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Mastering Social and Financial Education in Mali, Togo, and Niger: A Dialogue with Global Master Trainers

Posted in Blogs on July 1, 2021

Life skills and financial education through a gender lens project with support from Dubai Cares

 

Aflatoun International works with a network of master trainers to increase the capacities of teachers and trainers who deliver social and financial education to children and young people all over the world. With the support of Dubai Cares, a UAE-based global philanthropic organization, Aflatoun has been working with its partners in Mali (GAP), Niger (ADENI), and Togo (FESEN), as well as the respective Ministries of Education to introduce Aflateen+ programmes into the national curricula, and to reach out to the most vulnerable children and young people out of school.  

The Global Master Trainers (GMTs) play a big role in delivering and ensuring the quality of the Aflatoun programme. Our Programme Manager for Francophone Africa, Mohamadou Badiaga, spoke with a few of our best on their experiences with the implementation of Aflateen+ (Life skills and financial education through a gender lens) – Samah Tinka Batolimba , Inspector of Education and an Aflatoun GMT in Togo; Ibrahima BA, Founder of EDEN and an Aflatoun GMT in Senegal; and Hamidou Barry, Aflatoun Master Trainer in Mali. From why contextualisation matters to suggestions for making methodologies pandemic-responsive — read on to learn more about the project, the trainers’ insights and discover the highlights of their interview below. 

Contextualisation workshop – Togo
About Life Skills and Financial Education through a Gender Lens Project

The objective of the project is to socially and financially empower 6,000 adolescents over the course of three years, in order for them to become agents of change in their communities. Aflatoun GMTs ensure the quality of the programme by providing training to partner organisations on Aflatoun’s methodology in their own region. These GMTs go through a rigorous selection process and are trained over the years by the Aflatoun secretariat to ensure enough trainers are available at each regional level, and are responsible for providing network partners with the support they need. 

Implementation of the project is done through two avenues: 

  • Formal schools: the Aflateen+ programme is implemented in formal schools with the support of the Ministry of Education in Niger and Togo. The programme is either embedded into a host-topic such as Family Planning lessons (Niger), or taught as an extra-curricular within established Aflateen clubs (Togo). 
  • Non-formal centres: the Aflateen+ programme is implemented at the community level, and reaches out to adolescents who are not in school (Mali). 
Through the Eyes of Global Master Trainers

The Aflateen+ programme is being implemented through both formal and non-formal education. Togolese GMT, Samah, describes the formal education approach as “more than effective”, something that ensures the children’s future, and a “vaccine for development”. However, to reach as many children and young people as possible, non-formal groups have also been created to implement the programme. In Mali, most of the work is done in the non-formal sector because many children and youth, especially in remote areas, have dropped out or never attended school 

 

“If a programme like Aflateen allows children to gain life skills, and have resources to become independent and self-sufficient in the future, I think it is a programme that should really be supported. That’s why we chose that [the] first year [be] non-formal, because we want [all] the children to benefit in some way from the education. Every child has a right to education, whether it’s those in schools and those who are not in schools” ⏤ Hamidou Barry (Mali) 

“We must make them financially and socially autonomous.” — Samah Tinka Batolimba (Togo)
Teacher training – Niger

Teachers play a vital role in the implementation of the Aflateen+ programmes because they interact directly with participating youth, engaging them in social activities, reinforcing entrepreneurial spirit, teaching them their rights, and essential financial skills. It is thus crucial that they receive a high standard of training, and that follow-ups are put in place to continue ensuring the quality of education provided. Quality training for teachers translates to a greater impact within the classrooms, but also extends beyond the classroom into the family structure.   

“[The] financial aspect, in addition to the child-centred education that the teachers are given, is fundamental for me.” — Ibrahima BA (Senegal) 
Contextualisation workshop – Togo

Samah and Hamidou both emphasised the importance of contextualising the Aflatoun curricula to the realities of the country. Contextualisation is the adaptation of the curricula to fit the socio-cultural context in which it will be taught. It is crucial for both the teachers and students to recognise themselves within the curricula.   

“When [teachers] came to the training [and] saw Togolese names in the document, [they] wondered, [if] Aflatoun came from elsewhere, where do the Togolese names come from? So [this is] to say that the teachers are happy because everything we put in the document came from their reality.” — Samah Tinka Batolimba (Togo)
“Contextualisation was one of the most important phases of the Aflateen programme in Mali. We had to bring the Aflateen model in line with the socio-cultural realities of Mali. There were certain aspects of the original Amsterdam model that did not fit. As a result, these sensitive parts were removed from the manual - especially those relating to sexuality - to bring them into line with the socio-cultural realities of Mali.” — Hamidou Barry (Mali)

All the GMTs highlighted their appreciation for the Aflatoun teaching methods because of the child-centred approach, its impact on children, teaching them to be financially responsible, and giving them the social and financial skills to make their future aspirations possible.   

 

“A child who comes to school and goes through the Aflatoun programme and manages to save money, to the point where he can do something that he had in mind that he couldn’t do […] I really appreciate this, in addition to the social aspect” ⏤ Ibrahima BA (Senegal) 

They also outlined some recommendations for improvement, including adapting the games and activities to be COVID-19-friendly such as, for example, reducing the amount of physical contact; integrating COVID-19 into the Aflatoun curricula; and thinking about African socio-cultural realities when designing future programmes. 

“I really appreciate the Aflatoun teaching methods because it enlivens the children […] It pushes children to become responsible from a young age and that's something that should be supported. For the recommendations, […] I would like them to think about the African socio-cultural realities when they do the design.” — Hamidou Barry (Mali) 

“[…] Everything in Aflatoun is a game where you have to touch each other. With the current pandemic, we need to find other strategies so that we don’t have to touch⏤ Samah Tinka Batolimba (Togo)

 

Watch the full interview here: 

 

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