After a baseline study, curriculum development, and teacher training, the final piece of the Life Skills in Schools pilot program is FINALLY complete—providing resource toolkits! I have to say, this was probably the most rewarding part of the pilot for me because you have never seen a kid happier than one who loves football (soccer), and their school just received a football for the first time!
Resource provision is not generally a strategy that we like to use at TFFT because of the costs and the lack of sustainability. However, resource provision is critical at times. If you think of an American classroom and the number of resources that are available to students, it is amazing. And I’m not just talking about things like Smart boards and laptops…things like chalk, jump ropes, and scissors are supplies that many schools in Tanzania run short on. So, for the sake of our pilot, we provided schools with a few basic things to conduct the activities in the curriculum teaching guide. For me, it looked like a challenge from “Amazing Race” (God bless our phenomenal driver, Deo!) to find random things at hardware stores that could be repurposed for resources in the guide. (Full Circle also focuses on sharpening problem solving skills)
After many delays, interns, and trips to the hardware shop, we finally created the Full Circle toolkit! And the reward of seeing teachers’ and students’ excitement of receiving teaching and playing resources was worth it all! So Deo and I spent 3 days driving all over the Meru area delivering the much-anticipated toolkits! I have to admit—I loved it. The beautiful Tanzanian landscape is a great reminder as to why you spent last night turning kitchen sponges into playing dice! Note to self – next time don’t do this during rainy season!
As I said, resource provision is not a long-term strategy for TFFT, but it helps us work towards the larger picture. For the Life Skills pilot, this picture is a student leaving primary school with the skills to problem solve, make healthy decisions, care for themselves and their families, relate well with others, be creative, and set goals. We want to see teachers who are engaged with their students and use activities to teach in and out of the classroom. We want to see schools that prioritize the very critical “other” education that students should receive in school. If we can contribute towards achieving this in these 10 schools, and later, across Tanzania…I will be a very happy person!
I think it’s safe to say they really appreciated the toolkits…
REALLY appreciated them!