In 2017, Project Zawadi underwent a comprehensive strategic planning process, the result of which was an intensified focus on improving the quality of education not just for sponsored students, but for all students at partner schools. This focus on improved quality was the spark for the Model Schools program. Model Schools brings together community and Project Zawadi strengths and resources to improve the educational experience for students and teachers.
Six schools that have been long-term partners with Project Zawadi were recruited to kick off the Model Schools program. Directed by an intensive community and school planning initiative, the Model Schools program supports the vision each community has of a model, high-quality educational institution for their children. Currently working with the first four government primary schools, Project Zawadi and the communities are pooling our knowledge, resources, personnel, and energy to address infrastructure, teaching materials, staff professional development, student and family support, and academic and career counseling needs.
The community inventory and vision development process was completed at the first two sites (Busore Primary and Sarawe Primary) in fall 2018. The communities are currently working on an implementation strategy to address their prioritized needs and together we are highlighting key areas for Project Zawadi cooperation. The second two sites (Kurusanga Primary and Kambarage Primary) completed the community inventory and vision development process in fall 2019 and are embarking on the implementation phase.
The specifics of each Model School plan are unique to the community it serves. Implementation plans typically incorporate aspects of the following:
- On-going professional development for school teachers and administration
- Infrastructure projects to meet the needs of the student body, teachers, and staff for facilities and basic services such as water, sanitation, classrooms, teacher housing, and electricity.
- Additional academic support for students, especially in the areas of math, science, and English
- Academic, career, and life skills counseling, mentoring, and support for students
- Girls empowerment
- Teaching and learning materials for teachers and students
Implementation of the plans is on-going at the four schools and community task forces will be cycled through planning and implementation for their schools and communities in an iterative process over the course of the next five years of the pilot project.