Dear Nhaka Friends,
I had the pleasure of meeting Patrick Makokoro, Founder of Nhaka, at a conference in the Washington D.C. area during the spring of 2015 and I was very impressed by the work Nhaka Foundation does for children. Long story short, I decided to volunteer with the Nhaka Team to provide training this past winter. During the months of June and July (summer in the US) I had the amazing opportunity of being a part of the Nhaka Team that delivered training to approximately 120 teachers and Headmasters in Mashonaland East province of Zimbabwe. The Early Childhood Development (ECD) Teacher training program is one of the programs being implemented by Nhaka Foundation in the communities they are serving. Prior to my visit, between January and June 2016 Charity Bafana, Glenda Takavadii and I met monthly via Skype to plan the ECD teacher training. They provided me as much information as they could about the children, teachers, schools and communities we would be serving. The day finally arrived, June 25th, when I made the long flight from the Washington D.C. area to Harare, Zimbabwe.....my first trip to Africa!!
I spent my first week traveling with Nhaka Team to the schools where the trainings were to be conducted. By seeing the children, teachers and schools first hand I was able to tailor the training to their specific needs. My second week was spent conducting the trainings with the team and the District Early Childhood Development (ECD) Trainer. Since the trainings were for experienced teachers we started with a review of the learning theory and developmentally appropriate practice for young children. We then covered second language acquisition theory, how to serve children with special needs, and literacy and maths instructional strategies. Each training day ended with time for teachers to create lesson plans to put what they had learned into action.
A survey was given to all participants at the end of each training day. The feedback was very positive and most participants wanted additional training. My final week in Zimbabwe was spent visiting the schools once again to observe the teachers in action with their newly acquired techniques. I could not believe how fast my three weeks in Zimbabwe went. The highlight of my trip was working with all of the fantastic teachers, meeting all of the beautiful children and the beautiful landscape of rural Zimbabwe.
Charity, Glenda and I have continued our meetings via Skype since my return to the U.S. We are working plans for future Teacher Trainings. Literally everyday since my visit I think of my experience in Zimbabwe and all of the wonderful people I met. I am proud and humble to be a part of the Nhaka team!!!!
Dr Lea Ann Christenson