Funded by the Government of Canada and this collaboration between the GTU and the CTF/FCE, linked 48 young women teachers in rural and remote areas of The Gambia with 12 more experienced colleagues in a mentee-mentor relationship (4 mentees for each mentor) to form a personal and professional support network. Each participant was equipped with a personal mobile phone to allow them to connect, to do research and to share learning. Formal pofessional learning sessions were offered through WhatsApp and during two in-person events. A monitoring and evaluation team (with workers in both Canada and The Gambia) followed the project and ongoing progress reports allowed us to continuously adapt to ensure that activities were responding to needs - even those not origianlly identified. The Gambia Teachers' Union took the lead and engaged their leadrship along with the GTU Ladies' Society to offer sessions and support and to potentially continue this (or similar) project(s) with others.
The project aimed at building the competence and confidence of the young women teachers, reducing their isolation and thereby improving their chances of staying in the profession. The hope was that they would better understand and be more successful in their triple role as teachers, as women in their families (wife, daughter, mother) and as members of the community. It was also an objective that they become role models for the girls and young women in their classes and become self advocates for their own career paths – including growing aspirations for leadership. While it was not an explicit objective at the beginning, it emerged that dealing with pervasive gender-based violence was important and understanding that this was NOT something to be accepted as a social norm and that one could protect oneself (and how to do so). Knowing one's rights and responsibilities as a professional was an overarching objective.
- Training of mentors (on use of technology; the role of mentor – relationship building, etc).
- Orientation of all involved in the project – expectations, responsibilities, limitations, etc.
- Establishment of various communications groups on WhatsApp – Mentors; Mentors and Mentees (per region); Mentees; etc. for ongoing communications, training and resource sharing.
- Four Professional Learning (online) sessions on various project related topics including curriculum resources and effective pedagogy; inclusive child-centered pedagogy, gender-based violence and self protection/reporting; gender specific roles and expectations in society and in school, professional rights and responsibilities, and GTU programs, services and supports.
- Two in-person sessions (one midline and one endline) for more intense professional development, further building of support and planning for the end of the project and beyond.
All project outcomes were met – in both formal and informal project evaluations from our MEL team, participants reported feeling more confident and competent as teachers. Some spoke of feeling capable and perhaps moving to more challenging circumstances (more remote, for example) for greater pay, while others indicated that they would pursue further study. In focus groups, the particpants themselves as well as students, colleagues (including head teachers) commented on the growing professionalism of the young women teachers, how their lessons were more engaging, how their interactions with students were more positive and respectful, how they had become respected in the community. Furthermore, the GTU ensured that they were knowledgeable about the educational structures available to keep them on a good career path and to be recognized and properly compensated for service.
- 2021 – 2022
- 1 Organización que lleva a cabo el proyecto
- 1 Socio de cooperación
- Documentos adjuntos