Volunteering in Malawi creates global citizenship for the classroom
Back in January 2006 I looked into volunteering with VSO.
I discussed the idea with my head teacher who was very supportive and encouraged me to apply. This was before the Career Break Policy but I was lucky enough to be given the secondment and then return to the same school. I volunteered with VSO in Malawi from February 2007 until August 2008.
My role was a Continuing Professional Development Facilitator which involved working with Primary Education Advisers within several educational districts to support them and their teachers in improving education standards. This took many forms ranging from trainings and workshops, chairing meetings and promoting good practise exchange visits.
Upon my return my head teacher was keen to use my new skills and experiences in promoting global citizenship throughout the school. Initially this started with developing links with a school in Malawi through pen pals and then making short videos. From this we held an African focus week with many cross curricular activities.
We also developed a partnership agreement with our Malawian link school and decided to work on joint activities including a writing competition about each other’s lives. This was made into a booklet. We also created a joint recipe book full of popular recipes from across our cultures. We asked a chef to come in and cook many of the different foods.
We now have a ‘Global Explorers’ committee made up of pupils, teachers and support staff. We work together to plan the global activities and advertise our achievements to the wider school community. Last year we gained the Full International School Award and this year we are working on becoming a Fair Trade School. This has been achieved by all members of the school working together in many engaging activities.
My experience with VSO gave me a deeper insight into global issues and the importance of global education for all pupils.
For more information visit www.vso.org.uk
Winchburgh Primary, West Lothian – VSO volunteer
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