A significant part of our growth journey at Dignitas has been figuring out what scale looks like. Scale in many other industries and sectors is represented by increases in sales, and growth in numbers, but scaling impact in the non-profit world is quite a different concept. This concept is captured very well in this article, which for our team was an enlightening read because it gave us the words to explain what we already knew about our growth journey, where it was taking us, and what we wanted to achieve.
Towards the end of 2020, we began to document what our journey might look like, and we recognised that we could pursue endless cycles of program implementation, in some kind of parallel universe to the government and the public system OR we could come alongside government, align ourselves with government strategy, and seek to shape the systems that influence how children across Kenya learn, thrive and succeed.
Over the last 2-3 years, Dignitas has invested time and energy in building relationships with key government agencies in Kenya’s education sector. We now work hand in hand with government officers at a sub-county and county level, and seek to build their sense of ownership in our work and vision. We also conduct regular review consultations with government stakeholders as we seek to share program data, and have them offer insight for program design. We’ve pursued explicit working partnerships with several government agencies, and found these to be fruitful spaces of learning, growing and collaborating around a shared vision of improved learning for Kenya’s most marginalised learners. Essentially, we’ve sought every opportunity to bring government actors to our table, and to build their ownership of our work, including our gains, our evidence, our insights, and our expertise. And now, as a result, we have an invitation to their table.
Early this year, under the umbrella of RELI, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) invited Dignitas to train their Curriculum Developers in line with our Stawisha Instructional Leadership Institute. KICD are the government agency tasked with the design and implementation of Kenya’s new national, competency based curriculum (CBC). The opportunity arose from a RELI-hosted conversation about teacher development and support, and how that should be aligned with the demands and expectations of the CBC.
All approvals granted, and led by Ms Jacqueline Onyango, Senior Deputy Director in charge of Curriculum and Research Services, we launched our Community of Learning on May 13th, 2021. To our pleasant surprise, we enrolled 43 program participants, all Curriculum Developers and other senior staff members from KICD, who enrolled to learn alongside RELI members from Kenya’s Learner Centred Teaching group.
We have designed a three-month training and coaching program that will see the participants explore topics such as Growth Mindset, Adult Learning Principles, Building Professional Learning Communities, Coaching, Using Data, Emotional Intelligence, Effective Training Facilitation, and Learner Engagement for CBC.
We were blown away by the opportunity in front of us. These Curriculum Developers also happen to be the Master Trainers who cascade the national training program for the new curriculum to every single public school in Kenya. The next phase of our partnership will be to reflect on the three months of training and coaching in a way that will inform how this cascade and training happens in the future.
Alongside this, Dignitas are leading a process to develop a set of teacher coaching resources in partnership with RELI and KICD for use in schools. The resources are intended to help increase and improve the practice of teacher coaching as a means of professional development and support. We are excited to dig into this further in the coming months as we explore Coaching at Scale, and its potential impact on the education sector, as well as it’s potential to improve student well-being and achievement. Watch this space to stay up to date as this journey develops! The Dignitas team is excited to be driving impact, and shaping systems as we champion the right of every children to thrive and succeed.