As has become tradition over four years, we recently marked the end of the school year with a symposium for the principals of our partner schools. These gatherings are a valuable opportunity for shared reflection on the year’s successes and learnings and allow us to exchange best practices and troubleshoot challenges together.
For the first time, this year’s symposium gathered principals from all of our partner schools across three regions of Madagascar. Over three days, Projet Jeune Leader’s teams and our partner school principals—50 in total!—deepened their relationships and reflected on the year’s milestones.
This was also an occasion to strengthen their capacity to serve as grassroots advocates for comprehensive sexuality education—an education that we all agree is critical. We held a training on advocacy to give our partner principals additional skills and confidence to explain the purpose of comprehensive sexuality education and address any potential community resistance. This was the first time that the school principals had received this type of capacity building. “We hope that there will be more trainings like this during future gatherings,” shared one of the principals at the end of the session.
Another new aspect of this year’s symposium was the presence of representatives from the National Ministry of Education. We were honored to be joined by Mr. Desnos, Director of Program Coordination and Monitoring in the General Department for Educational Establishments and Ms. Dina, the National Comprehensive Sexuality Education Coordinator. They did not hide their admiration as partner school principals shared the impacts of PJL’s Educators on the lives of students and on communities:
“It’s incredible that all of you have observed clear transformative impacts, not only on adolescents but also on entire communities. It’s fascinating to see how these Educators are completely integrated in the daily lives of youth,” shared Mr. Desnos.
Through the symposium, partner school principals also built professional networks amongst each other. They found commonalities, traded stories, and exchanged advice, while also learning more about their differences, whether between urban and rural schools or between large and small schools. They also shared fond memories of their history of collaboration with Projet Jeune Leader.
The symposium was a clear success. The school principals, one of our most important local constituencies, had the chance to reflect, share, and give motivating feedback on how to build an even stronger program. This is a reflection of the trusting relationships we have built with these partners—something that Chrystian, one of our Regional Technical Managers, found especially touching:
“I was so surprised to see that the school principals didn’t hesitate to talk and share deep reflections with me, even if we had only just met,” he exclaimed.
We are proud of the close collaboration between Projet Jeune Leader and our partner school principals; and we are even more proud, and appreciative, of their commitment to promote and defend our program. Each principal voiced the importance of comprehensive sexuality education for young adolescents. We are grateful for these partners as we work, together, to achieve our vision of bringing high-quality sexuality education to every young adolescent across Madagascar.