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Education changes lives

s e g n a h c n o i t Educa lives

Education changes lives

‘Education Changes Lives’ is the result of a joint effort of all VVOB staff members and partners all over the world.

Photographs (see overview on page 8-9) Binamungu Ever, Chimwasu Njapawu, David Brazier, Dieter Telemans, Hester Jonkhout, Joseph Munga, Kiripi Katembo Siku, María Inés Armesto, Nguyen Viet Hung and Philong Sovan Coordination, editing and design Erik Merens, Els Broothaers and Veerle Cnudde Responsible editor Bart Dewaele VVOB vzw Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance Handelsstraat 31 1000 Brussels Belgium T ∙ +32 (0)2 209 07 99 F ∙ +32 (0)2 209 07 98 E ∙ info@vvob.be W ∙ www.vvob.be

ISBN 9789078083658

Content 5 6 8 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

Preface Introduction Photographers Belgium Cambodia Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Ecuador Kenya Rwanda Suriname Vietnam Zambia Zimbabwe

Preface Dear reader,

VVOB, the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance, celebrates its thirtieth anniversary. This is an ideal moment to reflect on what VVOB stands for, especially seeing the evolutional shifts the organisation went through over the past three decades. Initially, founded to organise and support the secondment of teachers to the overseas territories, it is now a structural partner for ten countries to support them in tackling some of their education issues. This book will give you a vivid image of what really matters to VVOB. It is all about the children and youngsters who are hopeful looking for their future. It will show you the context of VVOB’s activities and the people they reached the past thirty years. This image is brought to you through the lens of ten local photographers in order to strengthen its authenticity. It is no surprise this is a colourful book, in accordance with the society in which we live. At the same time I think you will also feel the hope and see the commitment that these pictures radiate. Enjoy your viewing and reading!

Kris Peeters Minister-President of the Government of Flanders


The progress VVOB has made within the last thirty years is impressive. Through the many changes in our operations, the basic mission has remained consistent: ensuring a visible difference in the lives of children and young people in developing countries. This is the focal point of all our achievements that has inspired us to continuously strive towards success. Since a few years we share this positive experience of international cooperation in the Flemish education sector through the SchoolLinks and Internship programmes. This photo book is amongst many testimonies of VVOB’s progress in achieving our important mission. Thirty years ago VVOB was established to recruit teachers and send them on a two-year assignment. These recruits were often young people who traded their military service for a commitment to working in a developing country. The organisation gradually evolved towards working on projects and Flemish experts were deployed. These projects cut across various sectors such as health, agriculture and cultural emancipation. However, training and education has always been at the heart of our operations and the education sector was the main receiver for our associates. Since 2008 VVOB is a programme-orientated organisation that specialises in improving the quality of education. Associates provide technical assistance in line with a wider set of ambitious goals and sustainable changes. These seek to provide an impact at a national level.

However, children and young people are our real target group. Unfortunately we do not often see outcomes at their level as we do not work directly with schools, but with teacher training and Ministries of Education. Enhancing children’s participation and the deployment of their talents through increasingly powerful education is what we really want to achieve. In this photo book, we mainly portray our beneficial ‘side effects’ or the impact we have on these young people. Notwithstanding this accurate formulation of our operations, it remains abstract language. It tends to underestimate the inspiration that drives our employees and partners. Together we do not only dream of a better world with more equal opportunities for today’s and tomorrow’s generations; we know that this ‘tomorrow’ is imminent when we give our best today. VVOB staff are optimistic people who personify resilience. They tackle the challenges that arise today whilst looking forward to tomorrow’s opportunities. Our partners often comment on our result-based flexibility. They experience our approach as professionalism that builds upon authentic human relationships and admire our Flemish roots. We also continuously learn a great deal from our locally recruited staff, which is why they hold a prominent place in our organisation today. True to our firm belief in local talent, we recruited local photographers for this inspirational assignment. The relationship between our activities and their underlying effects are also situated briefly. Celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of VVOB requires a good dose of imagination to grasp the world of opportunities we have opened for so many children. What we do, visibly works well, especially for children and teens! On behalf of our President, Board of Directors and all VVOB staff I hope that this photo book brings you great pleasure. Regards, Bart Dewaele Director-General VVOB

Photographers Dieter Telemans / Belgium / P. 10-19

Kiripi Katembo Siku / DR Congo / P. 30-39

I am a freelance photographer. I was born and brought up in Burundi where my parents worked for the Belgian Development Cooperation. They finished their careers in VVOB projects in China, Vietnam and Cambodia. Most of my work takes me back to Africa. I try to focus on the positive sides of African countries that often only make our news in a negative way. I published a book about the African music scene (‘Heart of Dance’) and more recently my project about global water issues (‘Troubled Waters’) was released.

Born in Goma, I studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kinshasa. I am a producer, photographer, and a painter. My latest work is inspired by the daily life in Kinshasa. This series shows how the habitants organise their activities in order to improve their quality of life.

Philong Sovan / Cambodia / P. 20-29

María Inés Armesto / Ecuador / P. 40-49

I work for the Phnom Penh Post, where I cover the daily national news as a photo journalist. This project shows how important education is for Cambodian children. It is a pity to see how children from wealthy families have access to good education, while children living in a poor environment have less chances to receive high quality education.

Since 2000 I have been working in cultural projects regarding historical heritage and creativity labs. I am a photographer and a teacher. For this assignment I used portrait photography. The people involved were proud to be photographed. What I liked best about this project was that it is the result of ‘teamwork’, everyone played an important role.

Joseph Munga / Kenya / P. 50-59

Nguyen Viet Hung / Vietnam / P. 80-89

Before starting my career as a photo journalist in Kenya, I studied at the New England School of Photography in Boston. In my work I try to combine photography and film to tell human interest stories. I covered national and international news for UNICEF Kenya, Thomas Reuter and others.

I work as a freelance photographer in Vietnam. I enjoy taking pictures of children’s daily life. The research for this assignment taught me how the present generation is different from mine. Students nowadays are more independent, but have less time to play. I think education innovations will create children who are full of ambition, a new Vietnamese generation that is looking forward to a bright future.

Binamungu Ever / Rwanda / P. 60-69

Chimwasu Njapawu / Zambia / P. 90-99

I work as a multimedia artist (photography, graphic design and video animation) in Rwanda and sometimes in other African countries. While working on this assignment I realised how the life of youngsters today is very different compared to my time as a student. The hygiene in the schools, the classrooms infrastructure and the school management have improved a lot. This project really gives me hope for the future education in my country.

Children in Zambia are very eager to learn. I hope my work will encourage parents to give their children a better education. I am a photographer in Lusaka City, where I work in different fields such as fashion, lifestyle, personal photography and documentaries. This series of pictures are very similar to the education setting when I grow up. Back then there was also a lack of infrastructure and little access to teaching materials.

Hester Jonkhout / Suriname / P. 70-79

David Brazier / Zimbabwe / P. 100-110

As a mother of two kids I really feel the need to inform people about the situation in Suriname, there is still a lot to be done here. I am a film maker and photographer with a lot of experience in the education field. Working on this assignment has given me a good insight in the education problems, but also it gave me hope for the future.

Photographing children for this assignment was a real pleasure because they are so ‘straightforward’. I am a Zimbabwean photographer based in Harare and I am specialised in environment and social development issues. This project gave me a different insight into the value of children in the Zimbabwean culture.


Belgium Building bridges

Since VVOB’s establishment in 1982, the organisation has been closely linked to the education landscape in Flanders. This provides opportunities to build bridges between ‘our education reality’ and those of our partner countries. In 2007, this bridging function was made more explicit in the mission of the organisation. Through this, we strive to increase the public support in Flanders for more solidarity in our society. In 2012, VVOB translates this into specific activities aiming to build capacities of global citizenship in the education sector. The SchoolLinks programme, for example, encourages and supports partnerships between schools in Flanders and in other parts of the world. The Internship programme offers students the opportunity to do an internship in one of our programmes or at our partner institutes. Next to that, we also cooperate with various education and other development organisations... On the following pages we try to visualise the implications of some of these activities. In the future we will continue to build on these activities, increasing the integration between our activities in Flanders and those in our partner countries. In these changing economic and political times, the necessity of these bridges might prove greater than ever before.

11 BELGIUM/ Life changing experiences for Flemish students One of the ways we build bridges between Flanders and the rest of the world, is through our internship programme. Each year VVOB offers a series of internship positions for Flemish students in its partner countries. Students can work in a VVOB programme or at one of our partner institutions for a minimum period of three months. This way, they combine their first professional experience with a valuable personal enrichment of living and working in a developing country. Sanne has undertaken an internship with VVOB in 2008. As a student teacher, she worked in a remote village in the rainforest of Suriname. When she returned to Belgium, she wanted to hold on to the positive vibes she experienced in this extraordinary South American country. With her newly discovered self-confidence she joined a local murga group, an Argentinian street theatre, performing in Belgium and beyond. She also shares her story and what she has learned in Suriname with as many people as possible. With the money she collected by giving presentations in Flemish schools, she returned to her former colleagues in Suriname and invested in school materials. As a graduated teacher, Sanne now devotes herself to the children of her classroom in Flanders. Her ambition is to broaden their view on the world. What better teacher can they ask for?

13 BELGIUM/ Ambassadors for development cooperation The 30th anniversary of VVOB is also the anniversary of the commitment of thousands of people to our development programmes. Years after their work in one of VVOB’s projects or programmes many of them are still engaged in development cooperation. It makes them important ambassadors of our work and of so many other organisations that strive to build a fair world with equal opportunities. Agnes van Camp worked as a representative for VVOB in Malawi from 1992 to 1995. This republic in southeast Africa stole her heart. After spending several years in Belgium, she went back in 2000 to do voluntary work. Shortly thereafter, she founded ‘Kwasa Kwasa’ (www.kwasakwasa.be). This is a Belgian non-profit organisation that is recognised in Malawi as an NGO. In Malawi, this organisation seeks to support the poor through small-scale socio-economic and education projects. In Flanders ‘Kwasa Kwasa’ organises socio-cultural activities. For the various activities Agnes can appeal to several volunteers and interns. This way they build bridges between Belgium and Malawi.

15 BELGIUM/ Schools become global partners VVOB meets the growing need for international contact and cooperation, opening up classroom doors to the world. The SchoolLinks programme, supported by the Flemish government, aims to assist and support initiatives from the education sector and provides a framework so that these partnerships have more opportunities to succeed. The Belgian-Zambian school link between Middenschool Heilig Hart (Bree) and Sacred Heart Convent School (Kabwe) was launched three years ago. In March 2012, two Zambian teachers arrived to Belgium for a two-week visit to their partner school. Mr Ngulube and Mr Phiri were fully immersed into a Belgian lifestyle, both during school activities and their leisure time. Making french-fries together with Belgium colleagues was one of their favourite experiences. Through their partnership and this visit, the teachers enhance their intercultural skills and continue to learn from each others’ everyday life.

17 BELGIUM/ Bringing our ‘education for development’ to the Flemish classrooms An essential pillar of our operations in Flanders is our cooperation with a wide range of Flemish education organisations and institutes, e.g. colleges, universities, schools,... A good example is that we work together with ‘Klasse’. This is an important and creative component of the communication of the Flemish Ministry of Education. With various magazines, newsletters, websites and videos they provide education information adjusted to specific stakeholders: pupils, teachers, principals,... Efe (10) enjoys a comic in ‘Yeti’ while Margo (14) is reading her ‘Maks!’ Both are magazines for youth of a specific age group. ‘Yeti’ is the very colourful teen magazine for all pupils in the fifth and sixth grade of primary school and ‘Maks!’ is the youth magazine for all grades in secondary school. Every year ‘Klasse’ visits one of the VVOB programmes. Their journalists translate our story of ‘education for development’ to their specific audiences. This way the education sector in Flanders can meet with our education programmes. We are always astonished by their ability to bring this complex story of development cooperation to the specific worlds of Margo, Efe and so many other students, teachers and parents.



Pupils at the centre of the classroom In 2004, VVOB started implementing education projects in Cambodia. Together with the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport we introduce teaching methods that put the child at the centre of the classroom. This way, Cambodian children are more actively learning. They develop skills and attitudes needed in all aspects of life ranging from healthy behaviour to problem solving. As of 2008, the education projects gradually merged into one programme that aims at strengthening the training for teachers in Cambodia. We currently focus on student-centred learning for science subjects and life skills. The latter includes topics such as organic gardening, fish and chicken raising, water pollution, waste management, natural resources and biodiversity. We do this through supporting the Ministry of Education in developing the capacity of the 24 teacher training centres in Cambodia. This way the 3,500 students who graduate each year from these teacher training centres, are better prepared for their careers as school teachers. Apart from education we also work with agricultural extension workers to help farmers adopt better techniques. The livelihoods of more than 3,000 rural households improved as a result of more diversified farming activities and increased productivity. In the near future we plan to exit from the agricultural sector. This will allow us to fully concentrate on education in Cambodia. The latest figures show that considerable progress has been made but much remains to be done. By continuing to strengthen the capacity of our partners, we are hopeful that one day we will no longer be needed.

22 CAMBODIA/ Learn young, learn fair In a primarily agrarian society the benefits of agricultural skills training are obvious. These include income generation, improved nutrition, health and food safety. We strengthen the capacity at teacher training centres to teach agricultural topics more effectively using a child-centred approach. This way the programme aims to provide children in rural areas with relevant agricultural life skills. Rice remains the most important crop for the poor, accounting for 84 per cent of their agricultural revenues. But over-reliance on rice-based calories leads to significant nutritional deficiencies, particularly for children. At school, children learn how to grow vegetables in a school garden and to raise chicken or fish in self-made cages and ponds. Learn young, learn fair!

23 CAMBODIA/ Raise children’s environmental awareness While environmental education is gradually finding its way into school curricula, suitable content and teaching methods are largely lacking. We support teacher training centres in acquiring the needed capacity for teaching environmental topics as a cross-curricular theme. Our ultimate goal in this is to raise children’s environmental awareness. Inappropriate use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers is widespread in Cambodia. Residues from these substances are carried out to rivers and lakes, which causes water pollution and health problems. At school, children learn about making organic fertilisers and manage waste. Ultimately this leads to a more sustainable environment where children can play safely in the water.

25 CAMBODIA/ Problem solving Only one in four Cambodian children completes lower secondary school. Poor teaching quality for subject areas such as physics, chemistry, biology and earth science causes children to drop out. We address the shortage of qualified science teachers in Cambodia through strengthening teacher training. This way we want to increase the quality and relevance of lower secondary education. Employers in Cambodia struggle to find personnel who are able to solve problems and show creativity on the job. Children need to develop these skills at a young age, for example through conducting experiments in science class. Are these children the future engineers that find a solution for the frequent power black-outs in Cambodia?

27 CAMBODIA/ Cooperation and solidarity Teachers in Cambodia all too often read from textbooks in classroom while pupils remain passive. This leads to low motivation of pupils and poor development of social skills and attitudes. VVOB supports teachers in acquiring pedagogical skills that put children at the centre of the classroom. We want to promote cooperative learning at primary and lower secondary schools. Cambodia is more stable now than it has been in half a century. Yet, the country still ranks high on the list of most fragile countries in the world. At school, children develop social skills and learn to express opinions through participatory learning. These children repairing a bicycle show cooperation and solidarity: two valuable attitudes for a stable and peaceful society.


Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Developing skills for better lives

Quality of education in the DRC is currently at a low level. Teachers are rather unmotivated, lots of students reach the end of primary level without solid knowledge. Since 2008, we work in the DRC in the education sector at primary level and technical secondary level for agriculture. We focus on the training of education inspectors, enabling them to support in-service teacher education. In 2010, the programme effectively helped the Ministry of Education in drafting new curricula for agricultural education. In 2012, VVOB tries to revitalise the pedagogical units at the schools and supports the testing of newly revised reports for inspection. Teachers are trained by inspectors visiting the schools. In technical agricultural education, this year’s new curricula introduce the concept of entrepreneurship in schools. Students develop practical skills and are encouraged to start a small business at the end of their studies. We intend to continue our activities in the DRC, in the way of building further skills in young people. Our aim remains to contribute to the sustainable development of the DRC.

31 DRC/ Learning to cultivate for a better living The DRC is a country with huge agricultural potential. Its soil is extremely rich and fertilisers are often not necessary to farm. We support the Ministry of Education in its work to train young people in agricultural techniques. Students learn according to the competency-based approach, in turn they practice the lessons learned by helping their parents. Gideon is a 16 year old boy. He is checking the crops of his field at home. In order to complete his school fees he planted tubers, which he can sell. His parents help to do it better and support him.

33 DRC/ Let’s share the knowledge! Thousands of children in the DRC have no access to education, due to a lack of resources. In the DRC we invest in the training of primary teachers through support provided to the General Inspectorate of Education. To share his dream on the future with his peers, Ambala organises a class outside the classroom to teach his friends to read. Here he takes the role of his teacher and organises French lessons.

36 DRC/ Youth entrepreneurship, to fight against poverty in the DRC One of the benefits experienced by young Congolese students when attending agriculture classes, is that they are more able to take charge of their own lives. The training is given according to a competency-based approach and is enabling young people to become independent. We support this way of teaching that is used in all schools of technical agricultural education. More and more, young people like the initiative. One of them, Kulutu, is a brilliant student of the Institute of Agriculture Mombele in Kinshasa. At her home town, she is carrying the vegetables of the experimental field grown at school. This helps in the fight against poverty and malnutrition in the family.

37 DRC/ Skills in Congolese youngsters, taking the initiative beyond agriculture In the search of the path to development and financial independence, the young Congolese are quite creative. The competency-based training with a link to skills in managing a small business is fruitful. Well beyond agriculture, youth engage in many other lucrative activities. This way, Kazadi makes some money and takes care of his live.



A journey to education reform and system change In 2008, VVOB entered a new era of its cooperation with Ecuador. At that time the country committed itself to a more strategic approach in order to improve education outcomes through a system wide reform. We aligned with the government’s ambitions and plans. Through actions that are developed and implemented with national departments and other actors involved, we offer support to translate the national agenda on quality education into reality for schools and children all over the country. More specifically we support the improvement of learning outcomes of both basic education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). In basic education we focus on the improvement of in-service and initial teacher training, the implementation of education innovations and the reform of the actual supervision system. In TVET we cooperate in adjusting the curriculum for technical secondary schools, enhancing structural links between the education and productive sector and improving entrepreneurship for TVET students. These high ambitions of Ecuador need strong support systems to sustain the created change. This is a challenge for the country. As the education system goes through the first stages of such in-depth change processes, there is a continuous demand for external expertise in education change. As a trusted partner, we hope to continue our support to the Ministry to obtain sustainable results for all children.

41 ECUADOR/ Maths in everyday life We work together with the Ministry of Education on the development of ‘learning kits’ for rural areas. The kits contain a lot of tools to learn maths in a more practical way. Teachers are encouraged to let the children play and work with it so that learning maths is more fun. Learning maths is important because it enables children with life skills such as being able to buy something on the market. Otavalo has the largest indigenous market of Ecuador. Kuri and his friends enjoy shopping at this market.

43 ECUADOR/ Participation for active citizenship We promote more innovative and effective teaching and learning practices in Ecuadorian schools, such as student participation in the school government. This participation enables students to become active and involved citizens, aware of their responsibilities in their community and society. The photo shows a group of women in the province of Esmeraldas. They participate in a local advisory council reflecting on local political issues. Active, participative and responsible citizenship is one of the important goals of Ecuador through its policy of ‘Buen Vivir’ (Good life).

45 ECUADOR/ Stories that take you anywhere Ecuadorians like stories, but do not have a reading culture. Reading is not only something for the elite, everyone should be able to enjoy stories that can take them anywhere. We support programmes in which teachers learn to motivate children to read. Jordy and Kerly, two kids from Puerto Quito, enjoy reading together.

47 ECUADOR/ Start your own business One of the objectives of the Ministry of Education in technical and vocational education is to encourage entrepreneurship. The goal is to enable young men and women so they can start their own small independent business. Technical education should prepare them. The promotion of entrepreneurship and the creation of small and medium enterprises are important elements of the economic development strategy of Ecuador. Rocio started her own business. She produces and distributes beeswax to local drugstores.



Quality education through life skills and technology use The VVOB presence in Kenya goes back to 1989, when various ‘volunteer-experts’ were ‘seconded’ to universities, research institutions and hospitals. Over the years, we evolved into a development partner who injected expertise on training and capacity strengthening in areas such as health, natural sciences, agroforestry, education management, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). From the onset, the focus of our support has been the public sector. Currently, VVOB Kenya supports the Ministry of Education to expand its capacity related to integrating technology and life skills in education. At the Ministry’s headquarters, we assist to achieve better overall management and improved quality of basic education programmes. After four years collaborating with national institutions to develop frameworks for in-service-training for teachers and managers, the ICT Integration programme is conducting a pilot with four secondary schools. This generates important insights about the various needs ‘on-the-ground’. Through the Healthy Learning programme, more than 100 primary schools in nine dry areas of the country are now using initiatives such as water harvesting, school gardens, poultry or goat keeping and hand washing for activity-based learning and to improve the health status of their pupils. But the influence reaches beyond the school compound. Many of the technologies are replicated and skills are applied by the children’s families and local communities. We see many signs that the Kenya Government will continue its efforts for education of higher quality through the use of technology and increased focus on child-centred education. As VVOB we are exploring how we can further support this process.

52 KENYA/ Girls continuing with their education despite strong cultural pressure Carin Tipina Minik takes her female head teacher as a role model and resisted early marriage. The Healthy Learning programme encourages girls to continue learning. Despite free primary education in government schools, there is still a high drop out of girls, especially from pastoral communities. Many Healthy Learning schools start social projects on hygiene and sanitation that pay attention to the special needs of girls. The programme also engages parents in various school projects, stimulating dialogue and ownership.

53 KENYA/ Water harvesting at home Access to water is crucial for life. The Healthy Learning programme promotes roof water harvesting in schools in arid and semi-arid areas. Although rain water might not be available all year round, it certainly helps to reduce the need. Through simple and effective technologies such as ‘leaky tins’, even limited amounts of water go a long way. Many children and teachers replicate at home what they experience at school. This water is used for hand washing and general cleaning, cooking, irrigating crops, as well as drinking water for animals.

55 KENYA/ Skillslab: learning practical skills through simulation New nurses and doctor’s assistants in Kenya, Rwanda and Zambia graduate with good skills to communicate with patients and offer better care thanks to the ‘Skillslab’ methodology introduced in their training by VVOB. Medical trainees learn to master various skills before they meet their first patient. This increases their confidence and makes them better professionals.

57 KENYA/ Story of a young leader Duncan Mutembei has acquired leadership skills through the Healthy Learning programme in Ngenia Primary School. He confidently explains to teachers, parents, district education field officers, fellow pupils and other guests who frequently visit his school about various Healthy Learning projects such as the school garden, hand washing and tree planting. The Healthy Learning programme promotes acquisition of life skills for better life. It instils confidence in children to learn, to lead and to be change agents in their communities. Healthy children will become responsible citizens.



Improving school management and technical and vocational education VVOB’s collaboration with the Rwandan Ministry of Education started in 2003. Since then we have been successfully introducing the School Management concept and intensively trained all primary and secondary school staff members nationwide. The programme’s objective is to tackle poverty through capacity building in the sector of formal and non-formal education knowing that a good education can be an important tool for the self-reliance of individuals. Meanwhile we are gradually transferring and institutionalising the School Management expertise within the Rwanda Education Board. This Board will take over and recruit all necessary personnel. As for sustainability, we will assist further on the continuation of the in-service and the preparation of the pre-service School Management training until the end of 2013. On the other hand VVOB is also part of a common Belgian programme in Rwanda providing support to the technical and vocational education system. Here we will also concentrate on the inclusion of the gender and equity aspects. Rwanda is undergoing major political and economic changes. The State is being strengthened and all figures point to economic growth. Through the School Management and the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes we and our partners hope to contribute by further improving the quality of education in the country.

61 RWANDA/ Igisoro, where African identity and maths meet Without a vision, without tools to translate vision into action, without proper management and school leadership to inspire and motivate teachers, student achievement will never improve. Having the vision that it is good to be proud of your roots is one. Knowing that the history of maths lies in Africa is two. Encouraging your students to play Igisoro, a traditional mancala game in which maths and strategy are essential, is three. And that is what school leadership is about: making your vision work and let students benefit from it.

64 RWANDA/ A clear vision changes daily realities Of the school related factors influencing student achievements, the teacher is an important factor. A second one is the head master and his/her staff. Supporting their capacity development is a target of the School Management and Leadership programme. With a 1000 students boarding, healthy water was a great problem at Kayonza Secondary School. Until the head master had this dream: constructing their own well. As he was trained how to translate vision into action, he wrote down and shared his vision, made a planning, approached fundraisers, found technicians who were capable to do it, and realised it. Now there is a well, with water coming from more than 100 meters deep. Consequence: better hygiene, less illnesses, showers at the wardrooms, facilities to wash clothes, happy students and thus better learning conditions.

65 RWANDA/ I love my job In Rwanda, we support the introduction of the competency-based approach in TVET in accordance with the TVET reform adopted in 2008. The development of competency-based curricula, in close collaboration with the private sector, is the first step in the improvement of the quality of the Rwandan workforce. Eric Muhire, 26 years old, graduated at ESTH Gasogi in 2009. Now he is a waiter in the Ninzi Hill Hotel in Kigali. “I chose for the hospitality section because I like the service sector a lot”, says Eric. “My father also worked in a hotel. When I was younger, I used to visit and help him during the holidays. That is how I got interested and decided to enter a hospitality school after O level. I do not have any regrets about my choice because I love my job, even though it can be tough. I think choosing for a vocational career is positive because after your studies you have skills and you can always find something to do to earn a living. Today, my salary allows me to contribute to paying the school fees of my younger brothers.”

67 RWANDA/ Dreaming of having my own hotel Besides technical skills, learners need to acquire work readiness and entrepreneurial skills. In collaboration with the Education Development Centre, we support the introduction of these skills in the TVET schools. Nadine Ugirimbabazi is a housekeeper in the Top Tower Hotel in Kigali. She is 24 years old and graduated at the Lycée Ikirezi of Ruhango in 2010. “Ever since I was a child, I have liked cooking and serving others”, says Nadine. “After O level, I heard from a friend about the hospitality schools and I enrolled. I think it is very important to attend training in order to perform the job adequately. It provided me with a lot of knowledge and skills. I stand by my choice as I like my job, I have an interesting social life, my work is appreciated and I get a good salary. Next step would be to go to university and specialise in the field of hospitality as my dream is to have my own hotel.“



Inspire education

VVOB has been partnering with the Ministry of Education and Community Development since 1982. Originally we oriented our efforts at the school level through small projects. We have moved on since to higher levels (e.g. Ministry departments, Teacher Training colleges, In-Service Training Institute) to tackle the high percentages of repeaters and drop-outs in primary and secondary education. Change can be made sustainable when service providers to schools can support it and be part of it. The current ‘Programme More Effective Schools Suriname’ (Progress) started in 2008. It strengthens the capacities of the institutions that support the schools. As a result these can help the schools in a sustainable way to improve the quality of their education. We strengthen the department of Inspection, the department of Development, Planning and Monitoring and the department of Guidance to enhance the quality of their services. Also, a media library and a centre for continuous professional development for staff of the Ministry were opened. We support the teacher colleges to renew the teacher training programme and bring it to the level of higher education. In the future we will keep on supporting the Ministry of Education and Community Development. All children in Suriname deserve child-friendly quality education.

71 SURINAME/ I believe in you! We aim at improving the quality of primary education by stimulating continuous professional development of teachers. The main focus is the introduction of teaching methods that stimulate more active and participatory learning in a positive and powerful learning environment. About 1000 teachers were reached with the countrywide training programme towards a more childcentred approach. When children feel appreciated and supported at school and at home, their motivation is stronger. Their learning outcomes and school careers will improve. Teachers are strengthened in creating a positive pedagogical climate in the classrooms. Practical tools are provided to them. Involvement of parents in the school is stimulated. But learning also happens at home. Parents can contribute to a positive learning and nurturing environment at home. The message that matters for the child is: I believe in you!

74 SURINAME/ Linking schools! Nurturing global citizenship! In a globalised world it is important to understand that there are other countries, other people, other societies,‌ each of them with other customs, languages, ways of acting and thinking. We invest in school links to contribute to internationalisation and global citizenship, both in Suriname and in Belgium. The SchoolLinks programme allows teachers, students, parents and other stakeholders to share ideas and activities with schools in others countries. It is a fun, educational and safe way for pupils to make contact with foreign pupils. Children learn at a young age that the world is bigger than Suriname or Belgium. They broaden their view of the world. The Internet allows the children to chat with peers on the other side of the world. They learn about differences between people and to appreciate those. But they also gain awareness about similarities across the globe.

75 SURINAME/ Let’s read! Education in the remote areas of Suriname faces many challenges. There are not enough qualified teachers and the infrastructure is poor. On top of that students often start their education without knowing the instruction language (Dutch). VVOB Suriname supports decentralisation processes that are aimed at improving the quality of education in the remote areas of the country. By providing ‘reading boxes’ to schools through education centres in the rain forest, we bring Surinamese books closer to the teachers and their students. The books are used to improve children’s reading skills. A range of activities is developed for the use of the boxes by teachers and by parents. Parents and children will have more opportunities to read together.

77 SURINAME/ Every child is talented Every child is unique and every child is talented. The Ministry of Education and Community Development and VVOB Suriname promote this vision across their joint programme. Through training and school guidance, dialogues on vision and sharing good practices, this vision is more and more adopted. Teachers experience that pupils have gained believe in their own talents. Children from special education schools are empowered by their teachers. They know that they have talents that count. These talents are stimulated. Pupils with great gardening skills take care of the gardens of homes for the elderly. They also grow vegetables and fruit which they can sell. Sometimes they even teach peers from other schools the tricks of gardening and share their talents.


Vietnam Quality counts

VVOB has been working in Vietnam since 1992. The Vietnamese education system struggles with a number of problems: the quality of education, the shortage of education managers with the required skills education tools and didactic methods,…The Vietnamese government tries to remedy all of this. It is committed to give all children access to a good education system. Our programmes are supporting this effort of the Ministry of Education and Training. We are active in five provinces to improve the quality of education with three partners (Teacher Training Institutes, Departments of Education and Training and the Women’s Union) at different levels: management, trainers and practitioners. Management involvement and training trainers are a sustainable way to reach a lot of practitioners. By 2011 these trainers already reached a lot of people. Since then they continue with this capacity development while we support development of materials, training trainers and multiplication of training. We also focus more on our partners’ planning and monitoring. When our partners plan and monitor these activities, we know we reached our goals of sustainability and ownership Vietnam has reached impressive statistics with regards to access to education but it indicates that the quality of teaching is not sufficient. In the future we will continue to support the Ministry to improve the quality of education.

81 VIETNAM/ Learning beyond classrooms We promote active teaching and learning in Vietnam. The programme helps lower secondary teachers to use a more learner-centred approach, based on innovative methods of teaching. ICT can support this methodology. Mai is a grade 9 student. Inspired by her teachers, she organises an IT club for her class. The students join the club every Friday afternoon in a park nearby the school. Together they search for information for their class subjects and effortlessly learn about IT tools.

83 VIETNAM/ First steps of a brave sailor In collaboration with the Departments of Education and Training of five provinces, we have supported the training of all lower secondary teachers in innovative teaching methods. Our ultimate goal is to promote innovative teaching methodologies all over Vietnam. We believe these new ways of teaching promote the creativity and confidence of children. They will need these competencies to be ready for a rapidly evolving world.

85 VIETNAM/ I am the next generation We encourage the social participation in education. In collaboration with the Women’s Union, the programme supports ‘Education and Life’ clubs attended by parents. Parents share experiences and learn with and from each other how to support their children’s learning and development. One of the topics discussed in the clubs is understanding the family traditions and handicrafts. Respect for these traditions and taking responsibility for the family are important life skills.

87 VIETNAM/ Venture out into the changing world VVOB is aiming at better quality education for Vietnamese lower secondary students. We are engaging teachers in the application of new teaching methodologies. These teaching methodologies prepare the students to adapt to the ever changing world. Hai lives in a floating house in Halong bay. It took time but he finally comes to the class in a nearby school on the mainland. His teachers can help him to develop his skills so he can follow his dream.



Improving the quality of teaching and learning VVOB has been collaborating with the Zambia Ministry of Education since 1996. The collaboration began with the seconding of teachers to disadvantaged schools. Later on it evolved into projects aimed at supporting teacher training institutions and community schools. This has resulted in the recognition of community schools in the national education landscape and policies. Since 2008, we further specialised into supporting teacher training Institutions by strengthening college-based continuous professional development of teachers. Other elements of the programme are enhancing the use of ICT as a supportive tool for learning, and improving the accessibility and quality of distance education for teachers who wish to upgrade their qualifications. Strategic engagement with the Ministry of Education continues to be the backbone of the collaboration. We are likely to continue supporting skills development within teacher training institutions. This is the most relevant means of improving the quality of education for the children of Zambia.

91 ZAMBIA/ Their right to read Education in Zambia is still a luxury for thousands of children that are unable to access government schools for a number of reasons, including the non availability of places or inability to purchase a school uniform. As a result communities have come together to set up community schools, which are mostly ran by poorly trained voluntary staff. We support community schools by ensuring that the Ministry of Education develops systems to take up the responsibility of providing them with trained teachers and by increasing accessibility of teaching and learning resources for community school teachers. Students at a community school are very enthusiastic about being able to read school texts on an e-reader that was recently added to the Teacher Resource Centre, and to learn that such a small item can increase the school library by up to 400 books!

94 ZAMBIA/ Transferring ‘the gift of community education’ to very young children VVOB Zambia lobbies the Ministry of Education to develop inclusive systems that embed community schools in existing education policies and systems. In doing so, community schools could, just like other schools, receive financial support, which in turn allows vulnerable children to receive an education. We see a young community educator who was brought up in Garden Compound Community School. His gratitude, to have benefited from this community school education, has led him to engage in giving something back to the children of the community. Therefore he spends part of his time educating children about their surroundings and about Zambian culture in general. For this purpose, he makes use of murals as an activating teaching and learning methodology. Here, he uses the mural to teach very young children, who are not at school, about the meaning of the colours and the eagle in the Zambian flag.

95 ZAMBIA/ Distance education benefiting women Distance education has proved to be very effective in increasing the level of education for many Zambians. We are supporting the Ministry of Education to improve the quality and accessibility of distance education programmes for student teachers. Staff at the Directorate for Distance Education are particularly keen on promoting distance education as many of them have been able to advance their own careers in this way. A representative of the Directorate of Distance Education gives advice to a woman who had to stop her studies after her parents were not able to pay for her examination fees for entrance into high school. Sadly she had passed the examinations but the school refused to release her results without prior payment. Distance education programmes can help her resume her studies and at the same time continue to earn an income to support her family.

97 ZAMBIA/ A library in a box Through the Teacher Training Support Programme, we assist teacher training colleges in the country to transform their libraries into knowledge centres with the use of ICT. This allows student teachers to gain access to thousands of resources for teaching and learning. With the integration of a vast number of learning materials and other resources in digital format the library is developing into a knowledge centre. A librarian at the Zambia Institute for Special Needs Education gives her students an overview of the thousands of teaching resources on an offline digital portal, including the Global Disability Portal for special needs students.



Reducing vulnerability of Zimbabwe’s children VVOB started its cooperation in Zimbabwe in the mid-eighties. Vulnerability has many faces in this country. Children are made vulnerable by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which affects their family and school life in many ways. Poverty makes it difficult for people to make ends meet, and this affects the children’s education too. Children with learning difficulties or a disability often do not have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Early childhood education is often still considered to be of little importance. Violence against girls as well as boys in school is a major concern. Going to school, and actually learning something, is not obvious under any of these circumstances. In 2012, we support all the teachers’ colleges in Zimbabwe to find answers to this wide range of vulnerability issues, recognizing the pivotal role teachers can play in the life and future of every child. We support peer education and building of life skills amongst student teachers, professional development of lecturers of teachers’ colleges, in-service training of teachers and building of conducive policy environments in all the colleges. In all of this, we recognise the importance of motivated people and teams within the colleges as the most important agents of change. We will continue to support the efforts of the teachers’ colleges in Zimbabwe to create studentfriendly colleges. Their students will fit in as the teachers of the child-friendly schools of the future.

101 ZIMBABWE/ On the road to inclusive education The story of Rose is not unique. After years of being shut out, more children with different challenges now find their way to school. Their peers and teachers are actively helping them to access quality education and society is more readily accepting them. They now go to schools where they find teachers who have the capacity and commitment to include every learner. “No segregation, no discrimination. Though we are unique, we belong.� In collaboration with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, we aim to promote positive perceptions and attitudes in society towards learners with disabilities. We support educators through their teacher training programmes.

103 ZIMBABWE/ Learning through play Tawanda and Shalom are in pre-school. Learning has never been so much fun. The school has invested in learning materials and encourages the children to interact with their environment. Their teachers and parents also got together to make their own in- and out-door toys, mainly from waste materials. Their education remains affordable. In Zimbabwe we support Early Childhood Education. We focus on supporting the teachers’ colleges to promote ‘learning through play’, for example through the production of toys from readily available materials.

106 ZIMBABWE/ Welcome on board “This is your captain speaking. Welcome on board of my flight, I am captain Courage, fasten your seatbelts and I am going to fly you away to Eduland.” Many children like Courage will realise their full potential if their teachers recognise their talents, help them to gain confidence and allow them to be at the centre of their learning. Teachers’ colleges are given the crucial task to train and prepare teachers that can help all children achieve their full potential. They play a pivotal role in creating more child-friendly schools. We help managers of teachers’ colleges to develop supportive policies that reduce vulnerability among students and lecturers. Among others, we make it possible for them to share best practices and support initiatives that enhance learning among their student teachers.

107 ZIMBABWE/ Together we are the solution “Anything for us, without us, is not for us, we have been empowered. Together we are the solution!� Newly qualified teachers have the skills to engage youngsters in addressing their vulnerability together as peers. They discuss HIV, sexuality, relationships, gender, stigma and other social issues that concern them. This empowers children with crucial life skills to cope with their day to day life. Although the country has made huge strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS, over 14% of the sexually active population of Zimbabwe is estimated to be living with HIV. The programme focuses on participatory learning that empowers students to cope with college and teaching practice environments. We use an interactive approach that promotes peer education through group discussions, workshops and outreach programmes.

Early 2012, ten photographers set out on a journey. Their mission was extremely challenging; to grasp the impact of VVOB’s education programmes on the everyday lives of children and youngsters. The result is an impressive and colourful range of interpretations, perspectives and ideas. Education can change lives. Continuously, education changes as well. ‘Education Changes Lives’ powerfully brings this into focus.

ISBN 9789078083658

9 789078 083658

With the support of

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VVOB's Photo Book - 'Education Changes Lives'  

Early 2012, ten photographers set out on a journey. Their mission was extremely challenging; to grasp the impact of VVOB's education program...

VVOB's Photo Book - 'Education Changes Lives'  

Early 2012, ten photographers set out on a journey. Their mission was extremely challenging; to grasp the impact of VVOB's education program...

Profile for vvob