Meeting with the Tshapasha and Mboneni Primary Schools
Friday June 4
Things really took off for the community engagement aspect of our project. Our advisors met with the chiefs of the two villages and arranged a meeting for me, Melina, and Rachel, along with the advisors of the teams.
We first met in Tshapasha Primary School with the female principal and some of her associates and later met in Tshibvumo’s Mboneni Primary School several of the school’s directors. We carefully explained the goals of our project, our incentive for being in the villages, what we would be doing with the children during the class time, and what we promised to eventually present to the schools after our pilot curriculum had finished.
A few days before meeting with the schools, we had officially decided that we, along with three UNIVEN nursing students (Gorata, Ermitia, and Annah), would ask the principals to each select twenty of the most outgoing students leaders, ages 7-12, in the primary schools to attend our program. We wanted them to be extroverted in the hopes that they would be more likely to spread the knowledge they acquired through the pilot program to their friends and family. We would meet with each group for 2 hours for 5 days and teach them facts about clean water practices. Each day would have a different theme, the main three being clean water collection, clean water storage, and water conservation. After we had collected information from focus groups with the children’s parents, we would then (over the course of the year) develop a clean water curriculum for the schools to use and work to send them all the supplies necessary from those curriculums.
While we all explained our project, the teachers spoke in Tshivenda to each other, which made Rachel, Melina, and I nervous that they were not interested in the project. After the meeting though, Lydia explained to us that they were just clarifying that they understood all the details of the project as we spoke, which meant they were actually very engaged in the presentation. The principals all were very excited at the end of the explanation of the pilot program and made concrete plans to put together a group of students and reserve a classroom for us to use during our scheduled meeting times with the children. We would first be meeting with Tshapasha from 9-11 and with Tshibvumo from 12-2.
Everything was officially settled (in a surprisingly short amount of time) and we were thrilled that the schools were taking such an interest in educating the students about clean water practices. As we shook the students hands and waved goodbye when we were leaving, Melina, Rachel and I could not wait to begin working with the enthusiastic children in the villages!