GlobalGiving Report May - August 2021
Context during the period
Schools have remained open since our last report in May. The third wave of the pandemic seems to be waning, however a fourth wave is forecasted for the region. Vaccination uptake and availability in Malawi is very low and about 2% of the population is estimated to have been vaccinated assuming those who have received the first dose also received a second.
As a result of Covid-19 we have had the opportunity to rethink our strategy so that your precious donations make the greatest impacts. We already have data showing the significant and positive impacts of our programme on 4000 primary school children in 10 public primary schools. Our evidence-based, child-centred teaching and learning methods accelerated childrens’ learning by over 433 % in just one year. It was gratifying to see that the Malawi Government recognised the advantages for these children by posting our volunteer specialist literacy teachers to the same schools, so that these teachers can provide continuity for their pupils and build on the significant progress made.
To reach a greater number of schools in Malawi (there are just over 6,000 in the country) we are now concentrating our efforts on teacher training. Working closely with the lead teacher training institution in Malawi, Emmanuel University (EmUni) based in the capital city of Lilongwe (Central region). We have been invited to help ensure their graduate teachers understand and are able to effectively teach using our methods.
Our partnership with EmUni, an organisation with a strong ethos of innovation and community partnerships, aims to develop and document appropriate ways of supporting improved literacy teaching within the teacher training curriculum. This will then be able to be offered more broadly to the sector through the Ministry of Education, who set guidance, standards and manage the public teacher training institutions.
Your donation has enabled us to continue work with our partner, Emmanuel University who began to train a new cohort of student-teachers from April this year. These are the first primary school student-teachers who no longer study for a two-year Certification, and who now study a three-year Diploma course.
To help with the development of the diploma course, we have been further developing our relationship with the English, Chichewa and Maths lecturers and learning more about the current course structure, content, teaching demonstrations, lesson planning etc. ensuring that we create contextually appropriate, sustainable practices and progressive change.
Working remotely during this period, the CharChar-EmUni Technical Working Group began by co-developing the aims of the partnership. EmUni identified their broad needs and challenges, which we responded to by developing practical ways in which CharChar can support the University to meet these needs and overcome the technical and practical challenges.
Our joint Technical Working Group is now making good progress, we are currently focussed on the ‘how’ (pedagogy) of teaching. Lecturers are beginning to implement new practices directly in their classrooms and have received positive feedback from student teachers. We have also had the opportunity to train lecturers in new methods of providing feedback to their students. One of our professional training experts has successfully trained the Technical Working Group in providing analysis and culturally appropriate positive feedback, following current neuro-linguistic programming approaches. The focus of these sessions is on developing and reinforcing best practice and professional growth. This approach has already been adopted by the lecturing staff and successfully implemented in the University.
Lecturers are excited by the introduction of new methodologies, particularly as they have experienced the positive impacts for themselves and on their students. This feedback is very encouraging and our team of volunteer technical advisors remain committed and motivated to continue this work.
On a side note, the process is quite intensive and there are frequent disruptions (and not always in Malawi!) with connectivity, bandwidth and electricity supply. This means developing the work both in Malawi and in the UK requires dedication and a lot of time. However, we are very grateful to be able to support our colleagues in Malawi this way. A few years ago this kind of remote support was unthinkable!
Your support has also enabled us to continue supporting about 40 recently qualified teachers who were retrained with CharChar’s literacy specialism. We continue to provide; coaching and mentoring support, teaching and learning resources and psycho-social support throughout the pandemic.
This year there have been a lot of changes made in the Ministry, this has made it more difficult to engage, particularly as the Ministry has been getting to grips with the impacts of the global pandemic. Now that there are a number of new Directors in post in the Ministry of Education we will reach out and introduce our work in the coming period. There is also a new USAID funded programme coming to Malawi in the next year and we have been developing ideas about how we can use this opportunity to work with others and help maximise our impacts
In order for lecturers and student teachers to see the new practices and their impacts for themselves, we urgently need to develop two demonstration schools close to the University. Unfortunately our pilot programme being in the southern region, is roughly 500kms away from the University and is therefore not close enough for lecturers and students to travel to.
As part of our work with EmUni we will develop additional teaching and learning materials (and professional development portfolios) around the demonstration schools, so that lecturers and students are provided with the opportunity for an immersive and holistic learning experience.
Everything we do in collaboration with EmUni is being documented, with the intention to support the development of all teacher training institutions nationally. The development of two demonstration schools will also enable us to showcase evidence based, high quality teaching practices in inclusive accelerated learning, whilst allowing student teachers and lecturers to be connected with the reality of primary school teaching in Malawi. These two schools are also planned to serve as a live demonstration to the wider primary education sector - since the practices are not on view elsewhere. We maybe small with big ambitions but thanks to your support we are extremely proud of the significant impacts we’re making!
Our ask to you
If you would like to help us by fundraising in your community to reach our target of £50,000 for the two demonstration schools, please contact us for a fundraising kit and support at: email@example.com
Finally, on behalf of all of us at CharChar a huge THANK YOU for your generosity! Your support is essential to change the quality of teaching in Malawi and ultimately to improve the literacy rates and lives of hundreds of thousands of children. Please continue to support us - we value every penny and remain committed to spending 100% of your donations in-country.
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