I had the opportunity to visit Bungoma, a county located in the western part of Kenya. The purpose of this visit was to participate in a training program for the volunteers of the My Village project who are known as “My Village Champions”. The training took place from 1st May to 4th May,2023. This training was held in a village called Sirisia, known for its beautiful scenery and lush green vegetation.
The training brought together participants including the facilitator from Zizi Afrique, the Director of Milimo (the implementing partner of My Village in Bungoma), the County Coordinator, two trainers, the village champions and myself, representing the PAL Network.
Trainings commenced on 1st May 2023 at the Bitonge Friends Church, in the heart of Sirisia village. The training was conducted for the My Village champions teaching English. They had already begun implementing the project therefore this training was meant to rejuvenate their memory. The trainers did a tremendous job by incorporating interactive activities that encouraged active participation from the village champions.
During my interactions with the My Village champions, I was inspired and enlightened by their experiences in implementing the project. They highlighted significant advancements in the reading and writing skills of the children. However, they also faced challenges such as lack of support from some parents resulting in absenteeism as well as difficulty in managing time among the learners.
For the following three days, training was conducted specifically for the village champions teaching Kiswahili. They had not began implementing the project, therefore the training delved into more comprehensive details, extending the duration compared to the English training. This training helped me geta clear understanding of how to assess a child and effectively conduct learning sessions with different groups.
Recognizing the importance of balancing work and play, the trainers incorporated playful activities in the Kiswahili training. These activities not only encouraged participation by the village champions but also served as practical lessons on how they should conduct their learning sessions with the learners. These activities included songs, games and storytelling. I was impressed by these methods of teaching as it encourages the learners to enjoy and get the most out of the sessions.
I had the opportunity to interact with the Kiswahili village champions and was keen to understand their motivations for volunteering and whether the training met their goals. I was elated to receive positive feedback from them. They were very passionate about transformation of children’s literacy in their villages. Additionally, they were grateful for the smooth training and were enthusiastic to go back to their villages to begin implementing the project.
Subsequently, we had a debrief session with the facilitator from Zizi Afrique, the two trainers and myself. We were contented that the training met its objectives of reviewing, refreshing and equipping My Village champions with skills, knowledge and attitudes for strengthening the implementation of My Village Project.
My journey to Bungoma reminded me of the saying that volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community. This small act of kindness can make a big difference in the world.