Tags: Assistant Head | Case study | Citizenship and PSHE | Classroom Teacher | Deputy Head | Developing Citizenship Project | Head of Year | Learning Partnerships | PSHE & Citizenship Coordinator
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The Kwathu Project is building international links to teach students in both the UK and Malawi about the true meaning of home – at a local, national and global level.

The word Kwathu is Chichewa for home. The project is creating a wide variety of resources to describe the sights, sounds and issues of everyday life through the eyes and ears of children of both UK and Malawi cultures.

The Kwathu Project has had a profound impact on the lives of hundreds of teachers and thousands of students. The schools involved in the project have a fundamental belief that our teachers and students must develop a more sophisticated understanding of the wider world. The most effective way to do this is by enabling both teachers and students in both countries to communicate directly with each other about real issues and consequently breakdown their stereotypical views of life in other cultures.

The project has achieved the following:

  • Fortnightly email communication with everyone involved in the project for the last four years
  • The first ever visit of Malawian teachers as part of a British Council Global Partnership project
  • The training of the 40 ICT teachers from 30 schools in Malawi. Ten of which are now being used as ICT teacher trainers using a course created by Alex Savage. Two of the teachers are also assisting the Malawian Examination Board to devise the new ICT exam.
  • Donated £2500 to the Malawian partner schools to buy teaching resources of their choice
  • Created a link with two Norwich Rotary clubs leading to £10,000 donation to New Gift School to build two new classrooms
  • Won the top prize of the Norfolk Environmental Award for our ‘exemplary activities raising awareness of environmental issues to students in the UK and Malawi’
  • Linked the Malawian partner schools to the Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM). Using money raised by Notre Dame, the schools have set up projects to create a fish farm, and orange grove and improved sanitation
  • Assisted the British Council in finding a further ten schools in England and Scotland to establish global partnerships with schools in Malawi
  • Created an extensive digital library of stills and video of life in Norfolk and Malawi. This has been donated to the British Council in Malawi as the basis of a digital library to be accessed by people across Malawi
  • Trained teachers in Norfolk and Malawi on how to take digital stills and video, then to create digital presentations and videos

Curricular impact

The project has benefited the curricula of the link schools in the following ways:

  • Created extensive resources on the teaching of Macbeth and Julius Caesar to be used in Malawian schools. As a result the schools are teaching literature courses for the first time
  • Enabled teachers to visit places and work with experts in their own countries as well as abroad such as the Forestry Institute of Malawi
  • Enabled teachers in both countries to explore how to enhance the curriculum with global issues. These include:
    • Citizenship: Studying rights and responsibilities by looking at photos of school life in another country
    • ICT: Developing skills to effectively search the Internet by researching a Safari holiday in Malawi. Developing modelling and presentation skills by researching global water use
    • Geography: Studying hydroelectric power production at Nkula.  Studying the impact of deforestation in Malawi. Studying Wind Power at Ecotech in Norfolk. Comparing weather statistics between Malawi and Norfolk
    • Economics:  Using Malawi as a case study of a developing country in A level Economics
    • Art:  Creating masks using traditional Malawian masks as inspiration

Whole school impact

The partnership benefits teacher and students by enabling them to:

  • increase student engagement with the curriculum
  • promote and develop a wide range of learning styles
  • enable students to explore a variety of global issues through the eyes of other children from different races and cultures
  • give all students of both genders (especially those with Special Needs) greater access to the curriculum, specifically numeracy, literacy and ICT

The partnership gives students real opportunities to explore and develop the following:

  • spirituality and morality
  • critical thinking, reflection and reasoning skills
  • creative and communication skills
  • collation, manipulation and presentation of ideas using ICT (when possible)
  • team work and social skills
  • literacy and numeracy
  • investigation and evaluation skills

The partnership continues to support each school’s individual development plan by:

  • being a clear dynamic example of the school’s Mission Statement being put into practice
  • promoting the school’s support and relationship with not only the local but international community
  • to promote the importance and developing an understanding of Human Rights and Fair Trade
  • enabling the new subject of Citizenship to be at the heart of the school’s curriculum and to be taught in all subjects
  • enabling numeracy, literacy and ICT (when possible) to be taught throughout the curriculum
  • to support the social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of every student
  • to include all students whatever their age, gender or ability

Wider impact

  • Given several interviews on BBC Radio Norfolk and published articles in the Eastern Daily Press
  • Enabled Alex Savage to give presentations at the following events:
    • Eastern Regional Teachers Award Trust ceremony
    • Celebrating Comenius conference at the British Council
    • Norfolk LEA KS2 ICT Coordinators conference
    • Norfolk GTP and SCITT training day
    • Enabled Alex Savage to be invited onto the Editorial Board for the Global Gateway Website
    • At the launch of the Global Gateway website at the Houses of Parliament, Charles Clarke mentioned the Kwathu Project as an example of exceptional practice.

Kwathu Project 05

The project has the following aims for 2005:

  • To assist more schools to set up international links, not just with Malawi but Cambodia, Egypt and Australia
  • To create a one day module for GTP trainee teachers on how to include global curriculum themes
  • To create a CD rom of resources to be given to schools in Norfolk LEA
  • To enable a Malawian Art teacher to be a resident artist for 3 weeks in three Norfolk schools
  • To conduct an Action Research Project for the University of East Anglia on the motivational effects of providing a real audiences in other countries for students’ work

This work © Oxfam GB, Save the Children UK and UNICEF (UK), 2007. Part of the Developing Citizenship project.

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