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Barbara Follows

Barbara Follows, M.Ed

"My philosophy is that every child is unique and, whatever their differences, every single child matters."

Inclusion in Namibia

Oshikoto is a predominantly rural area with teachers working in isolated circumstances with few resources and little opportunity for training and peer support. I am now working closely with my local counterpart and will be organising workshops on teaching techniques for representatives from schools in the area, which are organised into clusters. It is intended that these teachers will then share their learning with colleagues in their area, so that all 184 schools in the region are able to provide a better quality of teaching to all children.

Barbara and volunteersThe programme area is under the disability banner and at the moment children with SEBD, for whatever reason, are not recognised as a category of need. However, part of the reason why I was chosen for this post is my experience in this area. I hope to address some of the issues relating to SEBD, whilst fulfilling my wider Inclusion role.

The photograph shows me during the initial week-long internal country training, with other volunteers and the VSO Country Director for Namibia, Daan Gerretsen.

Education could learn a lot from VSO's energetic, enthusiastic and varied forms of training. After over 30 years' experience of INSETs, twilight trainings and the occasional off-site session that education in the UK offers its teachers, it was refreshing to have such high-quality training that I actually looked forward to and most certainly never came away thinking, "What a waste of time!" So in Oshikwanyama: "Hatu limino" or "See you later!"

(Published in SEBDA News, issue 17, spring 2009)