Nhaka Foundation News

Transitioning from Early Childhood Development to Formal Education

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Since October 2016, Nhaka Foundation in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) has been implementing a pilot project to improve the transition of children from the early childhood development program into primary school. The project is called Transition of Early Learners into Formal Education (TELFE) and is aimed at educating teachers and parents on the importance of access to Early Childhood Development (ECD) program and transition of learners through teacher trainings and parenting meetings. During the project ECD and Infant school teachers have been receiving training on methods that promote retention and facilitate smooth transition for children into infant education. Through this project children have been able to access services such as health screenings, nutritional wellbeing as well as child protection.

In addition, coordination, collaboration and networking has been enhanced among partners at district and community level. The project is being carried out in 30 primary schools in the Marondera and Goromonzi districts. The project is building the capacity of primary school teachers and reaching approximately 7,200 children attending early childhood development classes up to grade 3 of primary school education. Most importantly, the project is expected to reduce the dropout rates of children attending primary school in the designated districts. This will offer children from poor and hard to reach families in rural areas of the country with equal rights to education.

Under the Transition of Early Learners into Formal Education (TELFE) project and working with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education  (MoPSE) district ECD and education officers we conducted three trainings for the ECD teachers, teachers-in-charge (T.I.C) and grades one to three teachers from the thirty schools identified for the TELFE project in the Goromonzi and Marondera districts in May. The trainings were well attended with a lot of teachers expressing their appreciation on the course content and its relevancy. A total of 17 schools received teacher trainings and 87 teachers participated in these trainings including T.I.Cs.

 

           

AdministratorTransitioning from Early Childhood Development to Formal Education
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School Nutrition Gardens way to go

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In February 2017, we covered the vegetable beds with a blanket of cattle manure kindly provided by the community. This would ensure a continuing living, fertile medium for all the fresh fruit and vegetables to come. Volunteers from the community worked tirelessly at preparing the vegetable beds, spreading compost, and planting those first seedlings of, onions, tsunga, viscouse, rape and green pepper. Nhaka Foundation’s commitment to this effort was to provide the freshest vegetables to the Early Childhood development (ECD) program pupils as well as grades one to two learners school feeding program.

One really amazing thing is that a number of our vegetable beds were planted TWICE, while several beds saw (3) crops. Proper plant selections contributed to that success. In May 2017 the Self-sustaining Nutrition Garden project at Munyawiri Primary School proved to be the best ever in the 3 months of its existence. There is nothing that is comparable to it, as satisfactory or as thrilling, as gathering the vegetables one has grown. From the community point of view, one of the most important benefits of having the school nutrition gardens is easy access to low-cost, healthy, nutritious produce for learners. The Munyawiri Nutrition Garden Project has helped the school to feed more than 250 pupils including vulnerable learners, at the same time strengthening community food security, improving nutrition, and helping balance family food budgets. We believe that the gardening also nurtures self-esteem and leadership skills among both community members and students. Through their hands-on skills on the nutrition garden project, communities build locally based food economies that emphasize social health, environmentally sustainable practices, and economic strength through their food production. Thus this movement promotes retention of children within the school system and also sets the stage for improved nutrition and health for the children, which is fundamental to improving education.

Team Nhaka is hoping to make the nutrition gardens in months to come better yet. Over the next several months together with the volunteers we will be creating a plan… deciding what to plant, when to plant it. We will refine that rotation plan in preparation for the hand-over of the nutrition garden to the school and the community.

Wilbert Marimira

Field Officer

Nhaka Foundation

 

 

AdministratorSchool Nutrition Gardens way to go
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Education Matters!

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By Patrick Makokoro

Last month, I returned from a whirlwind tour of the U.S. As the Founder and Director of the Nhaka Foundation in Zimbabwe, I work to give hundreds of kids every day the opportunity to experience early childhood education. On my tour, I was an advocate for millions more.

Why does an early education matter? Children start to learn the alphabet. They learn shapes and sounds. They begin to develop fine motor skills like cutting and folding. They enter the world of numbers. These opportunities are their right, but I don’t take them for granted. When I was young, I didn’t have the chance to learn these essential skills. My own children laugh at me sometimes because I have trouble telling colors apart, like burgundy and red. I think many colors look the same. My children already know better because their education began early. I am still catching up, and probably will be the rest of my life.

This is why I’m so passionate about funding early childhood development programs.  Every child around the world deserves to learn these basic skills at an early age. Their brains are incredibly flexible, with neural connections developing hundreds and thousands of times faster than adults. It’s a crucial time for their development. The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is doing amazing work funding these opportunities for children. It is a powerful multilateral partnership working to fund education in the world’s poorest countries, inviting international donors to invest in their plan. It brings foundations, governments, organizations, and private donors together around a single purpose. We must continue to push our governments around the globe to fund it.

I went to the U.S. to do a media tour about the GPE. I traveled to 11 cities, from Houston to Topeka, meeting with RESULTS volunteers and their local media outlets to explain the power of education. I shared my story, hoping the editors would recognize the importance of this opportunity for the U.S. to fully fund its portion of the partnership. They responded with nine media hits about the GPE, including 5 newspaper editorials. “By giving children an education, GPE is giving them a chance,” (The Topeka Capital-Journal). “The United States can and should hold up its role in the world to promote education,” (Hutchinson News). Other outlets included The Mercury, The Ottowa Herald, and the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

I was honored to meet with these editors and volunteers, and I take these experiences back with me to Zimbabwe. I look at my little children and I’m grateful that they know more about colors than I do. I want every child to get started on their education early in life, when it matters most.

Education Matters!

Patrick Makokoro

June 12, 2017

AdministratorEducation Matters!
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Flashback and Updates

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The team has been out in the field the past month working hard with various partners in the communities we serve. We are proud to report that the new buildings at Govera Primary School are about 80% complete! The community from around the school have all been working hard to ensure that we meet the target dates for completion. Along with the newly built classrooms, Team Nhaka worked with the parents and caregivers to have a nutrition garden that will support the feeding program at the school. The vegetables are out of the ground and we are enjoying watching the varieties grow. Our ECD program Field officer has also been working on the construction of the outdoor playground area for the kids and we are almost complete with it.

Follow our very frequent updates on our Facebook page or our Twitter handle! Below is an array of some recent photos taken as we worked in the field. Enjoy!

AdministratorFlashback and Updates
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Team Rock Africa in town!

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Nhaka Foundation works with various partners in order to meet the growing demand of support for young children. This past week and the next, we are going to be working with our friends from Rock Africa who have joined us on the ground from Penn State in the US. We are working in schools to provide psycho social support activities which include counseling, prayer and Biblically based teachings. Team Rock Africa has been an outstanding partner in the past 3 years and we celebrate with them as we look back at 10 years of leaving a lasting legacy!

                       

AdministratorTeam Rock Africa in town!
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Mother Goose Time ECD material landed in Zim

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We are delighted to share that we have just finished unloading a forty foot container loaded with early childhood development learning material all the way from Michigan, USA. Our friendship with the Team at Mother Goose Time dates back to many years ago and they have been consistent in their support towards resourcing rural early childhood development centres with learning and play materials for the young children. This afternoon it was with such a pleasure and deep joy and sense of gratitude for the entire team as we unloaded this container. We are looking forward to sharing this with other ECD actors in the country as we aim to reach over 300 preschool teachers with training and over 18 000 young learners with this material that will support their development. Mother Goose Time for ages 2 1/2 to 5 years is uniquely designed to support parents and teachers in having more time to observe, know, and be with the little children. It gives concrete materials and ideas on how to inspire  children through art, music, logic games and hands-on investigations.

These are solid partnerships that we cherish at Nhaka Foundation as we work hard to ensure that every little child has the best of beginnings at these centres and that they grow up being afforded the opportunity to grow into responsible citizens of their community, country and the global village. Help us celebrate this partnership as we also continue in gratitude for the 10 years we have been working with young children in Zimbabwe.

“Celebrating a decade of leaving a lasting legacy”

  

AdministratorMother Goose Time ECD material landed in Zim
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Renovating Classrooms to create clean, safe and habitable spaces for young kids

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Nhaka Foundation partners with rural area primary schools and the parents and caregivers to create Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centers through the renovation of dilapidated classrooms. The classroom floors, windows, doors and roofs are repaired or replaced, and a fresh coat of paint is applied inside and out. Each Center has its own unique personality as the exteriors are then finished with hand-painted, age-appropriate drawings by local artists. As a part of the renovations program team Nhaka works with the families and members of the community to plan and build, expand or repair the playgrounds and equipment using readily available and safe materials.Once restored to a like-new condition, the Centers are officially incorporated into the primary school system and sustained by the community through elected Pre-School Management Committees thus ensuring the children will continue to have clean and safe spaces in which to work and play.

Please click this link https://www.newsday.co.zw/2016/11/29/video-ngo-govt-community-collabo-school-makeovers/ to watch a short video of this activity.

AdministratorRenovating Classrooms to create clean, safe and habitable spaces for young kids
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