BCC staff celebrates their graduation from the Jaffery training on special education.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Mosaic International

Just over a year ago, a group of Mosaic and Building a Caring Community (BCC) staff visited Jaffery Academy’s Special Education Needs Department in Arusha, Tanzania. The school is headed by Swaleha Mohamedali, winner of the 2013 International Teacher of the Year Award. Mosaic and BCC were impressed by the quality of education provided at Jaffery; the individual education plans (IEPSs), the classroom structure, the use of alternative communication tools and the teaching style. We immediately began brainstorming ways we could work together to improve education in the BCC Centers.

After months of planning, needs assessments and more planning, 13 BCC staff traveled to Jaffery Academy for a week-long intensive training on teaching students with intellectual disabilities. The training included topics such as creating IEPs, planning lessons, teaching life skills, and effectively managing a classroom. Each morning, BCC staff sat in classrooms to observe the strategies and techniques utilized. In the afternoon, Jaffery teachers facilitated trainings for BCC staff.

A large part of the reason this training was so valuable is that it was facilitated by a local partner who is as familiar with the context as the BCC staff themselves. There was no question that the training would not be applicable, because the content was generated just down the road with similar resources and challenges. Since it was all done in Swahili, there was no space for misinterpretation. Also, Jaffery staff has visited the BCC centers repeatedly since the training to support implementation, assess needs and challenges, and answer questions.

This is just the beginning for BCC and Jaffery. The staff in every center now proudly show off IEPs for each child and lesson plans to accompany them. Centers that had previously struggled to implement even the most basic lessons are now systematically teaching children how to count, read and write. We are grateful for this productive relationship, the expertise and support of Jaffery staff, and the hard work and enthusiasm of BCC.