LTPP 18: Alyson, Vicki and Sion meeting Jon Kidd from Hijinx Theatre Company to discuss skill sharing in Wales and Lesotho prior to their departure
Over 2 weekends in October and November 2017, our new Lesotho Teacher Placement Programme (LTPP) 2018 volunteer recruits came together in Cardiff Bay to start their training and preparation for living and working in Lesotho for 5 months. The weekends consisted of laying the groundwork for action planning, information sharing, and making connections with LTPP past participants to hear their stories. From the very first day, their enthusiasm, energy, ebullience and positivity was undeniable. The diversity and depth of knowledge, skills and experience that they bring are certainly a recipe for success and as a team, they will undoubtedly take Dolen Cymru’s educational partnership work on to yet another level of impact across the two cultures of Lesotho and Wales.
The LTPP 2018 team will be the third team of Welsh teachers to work in the remote mountain town of Thaba Tseka. The educational community there are working hard to raise standards to improve outcomes and increase the chances for their learners to reach their potential. However the Thaba Tseka District is still 10th out of 10 in the district league table for results so the need for continued support and collaborative working is still high. The impact of the LTPP 2016 and 2017 on the teachers and learners of Thaba Tseka schools has been evidenced and reported. With LTPP returning for 2018 the aim is to strengthen the working partnerships and to empower the teachers of Thaba Tseka to make the changes that they want for themselves as professionals and for their learner’s outcomes. The LTPP team will progress projects already started in literacy, working with the Lesotho College of Education and the teacher trainees, working with the Education Officers and promoting interactive teaching and learning to deliver the new curriculum. They will also extend the programme remit to start introduce new projects and to put their own stamp in the placement.
Our new project for 2018 is WASH – Water Sanitation and Hygiene. This is a multi-faceted programme funded by a Hub Cymru Africa Grant for Thaba Tseka and the Welsh Government Wakes for Africa Grant for Dolen Cymru activities. This ground-breaking project will involve working with an on the ground partner, TED Biogas, who will be building brand new and innovative, Amalooloo waterless toilets in one of our partner schools. Combined with this construction element, Dolen Cymru plans to facilitate of a sustainable educational package in our partner schools. Our Welsh teachers will train and collaborate with identified Basotho teachers to deliver an exciting, interactive educational programme about health, hygiene and well-being through engaging lessons, quizzes, songs, games and fun practical activities. These identified Basotho teachers will then train their colleagues in their schools who will consequently deliver the lessons in their classes. We are also introducing a Digital Literacy element to the programme so that the groups of learners can digitally capture the progress of the WASH project using a tablet computer to ‘vlog’, take photos and record the impact. This will hopefully take the work of the project to a wider audience who will see the important work that the schools are doing to promote awareness of good practise in sanitation, hygiene and health and the positive impact on the well-being of the children and the community.
We are also incredibly fortunate this year that in addition to the LTPP 2018 team of 3 – Alyson, Sion and Vicki, who will be based in our partner primary schools, we have been able to build in another dimension to our Lesotho Educational Programme. One other teacher – David, will going out to Lesotho for 3 months with the remit of conducting a research and needs analysis project. The aim of this is to gather information and evidence from a variety of educational professionals in order to assist Dolen Cymru in identifying and investigating potential areas of need within the Lesotho education system which will meaningfully inform the shape of Dolen’s future education programmes in a targeted and relevant way that responds to the need identified by the people involved on a daily basis. This will include working with existing and longstanding partners as well as developing new links and nurturing new relationships within the educational system. With all partners, the key question we are asking is, “How can Dolen Cymru be more effective in supporting you?”
Our 2018 Team with leave the UK on 14th January from London. During their time in Lesotho they will gain wider experience and skills – both professionally and personally, from this opportunity. Overcoming the challenges of living and working abroad (such as dealing with bureaucracy, accepting different working practices and surviving without the usual support network of family and friends) will be a test of their resourcefulness and resilience and we at Dolen Cymru have no doubt that this team will rise to this challenge and ‘nail it’. Alyson, Sion and Vicki are going to be blogging about their LTPP experience and all it entails. Follow them on their journey and read about it right here on the Dolen Cymru website. Watch this space!