The Local Factor

One of the most important thing for The Ota Initiative is that the project is as locally based as possible. The Ota Initiative is starting out with the help of a Amizade Global Service-Learning, an American organization, but the ultimate plan is for it to become an independent Tanzanian organization run by locals once the program is established. While visitors to Tanzania may provide resources and ideas, locals are the ones who truly understand what is needed and can most contribute to the education and development of their country.

PROJECT STRUCTURE

Once the program is established, it will be overlooked by a local board of directors and run by a locally hired head teacher. This teacher will be in charge of day-to-day operations and will collaborate with other local and foreign stakeholders to ensure the program continues to run efficiently.

Elementary School Program 

While the head teacher will overlook the program, secondary and university students who are also on break will be hired to help run the program after undergoing a week-long training session. Each day during the program, children will break off into groups led by these student workers who will guide them through various activities aimed at developing confidence, self expression and teamwork. Program participants will be nurtured in small groups but will also learn to present ideas and work with the larger group as a whole.

Another advantage of this structure is that the older student workers will also be able to gain work experience and the income the comes with it. However, perhaps more importantly, we hope that they will also learn from their time as instructors and that the future teachers among them will use more creative techniques in their classrooms as well.

Secondary School Program

The Ota Initiative is working with Amizade Global Service-Learning to arrange for American university students to come to Kayanga to help run lab practicals for the secondary school program. This will provide both an excellent source of funding and cultural exchange. However, we also hope in the future to establish a program where Tanzanian university students can also come to Kayanga to help teach the lab practicals. They would then be working side-by-side with the Americans and gain valued teaching experience.

WHAT ARE THE PEOPLE OF KAYANGA SAYING?

About the primary school program…

“This is a great idea because now teachers do not teach creativity and it really is something children need to learn. Additionally, this program will give children extra time to study instead of just sitting at home. They will learn new things and discover new ideas. Maybe if it is successful teachers will see the importance of this and start using better teaching methods.”

–  Osward, second headmaster of Kayanga Secondary School and father of two

“This program is a good idea because it is a new idea here in our community. It is important because children will learn creativity, and if they are creative, they will do well in school. They will then be innovative and create new things in life. Currently creative learning is not a part of the syllabi here. The government wants students to be creative, but there is no way to do this now and the teachers themselves don’t even know how to teach creativity. This program will help teach students to be creative while they are still children.”

– Rael, teacher at Karagwe Secondary School and mother of two

“I have seen programs like this do great work in other areas but there’s nothing like this here in Karagwe. Starting a program like this would bring something new and unique to the community. Children would be learning creativity and other skills that will help them in excel. The positive effects would be astonishing.”

– Sam, founder of the Karagwe Development Fund and father of 2

“This is a good program that will help children get an education. First children will just want to play, but then later they will realize they were learning and it was fun. Then they will think education is fun. I would send my children to this program.”

– Ruta, resident of Karagwe and father of 5

About the secondary school program…

“Everyone would go to this program. Students know they need lab experience, but they can’t get it at school. We try to buy supplies to help prepare them for the national tests, but we just don’t have enough funds. Students fail their national tests and have to return home because they’ve never done a lab practical lab before.  This program would help fix that and allow students to continue studying.”

– Rael, teacher at Karagwe Secondary School and mother of two

“You need to do this program. Students don’t have the opportunity to do labs here and they fail because of this. If you did this, everyone would benefit.”

– Ruta, Karagwe resident and father of 5

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