OpenIDEO & MIKTA Education in Emergency Challenge Winner– Reach & Match Inclusive Education Kit Empowering Children with Disabilities
Emergency situations are currently disrupting the education of more than 75 million children across 35 countries. Emergencies have a devastating impact on the effectiveness of education systems in crisis-affected countries. The disruption to schooling, leads to degraded quality of teaching and causes physical destruction or damage to school infrastructure. In developing countries children with disabilities are often not integrated into mainstream learning environments and in emergency settings they are commonly cast aside and invisible to society.
The goal of the challenge is to identify and support innovative approaches to tackling the complexities of education in emergency situations. We are proud that Reach & Match Inclusive Education Program is one of the 7 winners out of 370 international proposals covering 60 countries! Reach & Match project designed through focussed research and user testing, enabling children with disabilities to engage with play-based learning in emergency contexts. The project is funded by Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) innovationXchange (iXc). You can read more about the beginning of our journey here.
Partnering with Save the Children Philippines to deliver Reach & Match for Marawi Children
The Marawi siege in 2017 led by the Maute group has been one of the most recent and significant events disrupting the lives of the Meranaws in Marawi. It has caused massive population displacement, deaths and significant damage to the entire city. Mass evacuation took place as local residents fled and sought refuge to nearby safe areas. Though one year later, 100,000 children still remain displaced today.
We are so excited to be partnering with Save the Children Philippines (SCP) and have our Reach & Match Program implemented as part of the DFAT funded project – ‘Integrated and Inclusive Conflict-Sensitive Protection and Education’ for Children in Mindanao (iCOPE). Reach & Match will be a part of iCOPE’s s innovations child-centred disaster risk reduction and management approach in 21 schools and day care centres in Marawi and Lanao Del Sur. Together, Reach & Match and SCP are in partnership to enhance the educational experience and social development for children with disabilities in the Philippines by providing the Reach & Match Inclusive Learning Program. This project aims to enable children with and without disabilities to learn equally and empower teachers to teach inclusively.
Successful ‘Train the Trainer’ workshop in the Philippines
A Reach & Match trainer travelled to the Philippines and conducted training over two intense full days (24-25th September, 2018) in Cagayan de Oro. The facilitators who participated are the representatives from our partner organisations including the Save the Children Philippines, the Plan International Philippines, the Department of Education – Lanao del Sur, the Department of Education – Marawi, Balay Rehabilitation Centre and MARADECA.
The training delved into the background research and importance of inclusive education prior to engaging in the learning outcomes, applications of Reach & Match and hands on practising of the games and exercises. An important aspect of the training was establishing how Reach & Match would be specifically applied in each facilitator’s context and in collaboration with the current programs established, not in isolation. Different case studies of formal and informal learnings were showcased to the facilitators through videos, they had the opportunity to discuss and reflect the needs on their current.
The Integration of Reach & Match into Current Learning Curriculums and Programs
The training helped the trainers to design and run Reach & Match effectively into their current learning programs in the most effective way. The trainers had to think of the big picture and details, for example, what learning outcomes should be addressed, who should attend their training sessions, where exactly will the Reach & Match sessions be held, how frequently the kits will be used, who is responsible for the kit in their centres etc. The training session also helps the trainers to identify the project environment the education program would be implemented in. Experts in the field were approached in helping to paint a more accurate picture of how the kit would be used and about the needs of the children and the resources and facilities available.
Positive feedback from the partner organisations
The training was extremely well-received, the participants are now well prepared to facilitate the training for the teachers under their care in their respective contexts. This is of utmost importance because the success and effectiveness of the Reach & Match Inclusive Education Program is heavily reliant on the capabilities of the teachers and how they present the program to the children. Thus, the facilitators ability to support the teachers well is crucial as they need to help the teachers understand the value and usefulness of the kit as well as impart the depth of understanding and skills necessary to be effective in the classroom.
In the post-training survey, we received very positive feedback in the following areas:
- Improved understanding of inclusive learning by providing play-based activities
- Improved knowledge in facilitating the interaction between children with and without disabilities
- Confidence in running a Reach & Match play-based session
- The effectiveness of the exercises and games
On the second training day, Zora Agustin (Save the Children) shared a comment: “Magandang Umaga (Good morning), yesterday was really fun! We were able to unleash our inner childhood behaviour and attitudes, express our emotions, shout, laugh! If us adults enjoyed it, how much more will the children enjoy it! I hope that the Reach & Match activities and learning program can be shared with other areas, not just Marawi or Lanao del Sur, especially those areas that were affected by different emergencies. It’s very helpful because it serves psycho-social support and activities.”
Claire Cardona (Save the Children) also shared: “Yesterday’s activities bring back pleasant memories from a previous life. I used to work in a developmental centre with special children. I had fun yesterday in the training and the activities are a good output for all the theoretical teaching that all the teachers will be giving during class hours. If you want the kids to be more receptive you can apply the lesson through the Reach & Mat kit and exercises. It’s a good combination between theory and application.”
Jamie Lambas from Balay Rehabilitation Centre & John Tamayo from Plan International have shared their feedback of Reach & Match program in the following videos:
Inclusive Education Training Rolling-Out in Local Schools
All trainers who participated in our training intensive have begun to facilitate their own training sessions in the schools, education centres and kindergartens. Local teachers and project officers were extremely excited to roll out the program, we have been receiving a lot of encouraging messages and also photos and videos for showing how they kick-start the Reach & Match Inclusive Education Program! A local leader shared that: “We are so thankful for this program, it’s an intervention that is to essential and very glad our school children will benefit and have a great impact in their everyday learning.”
Though Reach & Match has a truly global presence in so many contexts from Solomon Islands to the Netherlands, child care centres to libraries, this is our first time undertaking a project in an emergency context! What began with uncertainty and surprise at winning the competition turned to hard work – fuelled by the belief that Reach & Match could really help these children overcome their trauma and develop daily life skills. And the response that we have received in the Philippines was incredibly encouraging making all our hard work worth it.
The project is still ongoing so keep your ears peeled to find out more, or sign up our newsletter for the coming updates!