My work at World Learning continues with more annotated bibliographies. (If you don’t know what they are, read my last post, or in fact, just don’t. Human beings are better off without knowing certain things.) In work related developments, though, I have an additional supervisor. The fantastic Radmila is also a Senior Education Specialist who is working on a donor-funded program that she wants me to help her with. Let’s just say that the project has all the typical elements of a development project and leave it at that. Radmila, though, is trying her best to make things work and the project seem to be shaping up nicely. I will be assisting her on some of the project’s aspects, such as helping with a participant survey.

Radmila and Kara have also asked me to do research work on a MOOC on active learning. This is part of a leadership program for university professors in Kosovo. The MOOC provided me with the opportunity to set up an entire course in CourseSites (a Moodle like MOOC platform) as well as research interesting topics in assessments, flipped classrooms, adult learning and online learning. The course will be up in a few weeks. Just a few more annotated bibliographies to go, then, and we should be all set.

In the meanwhile, I am beginning to realize how truly global World Learning’s work really is. The blurb on the website says we work with participants from over 150 countries on over 90 projects. This in itself is quite impressive. But even more impressive is watching that play out in the office in real time. Kara and Radmila had gone to Kosovo for the university teacher leadership program I had talked about. Kara is now planning a trip to Iraq to work on a STEM project with Kurdish refugees. Lebanon is receiving a lot of World Learning attention as they seek an extension to a large scale project with the Ministry of Education (the superb Katya Murillo is there on hand to help). And to top it off, World Learning is a leading implementor of a $145 million USAID grant for the Pakistan Reading Project.

But oddly, you never hear of World Learning’s name in the same vein as ActionAid or Save the Children or some of the other big players out there. I knew of the Pakistan Reading Project from my work in Pakistan earlier, but I had no idea that World Learning was one of the main implementors of the program. This is one organization that could definitely do with better publicity of its activities.

World Learning superhero (image courtesy - Warner Bros)
World Learning spotted in the development world. (Courtesy: Warner Bros)

Something major is on the horizon

So, two of our colleagues working on a UNICEF proposal have suddenly been taken ill. Now that they are unavailable to work, Kara McBride has been pulled in at the eleventh hour to ensure that it is completed in time. Kara has decided to rope in her (now) trusty sidekick Talha. The proposal is an interesting one and aims at integrating life skills and citizenship education into formal and vocational education for children and youth in MENA (I know, it is a mouthful).

Sidekick
Ape it, till you make it (Image courtesy: Pinterest)

What it means is a lot more document-reading and summarizing for me. Stay tuned for the next blog to see how this pans out.

Development drives

I love the way Google Maps takes you on different routes based on how the traffic is behaving at that time. That means further exploration of rural America for me. The featured picture right at the top of this blog post is from Parkton, MD.

While I may not have seen the truly remote areas in the US, it is still remarkable how relatively remote agricultural towns here have the basic amenities of life provided. All the towns I pass by seem to have basic electricity and water connections, have a fairly good market, have paved roads, have auto-repair and AC-repair shops, and have properly built homes, amongst many other such amenities. While US readers (I am assuming this blog has a large audience) may be smirking at this, such basic provisions are not a given in most of the world, especially not in the more rural areas. While we may, rightly, complain about inequality, a broken educational system and many other things in the US, there are some aspects of development which seem to have trickled down to a larger degree than is found in most other countries in the world.

And on that, somewhat, positive note, I leave you till my next blog.