The principal at Anjoma middle school was a little indifferent when Projet Jeune Leader began delivering sexuality education at his school in 2020.
He of course welcomed the partnership – school dropouts and teenage pregnancies were a problem in his rural community. But he did not attend Projet Jeune Leader’s pre-school year meetings with other principals, nor did he come around on the PJL educator’s first day at his school.
It was not until a few weeks into the school year – when he saw the work, passion, and drive of the PJL Educator at his school, Ranjah – that his mind began to change.
Ranjah, an experienced 3rd year educator known for his dynamism and tirelessness, quickly gained the admiration of his students. The principal heard from students (his son among them) that they could not wait to attend Ranjah’s courses each week.
The principal also noticed that Ranjah was always the first to arrive at school. And he saw that when Ranjah was not teaching, he was busy engaging students in reading books and playing games during their free time. Eventually, the principal was able to spend some quality one-on-one time himself with Ranjah when they attended a funeral in the community together.
"Ranjah really has a talent: he really is amazing at his work. My son is in 6th grade and the other day he complained that they should have more time for Ranjah's courses. That's when I realized that the students really love what they learn with him." - Anjoma prinicipal during a check-in call with PJL supervising staff
Now, the principal of Anjoma middle school is one of Projet Jeune Leader’s most engaged partners. He and Ranjah collaborate closely to provide new and improved services to the students at Anjoma middle school. Parents of the students at the school have all come to know and love Ranjah, as well, because of the stories their children tell them about learning and playing with the PJL Educator and their positive interactions with him out in the community.
There have been several parents that have stopped by to talk to me about Projet Jeune Leader. They tell me that Ranjah's lessons have really started to open students' minds. - Anjoma prinicipal during a check-in call with PJL supervising staff
Ranjah's story illustrates that teachers and educators are not only deliverers of sexuality education – they are also the main messengers that convey its purpose and content. Educators inherently influence the way people perceive sexuality education. Sometimes, an educator is a school or community’s first exposure to what sexuality education is all about.
Even though the community of Anjoma has never heard of or experienced sexuality education before, they are fully supportive of providing it to their children because of the positive “brand power” that Ranjah holds.
To them, sexuality education is associated with their PJL Educator, Ranjah. And because they like, trust, and feel inspired by him, they fully believe in the sexuality education that he is bringing to their school and community.
Want to read more about how an educator's dynamism, relatability and knowledge can foster trust and credibility for sexuality education in local schools and communities? Read about Strategy 1, “Empower the Messengers” in our guidance document here: https://www.projetjeuneleader.org/resources/community-support