There is something powerful that happens when parents take ownership over their child’s education and actively work together to improve their community school.
Over the past three months, Wellspring Program Manager Rachel Mahuku has been working closely with four of our schools, to help them improve early childhood education using an asset-based approach.Asset-Based thinking helps communities utilize what they already have to get what they want, instead of depending on outside agencies to improve circumstances for them.
These are some of the results:
- Kayanga Primary School: Between 50-95 parents showed up voluntarily to the meetings. Parents focused on providing better nutrition to their children. Every parent brought 500 RWF (less than $1) and they got flour, sugar, a big saucepan, plastic cups, and mats. They budgeted for that. Some ladies put time for the preparation and paid a little bit for their time.
- Rusororo Primary School: Parents walked through all the steps and built a vision. Parents have now organized to bring materials that children will be using for their learning, things like balls from banana leaves, bottles tops for counting, tissue for cleaning, empty water bottles, and beans to learn music and rhythm. A young father learned how to apply this to learning for a three year old within his own home.
- Kabuga Group Scholaire: The play area was not conducive to children and had a lot of long grasses. First they cleaned the area to make it safe for their children. They found and killed a snake while they were doing it. There are very few seats for many children. They are going to gather money to buy seats for their children in the class. The connectors here are very good and they are taking their own initiative. They realized that their young children needed different toilets from the older children and they needed doors. One older mother came with two balls she had made herself for them and encouraged others to do the same.
- Gasabo Primary School: Gasabo Primary has started the training but not yet moved to the action phase. Parent participation has been a bigger challenge than in the other schools because another organization has given the parents everything they need and this is much easier for them than Wellspring’s call to collective responsibility. We will continue to work with parents here to foster greater ownership.
All of these results have happened in a short time frame without any financial investment from Wellspring. They are an encouraging example of what is possible as more parents take ownership over the school community.