Friday, December 16, 2016

Angi in Zanzi

Hey everyone, I'm still stuck under something very heavy (two huge suitcases filled with work, skincare, gifts for Team Toa, and stuffed animals for Drogo), so have not been able to post something new just yet.  Meantime, enjoy this bit of news regarding our Education Consultant, Angi Stone-MacDonald, who earlier this Fall landed in Zanzibar for her second (!!) Fulbright year working with Early Childhood Education and Special Education Needs in Tanzania.  

As you may recall, I've known Angi since 2009 when we met in Lushoto, TZ where she was passing her first Fulbright.  At that time, I was still working with Visions in Action and just starting to do my research on the ideas that would become Toa.  In 2012, I went to see Angi in Boston and together we revived the idea post-Visions, and have been a great pair ever since.

We are a bit "Laverne and Shirley" in our approaches to the work which actually works quite well.  While I am the mad scientist with the zany ideas and creative flair, Angi is the methodical analyst whose patient hand and steady eye misses no detail and gives us the street cred from which we preach.  2017 marks Year Five of working together on Toa, my Year Ten in Tanzania.

But one (or two) jobs is not enough for Angi.  This year she adds guest professor at the State University of Zanzibar to her resume.  Founded in 1999, SUZA has quickly made a name for itself of academic quality and excellence in the region.  As a public university, it focuses on delivering relevant education geared toward social change and positive transformation.  This in turn contributes to the socio-economic development of the country. 

Please see below what I've shamelessly lifted from UMass Boston's News site, and join me in saying HONGERA SANA! (MANY CONGRATULATIONS!) to Angi!!

Angi in 2016, giving a teacher training seminar
at Msaranga Primary School for The Toa Nafasi Project.


Assistant Professor Angela Stone-MacDonald has received a Fulbright grant to teach early childhood education in Tanzania this September.

Stone-MacDonald, an assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Development's Early Education and Care in Inclusive Settings Program, will be building upon a partnership she has with the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA).

She will be teaching in the early childhood diploma program she helped design last year and collaborating with SUZA faculty on research.  The SUZA faculty also want her to help develop the curriculum for a four-year program that would combine early childhood instruction with inclusive education, Stone-MacDonald's area of expertise.

She is excited about the opportunity to partner with a public university that shares UMass Boston's mission of affordability and access.

"I think it's really exciting that I can move from one public, community-engaged institution to another and try and support not only the two institutions but the two different communities," Stone-MacDonald said.  "For me, this was monumental to being able to move scholarship forward."

There are other parallels too.  SUZA started an early childhood education program in November and is looking to expand; the first students in UMass Boston's Early Childhood Education and Care PhD Program start in the fall.

In December, Stone-MacDonald brought, with the support of UMass Boston's School for Global Inclusion and Social Development, the dean of SUZA’s School of Education to SGSID’s inaugural Building Inclusive Communities: Neighborhoods to Nations Global Conference.  Stone-MacDonald says funding is being sought that would bring students from Zanzibar to UMass Boston.

"We’re really trying to develop partnerships," she said.

In her sixth year at UMass Boston, Stone-MacDonald has been interested in Tanzania ever since she was a PhD student preparing for her dissertation.  She wanted to do something in Africa because her grandparents were missionaries in Africa and her mother, a past Fulbright winner, did research in Liberia.

"The work that I did as a student was on how relevant local context is and it's really exciting to see my work extended to a new location and an early childhood focus," Stone-MacDonald said.

Stone-MacDonald is currently in Tanzania working on The Toa Nafasi Project in Moshi.  (Toa nafasi means "provide a chance" or "give an opportunity.")  In 2013, she started assessing first-graders to identify children who might be able to benefit from being pulled out of the classroom to work in small groups.  Stone-MacDonald analyzes the data to see if progress is being made.  She's currently working with and coaching teachers at four schools.  You can follow her work on her blog:

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