Amid COVID-19 epidemic, AVSI is reinventing itself to be able to carry out projects and accompany beneficiaries. In Kenya, inside the Dadaab refugee camp, one of the largest camps in the world (200,000 people are currently living there), we are using Zoom to train teachers to provide quality education to the refugee and host community schools. The activity is part of the project “Transitional Support for Integration and Quality of Education in Dadaab Refugee and Host Community” funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).
"Continuity of learning will be crucial after the end of the pandemic" says Henry Waitindi, AVSI Program Manager and Head of Dadaab Office for Refugee Emergency and Relief Operations and Development.
Although refugees and host communities living in Dadaab are keen users of smartphones and social media, the introduction of using Zoom for training was challenging since most of the beneficiaries were not familiar with the platform. AVSI trained beneficiaries on how to use Zoom while reassuring them that training will continue.
“The other challenge was that not everybody had access to internet or Wi-Fi , so we had to give beneficiaries internet bundles,” explains Henry Waitindi.
Currently, between 70 and 75 trainees are participating in each of the Zoom classes. Since 2014, AVSI has taught Early Childhood Development teacher training in Dadaab to address the acute shortage trained teachers in refugee and host community schools. Topics covered include Competency-Based Curriculum, Education Quality Assurance and fostering school-level governance and accountability for trainers of teachers. Through the years, beneficiaries have received different levels of certificates and able to receive state approved validation of their teaching competencies, which have improved the quality of education received in schools in Dadaab.
AVSI is also using Zoom as an opportunity to bring awareness on the spread of COVID-19 to the beneficiaries and clarify theories that have been circulating in Dadaab about the virus.
Teachers are respected members of the community, and are approached by community members and children for direction on any issue affecting the community. AVSI considered this strength and integrated messages from the Ministry of Health on the COVID-19 pandemic in all teacher training programs
Henry Waitindi, AVSI Program Manager and Head of Dadaab Office for Refugee Emergency and Relief Operations and Development