Esther Lali is a development expert passionate about community-driven development to co-create solutions to everyday challenges. Lali works as STS’s Whole Child Model Tanzania assistant based in Arusha, Tanzania. In this role, she supports the coordination of STS’s activities on the ground. This month, she reflects on her time working with the Whole Child Model.
It has been a pleasure to work with School-to-School International. I feel I am fulfilling my calling by implementing the Whole Child Model with young boys and girls attending public primary schools here in Tanzania.
I love STS’s organizational setup and the space for a private consultant, like me, within the organization. I love the transparency among those who work on the WCM. It makes me feel comfortable and free working with STS in Tanzania. I have also expanded my network, working with local partners and district officials. I have also built strong relationships with teachers and ward education officers through the activities we have done together.
I admit that, along the way, I have learned so many things and developed a new passion for education. I can’t wait to see the success stories of our boys and girls one day. The program itself has been structured in a way that a kid will get a chance to learn in a friendly environment with the support of parents, teachers, and the community while their stomachs are full and they have access to clean water and safe toilets. The Whole Child Model is a way to ensure education, health, and engagement needs are met.
Until the program, I had never thought about kids who only get one meal per day. It’s hard to think of a six-year-old kid eating just one meal a day. How can they be comfortable in their learning environment? How can they concentrate in the classroom? How can they attend school every day? This is a call that something should be done; this is where the WCM program comes in.
Although, we have not yet addressed lunch or snack provisions, we have conducted MHM (Menstrual Hygiene Management) training in the schools and delivered reusable sanitary pads to 160+ girls. This has boosted the attendance rate for the girls, and I am happy that no girl misses school just because she has her period. We are now planning to do the same in other primary schools. Our plans are to reach all schools under our program with MHM training.
It is an amazing feeling to be part of this intervention.