Whose curriculum is it anyway?

A little more than a month into my internship, and I now have a better idea of the ins and outs of the organization and how it functions. While work was slower during the month of Ramadan, things are slowly picking up post Eid, with all 15 people in the office each day.

My first order of business had been aligning the literacy material developed by AKF to meet the standards of the new competency-based curriculum, which included life skills, values and thematic areas. The manager of the East Africa region is in Nairobi, and so communication with him is infrequent. While the lead of this project here is lovely, she views me as some sort of ‘expert’ (something I most certainly am not) and has therefore handed me the reigns of this project entirely. While I believe I have successfully completed the task that was assigned to me, I am unsure whether it meets all the expectations, and am still eagerly awaiting feedback. (The Penn impostor syndrome continues).

In the meantime, I have moved onto putting my research methodologies class to good use my designing a proposal for the research I will be conducting next month across Mombasa and Kwale. This project is implemented across 43 schools in these two towns, and while it has been going on for a year, has never been formally evaluated in any way. Going through reports written about past projects has been extremely helpful in getting an idea of how this kind of research has been done before. In preliminary conversations with teachers, it’s easy to see that they are overwhelmed with the number of resources being thrust at them, both by NGOs as well as the government, leaving little room for them to improvise or innovate in any way. The new curriculum expects even more from teachers, but provides little guidance on how they are to achieve this, causing them further distress. My aim is going to be to get the most honest and productive responses from them to make these materials most useful to them. Too often development projects create materials they think will be useful to their stakeholders with little to no user input, something we discussed a lot in our Curriculum and Pedagogies class with Dr. GK.

Outside of work, life has been intermittently eventful. I dropped my phone in the Indian Ocean, and after trying multiple things to revive it (rice, isopropyl alcohol, sunlight), caved and bought the cheapest, smallest smartphone out there. I was invited to a barbecue hosted in my apartment complex, where the piece de resistance was crocodile meat, definitely a first for me (Being vegetarian, I didn’t partake, but was definitely fascinated). Homesickness and loneliness kick in from time to time, but keeping in touch with my IEDP family has definitely been very helpful and gets me through the hard days.

I’ll leave you with this gorgeous rainbow I saw a few weeks ago, when I still had my fancy phone with its decent camera. rainbow

Until next time!

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