Nov 25, 2020

Hearing from One of Our Tutors

Rose
Rose

Every Friday, we have training workshops for all of our 30 Tanzanian tutors. The fully female tutoring staff learn about issues ranging from child psychology to Tanzania child policy to creating teaching aids. Last week, we caught up with one of our tutors, Rose from Jitegemee Primary School, to ask about her experience working with Toa and tutoring vulnerable learners.

“I love working at Toa Nafasi because I love children,” she said. 

“I was so excited to help ‘slow learners’ and to see them changing to become good students. The first time I started my job I was so happy because I managed to teach one child who was very lost in school and she didn’t know how to hold a pencil. I taught her patiently until she managed to hold a pencil and eventually became a good student. 

I feel successful in my work. I have managed to teach a lot of struggling students and they have become good at school. Also I have become very confident; I am capable of standing in front of the congregation at church and speaking.

My life was hard before starting a job. Since I joined Toa Nafasi, I have managed to pay my bills and even help my parents and pay for my child’s school fees. Also my perspective towards life has changed a lot. I know that through being close to children who have learning difficulties and motivating them, I am helping children to be confident and to love studying.”

Way to go Rose! Toa Nafasi is so proud of the work you do with these children and the success you have achieved in your professional life!!

Oct 17, 2020

We are back in school

Test Day!
Test Day!

It has been another busy period for The Toa Nafasi Project.  Schools are back in session after three months of closures due to COVID-19.  Every year, we observe each new Grade One student for social behaviors, adaptive abilities, and motor skills.  The students also take a test for literacy, numeracy, and cognitive skills.  This year has been no different except for the unexpected break!  Our tutors were able to complete testing in July and we found that 59% of the children are what we term “typically developed” and classified as Tier 1.  They will likely need no extra support from our tutors to succeed in school.  On the other hand, 41% of pupils could use some extra support from Toa (Tiers 2 and 3) and we will provide this assistance to them through in-school tutoring and medical/psychosocial referrals.

However, it must be acknowledged that 2020 is a year like no other.  Like other countries, Tanzania closed all schools for a lengthy period of time, from March 16th to June 29th, and this interruption is likely to have some significant consequences.  Although children are back in the classroom now, research shows that disruptions in school continuity can cause long-term harm to educational achievement.  Thus, we are moving ahead with our regularly scheduled second assessment (six months after the first) in a small sampling of children to demonstrate this theory and will most likely continue working with the 2020 students well into 2021 due to what we assume will be an unfavorable outcome of the second assessment.  We are committed to helping our students get through this difficult time and succeed in the future.

Another part of our work includes helping parents to become partners in their children’s education.  Most parents and caregivers do not know about learning differences, so we are proud to have partnered with Tai Tanzania to produce a short video for families to watch and learn from.  Aside from being informative, it is also moving and a pleasure to watch. You don’t even need to know Swahili to know what is going on! We think the message will really resonate with parents who perhaps did not understand their child’s different learning style or disability.  Toa is so excited to have been able to collaborate with a fellow Tanzanian NGO on this beautiful project.

We will support 41% of Grade One students
We will support 41% of Grade One students

Links:

Jun 25, 2020

Our Work during Coronavirus

Tutors prepare to return to school
Tutors prepare to return to school

As with the rest of the world, Tanzania has had to adjust to a new normal in the face of Coronavirus. Primary schools have been out of session in Tanzania since March 16th, but we are excited that they will be opening up again on June 29! 

During this closure, we have spent our time doing special health and sanitation workshops with our tutors and are prepping our staff with the necessary PPE to continue our important work. This was all made possibly through our generous donors who contributed on Giving Tuesday Now. We don’t know what we would do without all of you.

Once we’re back to school on June 29, we will have a lot of catching up to do. Some children will have suffered for lack of the structured classroom environment and returning to school will be a big challenge for many. As you know, Toa assesses students in March each year in order to group the students into Tier One (typically developed), Tier Two (slightly lagging), and Tier Three (delayed development) cohorts. Although we were unable to finish our testing before the lockdown began, we are ready now to hit the ground running. By the end of July, all testing should be completed and we will be able to begin our remedial and referral services from the beginning of August. As life resumes a kind of normality, we are aware that these services are more needed than ever before! 

Despite the school closures, we have been hard at work analyzing our progress until now and we are excited to measure our impact on students from 2019. According to our Early Childhood Education Platform, Toa tests all incoming Standard One students a few months into the school year. Our tutors provide special remedial services to students who test below a baseline score of 80%. To track their progress, we test these students two more times over the course of 11 months. As you can see in this chart, for 2019-2020, the baseline test showed 296 students unable to achieve a passing score out of 449 tested (66%). One year later, only 13 students (3%) were unable to achieve a passing score. Our tutors and students have made impressive progress!

We are thrilled to have been recognized and honored by the Lord Mayor of Moshi, Ray Mboya. Augustino went to accept the hati ya pongezi (congratulatory document). We were nominated for the award by the headmistress of Jamhuri Primary School, Mwalimu Mashauri, for the classroom refurbishment project of her school.

Student Progress Chart
Student Progress Chart
Accepting the Congratulatory Document
Accepting the Congratulatory Document
 
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