In an apropos follow-up to last month's "Maendeleo" entry, this post is titled "Matokeo" which means "results" in Swahili....and, I gotta say, it feels darn good to finally be able to write about some of those!!
Since I just composed the Toa Nafasi quarterly report, I'm gonna crib from that document cuz I'm a wee bit tired from producing said results. Some of this is clearly repetition for any loyal blog followers out there, but if you keep calm and read on, you will find that the big finale does not disappoint!! (I've also highlighted the news in red type in case some of you just wanna get there faster....)
Since completing the assessment in May, we were able to identify those students who needed further follow-up to determine why they were under-performing in the classroom, approximately 20 children. We conducted that follow-up in the form of teacher questionnaires, parent interviews, and doctors’ appointments during the months of June, July, and August. We discovered a few children who demonstrated hearing, vision, and psychosocial difficulties and we attempted to address those issues with the help of partner organizations such as the Gabriella Rehabilitation Center, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center, and Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania.
We also familiarized ourselves with new teaching methodologies incorporating the use of manipulatives in small group tutorial sessions in order to better teach those children who do in fact have intellectual impairments. In this way, we have begun to change the outcomes of their academic work in the Standard One classroom, and we are happy to report that the teachers have seen the fruits of our labor! I think I can officially say that the pilot program of The Toa Nafasi Project was indeed a success!!
At the end of August, I returned to the United States for the purposes of fundraising. I have planned an event for Wednesday, November 20th that will feature: a speech and slides about the Project; a Q&A session afterwards; the signing of a guestbook to keep track of potential donors’ contact information; distribution of informational brochures about the Project; giveaways of Tanzanian crafts to the guests; a fun “pub quiz” to test guests’ knowledge about Tanzania; the introduction of various American participants in the Project, either from the programming side or on the U.S. board of directors; the planning of a group of trekkers for a 2014 Kilimanjaro “climb for the cause;” and of course, cocktail hour!
Other administrative tasks on the list of things to do while I am stateside include: business banking, locating more sources of funding, contact networking, and gathering more teacher resources.
Finally, the Tanzanian staff continues to hold down the front lines back in Msaranga. Vumilia Temba is heading up the tutorial sessions with our approximately 20 “slow learners” and, together, they have been making great strides. Vumi is also taking a few of our most intellectually challenged students for further testing at the Gabriella Center this month in order to consider whether they might be better off in an exclusive classroom. Harrison Ngowi mans the desk at Toa Nafasi headquarters in Moshi town, dealing with various managerial issues pertaining to the NGO in Tanzania. We thank him vociferously for being the one to face the Tanzania Revenue Authority, no doubt a wearisome task! Headmaster Kennedy and Teacher Mshiu support our efforts at Msaranga Primary School and Councilman Kiwelu and other local government officials advocate our efforts in the village.