News

Greetings from Kigali Rwanda!

August 15, 2017

Postcards from Rwanda, East Africa

1.9403° S, 29.8739° E

Corinne Brion Ph.D. ‘17 and I are in Rwanda conducting leadership trainings for school principals and the proprietors of Low Fee Private Schools (LFPSs).  These schools are small businesses and serve children whose parents, although they have little extra money, still sacrifice and send their children to private schools for a variety of reasons.   We’ve interviewed many parents about their reasons for selecting private schools for their children.  Those reasons are varied and include some of the following ideas: public school classrooms are overcrowded; teachers in government schools are often absent and/or unresponsive to them; public schools don’t teach the ‘whole’ child and the teachers in the private schools are better at teaching.

 Image of a woman teaching in Rwanda

We work with Edify, a San Diego based NGO with offices in nine countries (www.edify.org/) that works only in education; and, I also work with Opportunity International, an NGO working to end global poverty by creating and sustaining jobs (http://www.opportunity.org). 

This photo shows three members of the Edify Rwanda Team:  Chris, Broad and Jimmy. We usually meet prior to the training to discuss our plans.  This was taken at Heaven Restaurant.  The view of Kigali from Heaven is lovely!

This photo shows three members of the Edify Rwanda Team:  Chris, Broad and Jimmy

In addition to conducting the leadership training in which we use a train-the-trainer (TOT) model (over a 6-12 month period we train local master teachers who have served in school leadership positions to become the workshop instructors) we also met with a variety of NGOs that work in the education or micro-finance spaces.

We had numerous meetings after the training.  Save the Children is conducting an extensive literacy project in which they have Communities of Practice through the nation.   We also met with the Director of the Akilah Institute, which is a two-year school for young women after they graduate from secondary school.  It is similar to a community college and prepares the young women for jobs in technology, hospitality management and several other professions.  Apprenticeships are key to the program.

 Director of the Akilah Institute with Dr. Cordeiro

Another wonderful visit was with the University of Rwanda’s Vice Chancellor Phil Cotton.  UR is a public institution with over 30,000 students, 13 campuses, and 6 colleges offering undergraduate degrees as well as masters and PhDs.  VC Phil Cotton is a true visionary and he met with Dr. Brion ‘17 and me to discuss common professional interests.

Rwanda Flag

Rwanda is a very clean, landlocked East African country with a green, mountainous landscape. There was a presidential election while we were in the country.  The incumbent, Paul Kagame, won by a landslide and it was a peaceful election. 

After finishing our work Corinne and I finally had an opportunity to visit Volcanoes National Park, which is home to mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, and five volcanoes.  And here’s a photo of a silverback-the male alpha gorilla! 

Image of a gorilla 

If anyone reading this has an interest in talking about possibly working with us, please email me at cordeiro@sandiego.edu

Wishing everyone a great fall semester!

Professor Paula A. Cordeiro

Dr. Corinne Brion ‘17