Ann Njeri Gabaku, teacher in the Join for Joy program
Join for Joy
HundrED shortlisted this innovation
Why did you create this innovation?
Children in the rural areas of East Africa often don't come to school. Those who do come to school get to experience the old-fashioned way of teaching, without attention for SEL. Girls and disabled children are frequently left out at school. This - in addition to daily struggles such as illnesses, violence, child marriages, early pregnancies & COVID-19 - leads to an enormous number of drop-outs.
How does your innovation work in practice?
Science has shown that children learn better through play. This is why we developed our sustainable sports and play program, in which primary school teachers change their mindsets about the way school 'should be' and learn how to implement SEL through sports and play at school.
Teachers learn how they can playfully teach children how to protect themselves against diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria and COVID-19. Topics that are taboo in many rural areas, such as sexual violence, child marriages and gender (in)equality are discussed. The sports and play activities are specifically aimed at the development of life skills for children, such as assertiveness, emotion management, empathy, self-confidence and respect. For children with a disability, sports and play are powerful means to make them look at possibilities instead of limitations.
This way, all children gain competences necessary to build themselves positive future and succeed in school, work, home and their communities.
How has it been spreading?
Join for Joy founded in 2011. We started out by organising sports camps for children in Kenya. Soon we found that there was a much more sustainable way of making a change: by transferring knowledge about playful learning to local teachers, who we now proudly call our 'Agents of Change'!
We have so far trained over 556 teachers, divided over 139 schools in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda & Zambia. This means that more than 429.000 children at schools and in the surrounding communities have gotten familiar with playful learning and have the chance to develop themselves into strong and resilient boys and girls with a positive outlook on their future.
If I want to try it, what should I do?
The consequences of the current pandemic make the mission of Join for Joy more important than ever before: it is our joint task to get children (back) to school!
Please contact Join for Joy for more information about playful learning, the sports and play program or possible collaborations.