit chaotic. Thankfully, we have some real standouts in our Tanzanian leadership team, one of whom we will be featuring in our End of Year Report in a few weeks. Stay tuned for that.
Also, please remember that November 30th is GivingTuesday, and we at Toa would be grateful if you’d keep us in your hearts this Giving Season. We managed to get through the eye of the storm, but your support is always needed. Because of you, we are still here — providing chances for both tutors and students.
We will have another update soonish, but until then, we are sending out our very best to all our friends and donors. We thank YOU deeply for hanging in there with us and supporting us in whatever capacity you can.
With all best wishes,