Sharing and multiplying knowledge

Project officers from the Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation trained teachers in new teaching methods as part of a project in Ethiopia. It was not only the participants in the course who were able to learn new things, however. When cultures meet with the aim of learning from each other, all those involved can learn and grow.

«I will never forget that afternoon,» says Kate Heller, an project officers at the Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation. She is referring to an intercultural exchange afternoon that was organised as part of a project in Ethiopia. In this project, children and education officers from four different towns in Ethiopia met in the capital to talk about their cultures and break down barriers surrounding prejudices.

Empowering partners

The two-week project in Addis Ababa was called ToT, or Training of Trainers. During this workshop at the end of January, two project officers from the Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation taught the education officers new teaching methods. This included how to work with children who do not speak the same language as the teacher. The project officers also presented new and exciting activities that could be done with the children. In another part of the ToT project, the project officers worked with the education officers to prepare a summit meeting for children. This summit meeting was designed in a way that would bring children and youths from different cultures and ethnic groups closer.

«We included a lot of varied activities in the handbook that could be performed with children and youths.»

Working together to develop new teaching methods.

Dancing, singing and encouraging each other

One part of the summit, which was planned in conjunction with the project officers, was the unforgettable afternoon. «It was fantastic. Not many people know what a multi-faceted country Ethiopia really is. The children performed various dances and songs and encouraged everyone to take part.» One of the youngest boys from the group from Addis Ababa ran round and started encouraging everybody to stand up and participate. «This tactic brought him a lot of success. By the end, everybody present was dancing and singing together. The atmosphere was superb.» Kate Heller had previously realised that people like dancing together and that this creates a connection. «Dancing together tears down any barriers.» Language differences, religion and culture not an obstacle at all, she explains.

Overall satisfaction

One of the main requests that the project’s participants had for the project officers was for them to write a handbook about the course, which could then be translated into the local language. They will take this newly gained knowledge back to their communities or regions, where they will replicate it and pass it on to their children. «We included a lot of varied activities in the handbook that could be done with children and youths. All of these methods and activities have already achieved good results in the past.» Heller believes it is important that the motivation which was so tangible during the project must be retained for the future and the knowledge the participants acquired must be spread. «The handbook will certainly help.» The handbook was not the only success, however – the project officer is also very satisfied with the result of the overall project. «The feedback from the course participants was very positive. Many reported that they had really enjoyed themselves and would take away very useful insights,» Kate Heller explains, adding «it all went fantastically well, and we can be very proud of the end result.»