The Humana People to People Educational and Training Foundation (the Foundation) was established in 2019 and is officially registered under the Registre du Commerce de Geneve, Switzerland with IDE CHE- 213.021.797.
The overall goal of the Foundation is to provide financial support to development projects globally, especially in the education sector and in training activities being implemented by Humana People to People.
In its third year of existence, the Foundation has continued to contribute to education, an area that needs long-term assistance, in order to improve conditions and increase access to education among deprived populations in poor community settings of the less developed countries.
The Foundation sees investment in education as an investment in people’s potential to transform their social and economic circumstances. Early childhood education, primary, secondary and tertiary education as well as informal training are at the heart of the objectives of the Foundation.
In 2021 the Foundation finalised its investment in Humana Social Enterprises Europe (HSEE). Dividends from HSEE will constitute the main source of income for the Foundation from 2022.
Activities in 2020
The call for strengthening education as a common good is growing, amid the dire consequences of two years with severe disruptions of education because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Children and youth in Africa bear the brunt of these disruptions, and their teachers are struggling to minimize the effects on their individual learners.
On top of the Covid-19 crisis many of the same children and youth also live with consequences of two other serious crises in the world: the climate crisis which threatens basic securities, such as food and shelter, and the extreme levels of inequalities which grow and further hamper the possibilities for a good life for a large part of the Earth’s population.
The Foundation promotes education as a fundamental right and the most powerful aid to development. Defending this right means defending humanity’s opportunity to create sustainable development for the future.
Inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all are necessary conditions for involving millions of children and young people in movng towards a fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals of UN in the next decade, up to 2030.
Since its start, the Foundation has supported Development Aid from People to People in Malawi, DAPP Malawi in its teacher training programmes and the Edukans Foundation Malawi in its support to capacity building in primary schools.
Education in Malawi
Malawi has been ranked as one of the lowest-performing nations for literacy in sub-Saharan Africa. Malawi is one of the least developed countries in the world and education is proven as one of the critical pathways to improving living conditions in the country.
Currently, primary school education quality is characterized by weak infrastructure, poor hygiene and low teaching quality. With more than half of Malawi’s population living below the poverty line, many children enroll and drop out of school frequently due to work responsibilities at home or illnesses. Especially for many young girls, dropping out is common due to early marriage, pregnancy and various cultural barriers affecting retention of the girl child in schools.
Inequality in Malawi’s education is shown by the disparities within the rural and urban education delivery, with close to 100 learner-to-teacher ratio and poor school resourcing in the rural schools. Teachers are facing difficult circumstances and do a tremendous job to achieve results for their learners.
Supporting DAPP Malawi Teacher Training programme
DAPP Malawi explains:
“DAPP Malawi Teacher Training Colleges continue to support the Government of Malawi in improving the quality of education through the training of teachers for rural primary schools.
The Government of Malawi with the Ministry of Education strives to reduce the teacher-pupil ratio, which is currently very high. DAPP Malawi is committed to the training of highly motivated youths who will work with children in hard-to-reach areas.
DAPP Malawi Teacher Training follows a unique programme, which is a pre-condition for a successful journey through the training. It is demanding for students and teachers alike, and how the students and teachers use the programme is crucial for the results they accomplish. The programme is always developing, and teacher and students have to be ready to engage in personal change and development. It is a teacher’s task to lift together his group. When the load is heavy, everyone, teachers and students have to lift. This is how big changes in the children and society are brought about.”
In 2021, the Foundation contributed US$165 000 to assist two teacher training colleges operated by Development Aid from People to People in Malawi (DAPP Malawi). As in 2020, DAPP Chilangoma Teacher Training College and DAPP Dowa Teacher Training College received the support.
DAPP Malawi is a member of Humana People to People and has a vested interest in training quality primary school teachers to support the Government of Malawi in improving access to education among its citizens and to reach a higher quality of primary education.
DAPP Malawi has trained teachers in Malawi since 2003, when the college in Chilangoma outside of Blantyre started. DAPP Malawi has all along complemented government efforts to develop curriculum, teaching and learning methods and materials, as well as building strong connections to the communities in which the colleges exist.
DAPP Malawi puts special efforts into training teachers who are ready and willing to meet the challenges of being a primary school teacher in rural Malawi. The two colleges are both situated in communities very similar to the ones the graduated teachers will serve. So not only during well- structured and solid periods of teaching practice in primary schools, but also during times at the college, the student teachers interact and learn from people in the surrounding communities.
In Humana People to People’s own words: “Students are organised in a group together with their core group teacher. Here individual studies in a group setting create a dynamic atmosphere and knowledge is created in a process of contest, dialogue and debate, aided also by specialist teachers in the training disciplines. When new knowledge is applied to actions of change, be it in the primary school or in the community, the students deepen their understanding of reality, which leads them to search for more knowledge. Experiences from boarding life and school practice are being used to form the teachers-to-be.”
One of the characteristics of the pedagogy practiced at the colleges is that the student teachers are directly involved in planning and executing their own teaching and learning programme. They learn how to involve the learners in primary school in their learning processes as well.
At both colleges the student teachers are involved in the operation of the college. They use the operation of the daily functions of the college as a training ground, gaining many practical experiences. Thus they know what it means to a learner to have influence and real-life responsibility, and they strive to copy such practices when they teach in primary school.
Extensive school practice is part of the training, and here the student teachers have engaged with the community around their practice schools. They have involved parents in their children’s school life, and they have drawn on experiences from farmers, mothers, elders - in general, they have had the community around the school serving as a place to learn from, engaging in the lives of the people.
The Covid-19 pandemic continued to affect the teacher training colleges in Malawi. In 2021 there were two intakes, one in March and one in September, due to spill over from the 2020 interruptions of the school year. Some activities had to be minimized or even cancelled, but overall both colleges have reached the targets they set out for in the teacher training, while some of the outreach activities for the communities have been cancelled.
DAPP Malawi has a seat in the continuous development of teacher curriculum, teaching methods and methodologies and general operation of teacher training in Malawi, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
DAPP Chilangoma Teacher Training College
The college is located in Blantyre Rural, Southern Region of Malawi. It started in 2003 as the first DAPP operated college in Malawi. 1 161 teachers have graduated since then. The college promotes 50-50 gender equality in enrollment and training of teachers. The student teachers acquire knowledge in participatory approaches and methods. With a capacity of 194 boarding students it is a centre of learning for community members around the college.
DAPP Dowa Teacher Training College
The college is located in the Central Region of Malawi. It was established in December 2010 and trains male and female primary school teachers for rural Malawi. The student teachers acquire knowledge in modern ways and participatory methods of teaching and learning. The college graduated its first 114 teachers in October 2012 and has since its start graduated 803 teachers. It exceeds the 50-50 gender equality balance with more female teachers graduated.
Edukans Foundation Malawi
The Foundation supported Edukans Foundation Malawi with US$25 000 in 2021. The financial support to Edukans Foundation Malawi was a continuation of supporting primary school education in Malawi.
Edukans is an international non- governmental organisation which has been supporting education activities in Malawi since 2006. It has its headquarters in the Netherlands and country offices in Malawi, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. Edukans provide marginalised children and youngsters around the world with basic education and vocational training.
In 2021 Edukans Foundation Malawi continued the STAR Leadership for STAR Schools project, which is aligned to the school management pillar of the Edukans Edu-STARs model, together with its strategic partner Education Expertise Development Foundation (EEDF). The Edu-STARs Model recognises five pillars of a good school based on international best practices, which include: 1) Learning Environment, 2) Learning, 3) Teaching, 4) School Management and 5) Parent and Community Involvement.
The project included 10 additional primary schools in Lilongwe rural-east, training 50 school managers, which is five per school, namely the head teacher, the deputy head teacher, and three section heads (infant, junior and senior). They were trained in professional leadership, pedagogical and educational leadership, team effectiveness, making plans, resource mobilisation, financial management; budget tracking and innovative financing and school discipline management.
The concept of “the critical friends” tool was introduced. With this, one school invites school managers from at least two neighbouring schools as “critical friends”, who then use their knowledge, skills and experiences to provide critical input into the school’s situational analysis. The analysis addresses issues aligned to the National Education Sector Plan (NESP) objective of “ensuring quality and relevance”.
Each school received a smaller donation they could use for micro-projects. Micro Projects are small thematic based child- centred demonstration projects established at school level to facilitate practical learning.
They enhance Action Based Learning and People Centred Planning. Additional training in managing such projects were included during the project, with special attention to environmental sustainability and income generation.
The Star Leadership for Star Schools project continues to change attitudes and practices among schools and community members. The wider engagement of more people around the school makes the school stronger, both in terms of atmosphere, transparency and accountability to the children and their parents.