An unforgettable retreat: Launching the new school year with PJL’s Educators
Quiet August holidays? Not so much at Projet Jeune Leader! August was a packed and exciting month: we brought together all 56 of our PJL-hired Educators in Antsirabe for a nearly two-week retreat ahead of the start of the 2023-2024 school year.
We were buzzing with anticipation as our Educators began arriving for the retreat. Each one of them brought unique experiences, excitement, and maybe a few nerves — some Educators returning for their second, third, or even fourth year as a PJL Educator, and others brand-new members of the team. A warm welcome from Chrystian, our Technical Manager, quickly put everyone at ease. “Vonona ve? Alofo!” Let’s go!
From the first minute of the retreat, the air in the room was electric, a mix of curiosity and enthusiasm. As we welcomed the Educators, they shared their eagerness to reflect on experiences from the past year and prepare for the year ahead.
And that’s what the retreat was all about: bringing together the entire cohort Educators to build community, exchange experiences, build new skills, and discover new pedagogical tools to improve our programming for youth across Madagascar.
Quality is one of our core values at Projet Jeune Leader. We strive to ensure our program is always the best it can be, and that means continuously refreshing our “toolbox”. During the retreat, we reinforced our Educators’ teaching skills and introduced them to additional pedagogical approaches. We were particularly excited to train our Educators in our new curriculum for 9th grade students, a brand-new complement to our curricula for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.
Community and Collaboration
One of the goals of the retreat was to strengthen community between our Educators. Their work in rural communities can be a little lonely and isolated, so this retreat was a chance to process their experiences together and strengthen their sense of belonging in a community of equally passionate young professionals.
Engrained in this community is a sense of mutual support and peer-to-peer learning. This is something we worked to foster throughout the retreat. For instance, instead of our staff leading certain capacity-building workshops, we invited our Educators to lead course simulations and facilitate discussions on how to improve participatory teaching. Our Educators bring a wealth of experience and best practice that we want to valorize.
“It was an amazing opportunity for us to get to know each other, and in particular, exchange best practices to improve how we engage program participants.” – PJL Educator Naina, Ilaka Centre Middle School
There was rarely a quiet moment during the week — but one session in particular captured our Educators’ attention. We invited Ravaka Mihamina, the founder of educational magazines for children Karné Madagascar, to lead a session on reading and literacy.
When they have free time in between classes or after school, students in our partner schools love reading books or magazines with our Educators, who usually have a selection on hand. Thanks to the training from Ravaka, our Educators learned how to facilitate engaging group reading sessions and help build students’ confidence with reading. The Educators loved learning how to enrich a fun afterschool activity!
Ready to Launch the New School Year!
Projet Jeune Leader’s Educators are real agents of change who are transforming Malagasy adolescents’ learning and health, schools and communities. We are grateful for our incredible Educators and their dedication to continuous learning. We can’t wait to kick off a new school year together!
“I have a feeling of great responsibility towards my country, especially to serve youth in rural communities.” – PJL Educator Fiderana, Ambohimandroso Middle School