Meet the Training Stars
This week was pure magic, filled with real life miracles for My Rainforest, My World. Based at Centre ValBio, student teachers and teachers lead environmental education in remote villages around Ranomafana NP with the education lead Florent Ravoavy, and our own, Lovasoa Razafindravony as Project Manager! I love it, since this is exactly what I’ve been rooting for. Exciting to see community-led education connecting back to the scale of villages around the forest, as promised in the park’s early days. But this project was also big to start, with ten villages involved year one, and 3 themes of curriculum and training every term! It was lofty, and Professor Pat Wright hoped for a highly skilled team to make this project, funded by The Three Graces Foundation, come to life. I was happy to coordinate that team for Term 2.
Began our quick Madagascar adventure over ice cream at the Colbert with a few of the people that I’ve been dying to collaborate with for some time, now. Sarah Williams traveled in with me from England. I’m enchanted by her dedication to teacher training all over the world, and inclusive style for institutional change. She enjoys and captures a fine inkling in areas that I would easily shy from: the institutional relationships and leadership that translate into sustainable and quality management, bridging to the sciences, and excitement about the botanical. I knew that we needed her around to make this work: 48 teaching and training plans in less than a week, informed across stakeholders and context, and then, a leap of education strategies for constructivism to mean something in the remote villages.
Then, there’s Mirah. She’s been working in human development and creative training for education leaders in Madagascar, passionate about early childhood, creative learning, and children’s gardens, even offering permaculture skills. I had already spoken to the Centre ValBio education team about themes, and listening to Mirah’s quiet passion, I knew the stars were aligning, as we had chosen ‘healthy gardens’ for theme #3. Fela Razafiarison joined with images of how agencies emerge in theatre, while embodied ideas become lasting action. We listened to her illustrate meaningful learning and rooted engagement; it was clear she’d lead teachers and student teachers for using inclusive praxes.
And I was truly honored that Lova Rakotoarisoa agreed to join us, too. Lova just began her own non-profit for youth in Madagascar, and aside from law school, training and consulting for many organizations, serves as a UN fellow for youth engagement. She has a star reputation for her commitment to social justice, and as as past trainer for Peace Corps Madagascar’s health section, adding stunning expertise guiding and orchestrating leadership training, support, and community inclusion. And just so happens, she was returning from WASH workshops on community health around water, which is also another one of the themes! She brings so much style to engaging stakeholders and plans on environmental health – I was glowing with admiration for this insane curriculum and training team.
One day to plan, then forest by weekend to pull off the rest for Monday’s start. But each of them is so committed to quality and so strongly a social leader in their own right, something powerful was bound to happen. And it did. We were all well-recieved by the Centre ValBio education friends, adding substance, context and insights to bring ideas to life.
So it begins…