Watch this video to see a bit of Mlimwa Life during our visit there.
Having last visited Mlimwa school seven years ago I definitely came away with a feeling of progress; a headteacher who successfully seeks out and finds ways to improve her school’s resources, such as sponsors, grants and equipment . A shiny new dining hall has been built to be used to serve food and to rent out to the community as a way of generating income for the school. A recent initiative has allowed the provision of hot school dinners to the year 6s and 7s who remain at school for afternoon lessons . Let us not forget the set of 90 tablets donated by an Italian church enabling whole classes to have ICT lessons. A teaching staff who are are at ease teaching up to 90 children in a class and a commitment which means some teachers even giving booster classes on Saturdays and Sundays to prepare their pupils for upcoming exams. A majority of pupils who are keen to put up their hands and eager to answer. Children that take on responsibilities such as cleaning the school, ringing the bell, collecting firewood and even teaching religious education when the local pastor doesn’t turn up . Overall a feeling of pride exuded from Salma, the headteacher for achieving the highest results in the region of Dodoma amongst government schools and 4th including the private schools. Of course there are still obstacles to overcome; floors to mend, ceilings to fix and large class sizes to decrease but the teachers must be commended for their work.
We were pleased to see changes to the city of Dodoma too. Many new restaurants have opened that are bustling with hungry costumers. New houses have been erected, complete with mango trees in their sandy gardens. Surrounding these grand houses there may still be very bumpy, sandy roads and no street lights , there have also been hours in the day without water but it is clear that in spite of this city is developing.
So what is this project all about ?
We are taking on the UN Goal of Responsible Consumption and Production; the aim being that our pupils to feel their responsibility as global citizens to care for and protect our planet. The two classes on opposite sides of the world will learn how each other’s communities have been impacted by irresponsible production and consumption and will share their ideas planning a project to make changes in their communities and raise awareness. It was very productive for myself and Mrs Santoro to plan side by side with the Tanzanian teachers to devise a scheme of work that would work in both settings. lesson plans that will encourage the children to be creative, risk taking, collaborative and resilient.
In some ways the Tanzanians are already way ahead of us. They have reused plastic bottles in the most innovative ways; Skipping ropes , flower pots, teaching resources. Let us not forget that the government has actually banned plastic bags across the whole country . In the summer term, class 4 at St leonard’s may well use some of these ideas when they start their project.
In the meantime the children will continue to write to their new pen pals and keep building this relationship .