After two weeks of research and planning the education team has finally begun to put the pieces together for their new initiative.
An early breakfast meeting allowed us time to clarify our thoughts. Our new plan for the summer; to host a large conference for a network of schools in the area, showcasing the initiatives which we have piloted at Salma Kikwete School. This should allow us to focus on the single school, closely working with teachers and pupils, whilst still achieving what will hopefully be a large scale, sustainable impact.
The excitement of having a clear direction to move in was sharply curtailed when we began to write out our timeline for the summer. Designing and piloting initiatives, organising a major conference, and contacting partners to provide us with resources, was going to be a serious task with only 5 weeks to go.
With this in mind we split into teams and set off across the city with long to-do lists. Robin and Sophie headed to a meeting with Hassan Maajar Trust, a Tanzanian NGO to discuss resources for the school and the conference. The meeting ran exceptionally well and they agreed to help us with advertising and networking, very important for ensuring the success of our conference.
Meanwhile Alice and I headed to Salma Kikwete School for the weekly debate club. During our research we had watched this club and found it a rather sombre affair. Little did the school realise the revolution that was about to occur. The motion, “This house believes that classes should be taught in Swahili not English”, was a hot topic among students and sure to generate excitement.
We knew that we had succeeded when the final speaker on the proposition, when questioned about why he was speaking English not Swahili in the debate, given the fact that he supported the use of Swahili, responded with an inspiring yell; “Because those are the rules of this school!” The class went wild. The icing on the cake was provided when the class decided that the motion for next week should be; “This house believes that education is more important than money”. Impressively insightful for a group of 13 year olds.
As shouts, cheers, whistles and boos echoed across the schoolyard from the debating room, Raj met the school headmistress Madame Chanafi. The success of this meeting was pivotal to our whole plan, if Madame Chanafi disliked the idea of the conference we would not be able to work with the school towards it. However despite initial concern about the ambition and scale of the project, she was eventually convinced. We returned home satisfied but weary. The next few days hold exciting possibility for the education team as we begin to move forward with this new plan.
Robbie Gilmore, Education project volunteer