Learning the Ropes: Kisii 2019 Head Teachers Conference

by Reuben Acheson and Oliver Ormrod

After an intense week of training, Monday 8 th July saw the 2019 Kisii project workers (PWs) engage in a fruitful, informative Head Teachers Conference.

Invitees included our current partner schools’ Head Teachers as well as those who we have previously worked with. Prompted by various activities, the sessions aimed to voice the Head Teachers’ personal opinions on the most pressing issues facing their schools and to reconcile these with EPAfrica’s five goals: facilitating learning, strengthening school organisation, realising post- secondary opportunities, improving health and supporting student welfare and rights.
A trio of PWs welcomed the Head Teachers, with an icebreaker activity to loosen the atmosphere before Project Manager Emily Grotto began her introductory speech, which outlined EPAfrica’s five goals and the role PWs and Head Teachers would play in achieving these.

Huron Kwaba, Head Teacher of Nyamuya Secondary School (investment years 2015,2016)

The importance of partnership to EPAfrica was exhibited with the first session – the diamond nine. Grouping the room into four teams, including at least one EPAfrica facilitator and two Head Teachers, the aim was to discuss and rank the barriers to education in their schools on a scale of importance. The teams showed encouraging enthusiasm, with the Head Teachers explaining to their groups why they prioritised certain issues over others. While a general consensus was achieved, importance placed on some barriers varied somewhat across schools. This epitomises the benefit of EPAfrica’s approach to development, as PWs can offer appropriate investment in accordance to their schools’ needs. 

Mr Orsoro, Mr Nyakambi and Jess (Project Coordinator) discuss barriers to education

Next, a short break for Chai and Mandazi saw the rest of the PWs join the group. In session two, all PWs got the chance to learn about their partner schools and together with the Head Teachers, brainstormed some personalised solutions to the problems brought up in the last session. This was a success and gave the PWs an insight into the projects they may wish to carry out throughout the next nine weeks. 

After these informative discussions, Head Teachers were asked to complete a questionnaire on the general state of their schools before a traditional Kenyan lunch marked the end of the conference. PWs were then taken to their respective villages by their Head Teachers, ready to begin their work.

Overall, the first week of training was of great benefit to the PWs, culminating in this productive conference. They are now equipped with the necessary skills to implement a sustainable summer project.

About Emily Grotto

Emily was a Project Worker in 2014 and has held various positions since. She  is currently Director of East Africa Strategy.