By Fundi Bots
As the common adage goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” RELI is like that friend that holds your hand so you can walk the furthest distance possible.
Through RELI’s strong pool of networks, Fundi Bots has been able to train and equip teachers from higher institutions of learning, which has significantly increased our future potential to amplify and influence pedagogy at the institutional level. This engagement will also lead to stronger learning outcomes for students in African classrooms. We cannot imagine a better way to transform learning than by equipping teachers and other stakeholders at critical points of entry/exit into the teaching profession.
Additionally, Fundi Bots has benefited from RELI’s peer-to-peer learning events, its knowledge sharing initiatives and the opportunity to be in community with like-minded thinkers and education enthusiasts. As Robert Boyce says, “Knowledge is power. Knowledge shared is power multiplied.”
The future of the education sector is in our hands and it’s our responsibility to shape that future today, but this requires our collaborative effort to address the policy issues at hand. It is encouraging to also see RELI at the forefront of the movement for the inclusion of life skills such as creativity, critical thinking and communication in the lower secondary curriculum in partnership with the Ugandan government. This inclusive approach is working to refine the education system for the better and ensure that learners have access to quality education.
For Fundi Bots specifically, RELI has played a significant role in helping us improve and integrate life skills into our programming. While our initial programming included life skills, RELI supported us in refining our model and designing better tools for assessment. This has tremendously transformed the quality of our student engagement, teacher pedagogy and amplified our role in transforming education in Uganda. Furthermore, the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) mentor program has helped build our organizational M&E capacity considerably. As a result, we can better evaluate the impact of our programmes and constantly refine them to best suit the needs of our beneficiaries.
RELI’s ongoing transition into an independent legal entity and the process of establishing a RELI Uganda Chapter are important milestones. They have eased collaboration and accorded RELI the authenticity and recognition it deserves, as well as the opportunity to influence policy at government and regional levels – an achievement that was previously not possible due to our lack of legal accreditation. By planning its communications strategically and as a group, RELI continues to play an important role in holding the Ugandan government accountable for revising and delivering on promised education policies.
“If leaders are not held accountable, then responsibility is taken for granted and quality is compromised” says Solomon King Benge, Fundi Bots’ Executive Director.
For Fundi Bots, it has also been incredibly encouraging to see organizations like RELI advocate for inclusion. RELI has been at the forefront of advocating for the recognition of the specific needs of children with disabilities by for example, including sign language as a core language in East African schools. RELI affirms the important idea that if the change we would like to see does not benefit everyone, then it defeats the purpose. As actress, Elaine Hall says, inclusion elevates all.
We conclude by congratulating the RELI Uganda chapter for achieving these critical milestones. They are necessary steps towards transforming the future of the education sector. As we always say at Fundi Bots, onwards and upwards!