Jun 8, 2016

Final Report: RtL prepares to close but our commitment continues

RtL staff visiting community school in Nimule
RtL staff visiting community school in Nimule

As South Sudan prepares for the start of its annual rainy season, Winrock International has begun to ramp down its activities under the Room to Learn (RtL) program. Due to the increasing humanitarian crisis and the fragile peace agreement of August 2015, USAID has decided to shift its focus to strengthening resilient and conflict resistant communities in the country; as a result, the RtL program will close in September 2016 – two years earlier than initially planned.

In spite of the dire political and security environment, the RtL Project has entered 388 school communities. By the end of September we will have supported nearly 400 school development plans, trained over 1,400 teachers in literacy instruction, introduced innovative gender and social inclusion approaches and psycho-social support practices, and delivered more than 990 packages of essential education instructional materials for teachers and students across six states. The project is estimated to have supported roughly 233,000 children to date and hopes to reach an additional 60,000 by the end of September.

Your generous support enabled us to supplement our grants to school committees for education materials such as portable blackboards, lesson planning books for teachers, supplementary readers, educational games, and basic school supplies. These materials are a vital complement to RtL’s teacher training efforts, enabling educators to prepare relevant lesson plans and adjust learning materials to be targeted and effective for each level of learner. As Denya Alex Michael, an English teacher at Leikor primary school, notes, “The skills I learned from the <RtL> training helped me to deliver child-centered lessons through the use of handmade teaching aids. Children now report to school on time because they find my teaching interesting.”

On behalf of Winrock and our partners FHI360 and Plan International, we thank you for your generous support. Your commitment has been invaluable in making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese students and educators in hundreds of communities– an impact that will positively affect these communities for years to come. Winrock and its partners continue to hope that peace and stability will return to South Sudan, and we remain committed to improving educational quality and access for youth and children throughout the country.

RtL delivers desks to school in Magwi
RtL delivers desks to school in Magwi
Thank you for supporting students in South Sudan!
Thank you for supporting students in South Sudan!
May 13, 2016

Boots To Business: One Veteran At A Time

Boots To Business: One Veteran At A Time

The Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) is helping military veterans find a future in the world of entrepreneurship.

Boots to Business is a two-day entrepreneurial education and training program aimed at helping veterans gain the foundational knowledge required to start their own business.  The program is made possible by the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Classes cover topics like business concept evaluations and accessing start-up capital and technical assistance.

The AWBC has been part of the Boots to Business program since 2014, training service members and military spouses who are transitioning or retiring from service from the Little Rock Air Force base in Jacksonville, ARK.

AWBC Director Liz Young created an Agricultural Lunch N’ learn to educate servicemen and veterans on farming as a future entrepreneurial business. From the agricultural trainings, many veterans have become AWBC clients, receiving one-on-one assistance to start farm operations.

Veterans are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans. Young says farming provides an opportunity for soldiers to find peace and solitude, feed their community and their family, while restoring the farming heartland of this country. Soldiers have a high probability for success because of their physical strength, hard work ethic, and fortitude.

According to U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, Boots to Business program has trained 25,000 transitioning service members on 165 military installations worldwide. 

Apr 20, 2016

Great teachers create great students

Makpwe is a school officer in Nimule County
Makpwe is a school officer in Nimule County

An inspiring and informed teacher is the most important school-related factor influencing student achievement. Now, the primary-level teachers of South Sudan are proving, with the right support and training, they can educate and inspire the future generations of South Sudan’s children.  

With the support from USAID’s Room to Learn (RtL) Program, Winrock International – in partnership with FHI360 and Plan International – has trained Master Trainers to train teachers in the five components of reading instruction, plus English language acquisition. The training content also focuses on the use of educational materials supplied by RtL, plus skills training for the creation of teacher-made and learner-made materials. The content of the training, aimed at head teachers and teachers in primary schools, targets literacy, materials management and care, and psychosocial strategies aimed at positive classroom management. Head teachers and mentor teachers also receive training on mentorship to enable them to provide adequate support to teachers post-training. Developing systems that support teachers in sustained professional learning and refinement of teaching practice is perhaps the single most important way to promote student learning and educational opportunity.

Makpwe, a 29-year-old School Officer, and Guma, a head teacher, both attended the same training session in Nimule town, Eastern Equatoria State in December, 2015. After the training, Makpwe commented, “For me personally, I have l learnt a lot of new things, and as a teacher it is very important in my life because this is a training that I didn’t get before and I feel very happy for that because I think it will help me to educate the children that I teach in my school very well.”

Within the first phase of training, the RtL Program has trained a total of 330 teachers from 55 schools between November and December, 2015; 50 percent of whom have been women. RtL will aim to reach 1,472 educators in training by the end of September 2016. These early initiatives have provided a compass for how to build better trainings – affording teachers of South Sudan and, by extension, their future students every success.

We want to thank you for your continued support which enables us to expand our impact in each school community we enter in South Sudan!

Teachers and master trainers at training session.
Teachers and master trainers at training session.
 
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