The Space NOW

As can be read in my blog post – I have felt over whelmed during this process by the urge to create something that has real implementation possibilities. I don’t want to create a space or a resource that has no chance of being developed now, in a situation and location that we KNOW needs attention yesterday.

That said, I’m going to explore how the concept I have for the Angaza Project would work within different learning spaces TODAY.

The most obvious space relating to this project is the Classroom (and the School).

I see these workshops and educational sessions initially taking place in classrooms outside of school hours. My reasoning for this is that it sets a tone for the purpose, it’s built for this purpose and it’s a closed, safe space that is available for use. Many of the girls and women in Mai Mahiu IDP camp have spent little or no time in an actual classroom yet have so much desire to do so. Giving this opportunity, to be a student in a context that makes sense to the learner is invaluable.

sca-signThe classrooms in Southern Cross Academy (SCA) at the IDP camp are set up in a very traditional manner; there is flexibility within this for movement and redesign. In saying that, the traditional element of the classroom is part of the ‘known’, something to preserve, especially with strangers as teachers broaching subjects commonly thought of as taboo. With the goal of empowering girls and women towards change, modelling what this looks like is important. There is potential to play this out within the classroom itself, over the sessions, slowly changing structure, teaching style and environment explicitly discussing the impact on the experience. Ultimately the space needs to be somewhere that the girls can relate and connect to, as I discussed in my discussions on The Big Six.

fls-now-1The second learning space that will play a large role is Group, Collaborative, Cooperative. 

I see each of the aspects of this space being important in the development of the community and empowerment process. Starting with group, contributing ideas and thoughts in small groups can be less intimidating than doing so to the full class. Having the girls and women buy in to the process is crucial; one way this is shown is through their contributions. A group setting allows those who are more confident to take the lead, contributing more than what the teacher alone can provide, and perhaps more contextually appropriate. It can however lead to unequal participation with students who are potentially not used to this style – baby steps are important.

One of the main goals of the Angaza Project is to create a community of support and empowerment. Providing the girls and women a platform for their voice in this space encourages the growth of this community.

Collaborative group work is where the project is heading short term, to a space where the girls and women can learn skills from one another in order to develop economic opportunities.

I see Cooperative group work being imperative within the Health and Literacy education elements of the project.