Human Resource Management has several components and one of these component is career development. It is always every organization‘s objective to maximize its human resource productivity to achieve it’s goals and career development aids in that outlook of ensuring the best match between people and jobs, these were words once uttered by Thomas G. Gutteridge.
However, few organizations place importance on how its employees are managing their respective careers and take steps that provide structure to the employee’s progress on his/her chosen career path. TOSF is one such organization that acts in the interest of its employees’ career development. This has added value to TOSF teachers, making them different from others. Apart from pedagogical practices, TOSF teachers have had several trainings and outings that has equipped them not only with knowledge and soft skills but also exposure which not many teachers get in private, government and community schools especially here in Zambia.
Evidently the diverse trainings, not only benefit the teachers but also the students at different levels and the school at large. Some of the training courses (like EHV, Master Class and Scout Leaders training) has given us teachers a different perspective on situations that we would have otherwise reacted differently to. Instead of having conservative and intolerant thoughts and opinions, some of these trainings has made us a better person today and has helped us make informed choices.
Since 2015, several training programs have been conducted at TOSF school or offsite. To name a few:
1. Organisational Write up & Story Telling
2. Web Blogging
3. Master Class – Cyber Security
4. Chenjela Hygiene
5. Scout movement / Duke of Edinburgh International Award program
6. Phonics by Phone
7. National Rights Summit / Aflatoun Club
8. Education in Human Values (EHV)
9. Home Decor
– Rotary Club
– Dinner with the Directors
We briefly allude below on how each training has benefited the teachers.
Organizational Write Up and Story Telling
Due to Corona virus, training institutions and businesses worldwide had to cease operations. Moreover we being just a small charity cannot afford to send staff overseas for training; hence we bring training programs to our doorstep. In the midst of COVID–19, zoom meetings are organized. Elizabeth Gowing conducts monthly training on Organizations’ stories from the field making a positive change in the world and Story Telling. Elizabeth G has a MA from the Institute of Education, University of London, author of many books and she received the Mother Theresa medal for humanitarian work from the President of Kosovo. TOSF teachers from Media Department were selected by the founder to be trained on how to write effectual stories of beneficiaries, volunteers, organisations and reporting actual happenings to highlight to readers sufferings and outcomes in order to make positive changes in society. Elizabeth also taught interview techniques to protect yet bring about the best results and news to the outside world. We are looking forward to more zoom sessions with Elizabeth Gowing. A chance of a life time for us teachers.
Deepak Yadav, Team Lead Business Development, of Web Synergies, Hyderabad, India has been patiently coaching and guiding as when required, 3 teachers from TOSF Media department on how to best use social media as a platform to advertise our grassroots humanitarian work. Without his expertise, close monitoring and specific instructions through skype calls, these 3 teachers will not be blogging and making website changes effectively. They have further shared with their colleagues at school on how to optimize social media to enhance our outreach programs.
Master Class – cyber security
We are living in a world of technology hence it is cardinal that one is equipped and adapts. Master Class training program opened us up to the importance of Cyber Security and Entrepreneurship.
The training has helped the teachers to be careful when accessing information on social media. This knowledge was imparted to our learners during ICT (Information & Communication Technology) lessons. All thanks to Mr James Phiri, active trustee of TOSF, for organizing and funding the training which was held at Mulungushi Conference Centre and we were fortunate to have trainers from different countries. The knowledge gained was invaluable.
Chenjela campaign organized by Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company & Village Water
At a learning institution such as ours, issues of hygiene is key to a healthy life style; especially in the slums where all our students come from and outbreak of Cholera is rampant. TOSF school teachers were sent to be trained by Lusaka Water & Sewerage company and an NGO called Village Water. Eliminating bacteria through hand washing with soap and running water which may seem like the most natural act, is unfortunately not known nor practised by many here. When Corona virus broke out, sensitizing the learners was very easy because it had become a routine, of washing hands regularly at TOSF School for OVC. This is the advantage of having foresight and being prepared for disasters like this current pandemic.
Scout movement/ Duke of Edinburgh Intl Award Program
Scout movement is about equipping the learners with survival skills and good values in life. It was first introduced at TOSF school in 2017. The teachers were trained by the former Lusaka District Commissioner for Scouts, Izenzi Kabwe in Kasisi, Zambia. Our OVCs and teachers attended camps, trainings and talks which they would have never had if they were in another community school. The values we practice in EHV is enhanced in the scout movement when we do community service in the neighboring shanty towns. We have learnt that it is not always only our right to receive but also GIVE in so many different ways. In conjunction with the Duke of Edinburgh program, during scouts training students and teachers learnt life skills.
Phonics by Phone
Sheena Campbell from Educators International Organization UK came to Zambia to conduct the training. The workshop educates teachers on the importance of phonics in building literacy strategies and to enhance the decoding of listening and reading comprehension skills. This is facilitated by the use of android phones, a booklet for lessons and a small portable printer which makes it accessible and easy for the teachers to use it in class or as reference when preparing lessons or even for self –correction, without the physical presence of their trainer Sheena Campbell. The deliverance of the lessons and information can be verified by the trainer who is in the U.K.
Children’s Rights Convention/ Aflatoun Club
The Rights of a Child was celebrated On November 2019 at the National Children’s Summit. Our teachers and invited students gained useful information about children’s rights. Furthermore, some teachers were trained on the importance of “children’s entrepreneurship” and “savings” by Aflatoun Club. This social enterprise teaches the young on saving, spending wisely, planning, budgeting, rights and responsibilities. At TOSF school since we believe in career building, Aflatoun has taught us how to identify learners who want to be bankers or choose Finance as a career. This knowledge about finances was later shared with both teachers and pupils of TOSF school for OVC.
Education in Human Values
Education in Human Values (E.H.V) has brought enormous transformation in the lives of teachers, children and the communities that we work with. The fundamentals of E.H.V: Each person is born with inherent Values which lies dormant within them and they need to be activated. The Values in discussion are; Peace, Truth, Love, Right Conduct and Non-violence. These values has now given the teachers themselves a solid foundation in life which they themselves lacked when growing up due to their difficult living conditions; further enhancing the human element when interacting with others and students. Teachers at TOSF school act as substitute–parents because most of these orphans and vulnerable children are deprived of the most basic and fundamental attribute of mankind – Love and compassion. The listening ear and unconditional love of a Values based teachers has brought about great transformation and happiness in many lives of our students. Most children are brought to TOSF school with a lot of bitterness in their lives due to the harsh and cruel living conditions.
The deep wounds of losing their parents at such a tender age upsets their mental well being and creates a lot of instability and violence. Due to EHV training and teachers practicing these values, TOSF teachers have been a compassionate pillar for these students and as a result heal fast and adapt better in school and society. Being sensitive to these vulnerable childrens’ needs and handling them would have been impossible without EHV training. Furthermore, EHV has taught teachers to be at peace with themselves regardless of how tough the situation maybe either at school or at home. The 5 values have become a lifestyle for each teacher at TOSF. These values do not end at school but they are practised at homes of the teachers. The beauty of living by these values are that, you don’t need to explain to people about the values but just exercise them and they will start emulating you because they see the positive changes in us. The golden principle is that “be the change you desire to see in others”. In a nutshell EHV training has created a better work environment, a happy and meaningful home environment and a loving and caring educational haven for our orphans and vulnerable children.
Our Zambian curriculum has two path ways at Junior Secondary School level, which is vocational and career pathways. TOSF has already adopted these pathways at Primary level schooling in line with the syllabus guidelines in Creative and Technology Studies (C.TS.), which emphasises on creativity and innovation. This also being the reason why the school deliberately created an Arts club in 2011 to equip the learners with psychomotor skills. For upskilling and empowerment purpose, TOSF School sent one of the teachers for Home Decor course. This in turn up skills the other teachers, learners and the community at large with innovative skills that can be monetized to earn a living. The training aims to benefit single mothers, early school drop outs especially female students . It is true to mention that there is more to just being a teacher at TOSF. All of us teachers not only are armed with a teaching diploma now since joining TOSF and one teacher who already came with a teaching degree, but are constantly sponsored and encouraged to widen our knowledge in other areas apart from academic learning.
Free Career Advancement and interest free loans.
It is a dream of every able bodied person to want to advance in their careers. But whathinders that dream for us, is finances. The Other Side Foundation has been in a lead to promote career advancement to its employees. Most of the teachers joined TOSF school without a teaching qualification but since the non profit organisation believes in changing lives, it took up the challenge of sponsoring some teachers to upgrade their career for free. Due to financial constraints, it is unable to sponsor its staffs for free anymore but it gives interest free study loans to ensure everyone has access to higher learning. This program has seen to it that all teachers are now fully certified to teach. Most private and community school teachers in Zambia are not MOE recognized teachers unlike us at TOSF school who have the opportunity to compete on the national grid.
i) Rotary club
It is one thing to be educated but it is another to be exposed and acquire soft skills. Education without exposure
brings about limitations. Exposure opens up an individual to a whole new world and it erases certain stereo type mentalities. TOSF teachers were fortunate to meet people of great influence and higher caliber at the Rotarian meetings which they were kindly invited to. This has helped the teachers to view the world from a different perspective. Rotary International’s purpose is to connect businesses and professional leaders to advance good will and peace around the world through humanitarian service. Another chance of a life time for us teachers, most of whom did not even have a clue about such an organization due to our limited exposure.
ii) Dinner with the Directors
There is nothing in the world that brings about joy than acknowledgement. Few charitable organizations in Zambia take time to acknowledge their employees’ efforts, especially non- profit making organizations. TOSF directors have made it a culture to acknowledge and appreciate all the efforts its employees put by inviting all its employees (security guards, cleaners, cooks and teachers) once a year for dinner at an upscale restaurant. The 2 directors dine with us and try to get to know us on a personal level making us feel that we all belong to one big family. We are very grateful and we feel honored by their kind gesture. Their hearts are not only for the orphans, vulnerable children, grannies, widows and single mothers but also for their employees. Our wellbeing is taken care off and we are given due respect by both our directors.
Zikomo (thank you in Zambian language)