Greetings from Swaziland! I arrived here last week to launch a new partnership. HHI is now working here on a project with World Education, Bantwana Initiative. Together we are collaborating with the government, a variety of non-profits and preschool teachers to support the country’s “National Care Points”. Beginning in 2002, these NCPs popped up around the country to respond to the urgent needs of children orphaned or who were otherwise vulnerable, as their communities struggled with pandemic levels of HIV, ongoing drought and poverty. These centers triaged the immediate humanitarian emergency, acting as points of emergency food aid, psychosocial support, health service and care provision for young children.
Now, ten years later, these care centers have morphed into permanent fixtures and their caregivers have taken on the role of preschool teacher. However, there has yet to be any formalized, systemic training to support these newly labeled “teachers” to lead early learning for the 30-50 children in their daily care. Enter this project.
Here are a few photos from NCPs that I visited.
The young ones are very friendly and always playful!
The materials are simple. Though some have a wealth of materials, but leave them untouched, either unsure how to use them, or not wanting to damage resources seen as precious and irreplaceable.
For many of the children, this is the primary meal for the day.
This week we gather to develop training and support materials to educate and empower NCP caregivers in their roles as preschool teachers. The local leaders we are working with are smart, committed, dynamic and on the move! We’ve had an action packed week – sharing, learning, teaching and exploring. Our work looks a lot like an HHI training, with games, songs, work groups, and the process is endlessly creative.
Readily available resources were gathered and transformed into teaching tools.
We designed our own preschools, inside and out.
The end result will be that Swaziland’s most vulnerable children will benefit with greater support, improved early learning and healthier environments.