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QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER
   

Changing minds at the DBE Indaba

This past June, we presented at the two-day Early Grade Reading Research Indaba hosted by the Department of Basic Education. The Indaba sought to address reading challenges in the basic education sector by presenting the results of the Early Grade Reading Study (EGRS) programme; a series of impact-driven randomised trials conducted in partnership with various developmental and academic institutions over 3 years.


Reading and language comprehension are arguably the highest developmental challenges faced by young learners in early grades. The ability to read provides access to knowledge (of all subjects) and enables a more meaningful participation in larger society. The EGRS intervention used an on-site model of facilitating language learning and compared it to an alternative model using electronic tablets, preloaded lesson plans, audio and video clips and a specialised ‘virtual coach’. The results: on-site coaching of teachers had a more sustainable impact whilst virtual coaching did not.


Speakers from various disciplines were invited to present and discuss alternative ways of providing professional support to teachers; involving parents in learning support; employing optimal use of technology; and collaborating with donors and other partners.


Our presentation illustrated that community-based After School Programmes are important role-players in the education ecosystem, to create supportive learning environments beyond the classroom. These environments offer key ingredients (caring relationships with adults, social interactions with peers, exposure to books and stimulating learning material, etc) that prepare the learner to engage and adapt in a formal and content-rich schooling environment.


   

After School practitioners build skills and new connections

This past quarter we ran the After School Basics Training in the Western Cape and Gauteng. The purpose of this four-day course is to offer practitioners the opportunity to reflect on their practice, build connections with peers, better understand the After School sector and their role in it, as well as develop new skills to troubleshoot challenges in their work. 


Practitioners noted the importance of being intentional and consistent in both programme implementation and evaluation so that they can know when they’ve effected the change they want to see.


As an intermediary in the space, The Learning Trust recognises that showing evidence of after-school impact requires resilience and partnership. The strength of our relationships with grantees affords us greater insights into the complexities and often unpredictable nature of their work. Ultimately, it allows us to tailor our support and ensure that it is conducive to learning, collaboration and sectoral growth.


   

Ikasi Soccer Girls compete in Sweden

Both from Khayelitsha, Tina Gocini and Siphosethu Tinga are young, ambitious, and very passionate about soccer. They joined Ikasi Soccer School at Kukhanyile Primary School in 2018. This July, the two made it to The Gothia Cup – a two-week long, annual International Soccer Tournament that brought over 1700 youth teams from across the globe to Sweden. Both girls are the first in their families to travel locally and internationally.


During a two-year trial period of the Rainbow Team, Tina and Siphosethu were selected to participate in the tournament. In township communities, soccer is often a male-dominated sport but through hard work and determination, Tina and Siphosethu have become role models to their peers as they continue to put girls’ soccer on the map. This has motivated Ikasi Soccer School to nurture more talent to participate in tournaments and ultimately generate longer-term funding opportunities.


“My excitement of being here was crushed when we did not win all the games in the tournament but then I remembered the bigger picture. I am grateful to have had this opportunity!” – Tina Gocini


   

Makhanda tackles mental health through fitness

After School organisations have a role to play in promoting the mental wellness of young people. Our EC-based grantee, Sophumelela Youth Development Programme (SYDP), ran their annual hiking expedition as a way to introduce fun ways to discuss and tackle mental health issues amongst learners. 


Under the theme, “health and mental health”, the hike took an exciting turn through a partnership with Inkululeko and Ikamva Youth, and extended the invitation to local community clubs: ‘Fitness and Health with Mo’ and ‘Joza Aerobics’.


The 12km hike was attended by 90 learners and 13 adults. Along the way, the group made a few stops to learn about the history of Makhanda, specifically the Joza 1820 Settlers Monument. Practitioners imparted other life skills including how to deal with exam stress and how body fitness affects the mind. Practical support solutions, such as where learners can access counselling services, were also shared. For an all-rounded experience, the learners engaged in fun exercises led by Joza Aerobics before completing the day with a delicious lunch meal.


   

Nourishing well-being and learning at home

The consistent involvement of a caring adult is crucial in the educational development of a child. In June, our GP-based grantee, Khula Unqobe Creative Art (KUCA) partnered with The Mahlobo Foundation to launch the Daddy’s Home Education programme, which aims to encourage wellness and learning at home.


The event took place in Protea Glen, with over 30 attendees including parents, children, facilitators, and donors. With this new initiative, KUCA seeks to empower parents to support their children’s education by creating home environments that nourish their well-being.  


KUCA will continue implementing this programme through regular online sessions, physical workshops, and weekend camps, covering topics like finances, good parenting, role modelling and future planning. Parents expressed gratitude and desire to be more present and invest in improving their home environments.


   
In case you missed it...

Data Collective Guidelines

There is often a temptation to over-complicate data collection and M&E, while in reality, most of the activities can be designed and facilitated by non-experts. If well-planned and coordinated, data collection and analysis can be an effective element of an organisation’s operational maturity. From our Data Collection work this past quarter comes a set of guidelines, ready for download from our website’s resources section.

   

Youth Opportunities in the Digital Age

If there is one thing that the pandemic has affirmed for us, it is the innovative and resourceful nature of After School programmes (ASPs). We celebrated youth month by shining a spotlight on some of our grantees that incorporate innovative e-learning into their ASPs, in this blog feature. Additionally, we ran a weekly blog series featuring Inkululeko, Boost Africa, Mihandzu Learning, PND and Transitions Foundation who shared their innovative learning methods. Check these out on our website’s blog page.

   
   
After School Highlights
   
   
TLT Updates

We’re back in the office!

After a 2-year period of working from home, The Learning Trust team in Gauteng is the first to return to our head offices at WeWork in Rosebank. We marked the first week back with a full team convergence, bringing us together to reflect on our progress over the past semester and to plan for executing our strategy for remainder of 2022. By the second week, we convened our Gauteng partners for the After School Basics Training. We look forward to hosting more in-person events in future.  

A new addition to our team

Our team continues to grow! We are excited to have Cindy Mkaza-Siboto join us as a Project Coordinator in our special projects functional unit. Cindy is no stranger to TLT; she is part of our alumni network as the founder of Emagqabini Education Academy in Khayelitsha. With over 14 years of experience in education, arts, and community development, Cindy not only brings a passion and knowledge of the sector, but a strong storytelling ability to carry the message of after-school. Along with Charlene Petersen Voss, Cindy is currently coordinating recruitment, partnerships and training on the Social Employment Fund project of the Catch-up Coalition, for which The Learning Trust plays a Secretariat role.

   
   

UPCOMING EVENTS

National Alumni Networking Event

MEL Series Launch

In-person CoPs in last quarter

Lights On Afterschool

Practitioner Refresher Training


Note that more details will follow closer to each event.

     
Stay safe and stay connected,

The Learning Trust Team