Following our initial update on Dignitas’ response to COVID19, our team got straight to work on designing a comprehensive program that would respond to the urgent needs we have seen emerging from school closures.

The Challenge

As you probably know, many of Dignitas’ 300 school partnerships are in Nairobi’s urban informal settlements.  Many children living in urban informal settlements are reliant on school not just for learning; but for protection, nutrition and many other aspects of their well-being.  Whilst others respond (rightly so) to urgent needs such as food, nutrition and livelihoods, the Dignitas team considered our role as education actors.  We asked ourselves the question; “How can we ensure ongoing support for children’s learning and well-being?”

Our minds immediately went to our amazing community of School Leaders and Teacher Leaders.  Dignitas has trained over 1,000 educators, and have another 450 educators enrolled for 2020.  Dignitas School Leaders have already benefited from Dignitas training and coaching curriculum that covers Mindsets, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Style as well as the critical levers of Instructional Leadership, Learner Engagement, and School and Classroom Culture. They are also leaders who are rooted in, and passionate about the needs of their communities. This lays an ideal foundation for them to be further equipped to respond in these times of crisis as community champions of well-being and learning; what are now calling ‘Leaders of Learning’.

The Solution

Our team has been working hard to determine how we equip these educators to be ‘Leaders of Learning’. What competencies do they need?  What role should they fulfill?  What support do they need from Dignitas?

The answers began to come together in a plan to equip these educators as community based champions of well-being and learning, working with clusters of households to monitor well-being and provide support.  Dignitas Leadership Coaches will deliver new training and support that seeks to equip and empower Leaders of Learning with skills to engage parents, work virtually, respond to trauma and anxiety, and monitor well-being.  This will ensure educators are equipped to support learning and well-being in our communities, and help children to continue to thrive and succeed!

At a household level, children will receive printed learning materials, support via remote chat, engage with radio education broadcasts, and benefit from zero-rated online education tools.  Leaders of Learning will ensure this learning is aligned with national education schedules to keep learners on track.

Of course, our regular programming continues, albeit remotely, and the team are excited to explore new ways of communicating and coaching using digital tools with these cohorts too.

If you’d like to get involved in any of these efforts, please do get in touch.  We will shortly be launching a fundraising campaign, and are already working with volunteers to support the digitization of training and coaching,   If you have skills that you feel are relevant, and you’re willing to engage, please do reach out.  Thank you, stay safe, and stay healthy!