In March of 2023, Geneva Global Ethiopia (GG-Eth) hosted a high-level delegation to Speed School classes in Gode in the Somali region of Ethiopia. The delegation included State Minister of the Federal Ministry of Women and Youth Affairs; the Ambassador of Germany to Ethiopia; head of the office of the President of the Somali regional state; UNICEF country representatives; and various federal and regional bureau heads. The visit, proposed by UNICEF and the regional government of Somali, was coordinated by Geneva Global Ethiopia and the Organization for Welfare and Development in Action (OWDA), an implementing partner of Speed School. The purpose of this visit was to assess the benefit of UNICEF’s funding of Speed Schools in Gode and to discuss further scaling with the funding support from the government of Germany.
Upon arriving to the Speed School site in Adadle district, the delegation met with the school director who discussed the program and the progress made by Speed School students in the two months since the start of the school year. Samuel Wollie, Director of GG-Eth, then explained the key elements of the accelerated learning program which undergird the joyful and engaging learning process the visitors would have the chance to observe. Following, visitors entered a Speed School classroom where they were welcomed by Amir Ali, the classroom ambassador. Amir explained his classroom role as ambassador, the number of children in the class, and the learning aids in the corners of the classroom before leading his peers in the class slogan.
Following introductions, the facilitator conducted the day’s lesson, involving children in group work and learning activities which linked numeracy with physicality. Activities included addition competitions on the chalk board and counting exercises with small stones on the ground. After observing the learning activities, the delegation had the opportunity to ask questions of the facilitator and children. Four boys and four girls were invited to the front of the classroom to share about themselves and show the skills they had been working on, such as writing their names and reading from classroom charts. GG-Eth was happy to share the great progress of the students and motivated by the enthusiasm of the delegation.
Before concluding the visit, GG-Eth and OWDA representatives sat down with the delegation to invite feedback and answer any remaining questions. The visitors raised questions about teaching strategies, classroom infrastructure, adapting to the harsh learning environment, support supervision, and learning continuity. Samuel Wolle and the Kedir Mohamed Kedir, OWDA Program Coordinator took the opportunity to answer each of the questions, drawing on past experience and evidence to elaborate Speed School’s pedagogy, adaptability, training strategies, and commitments to future improvements and scaling.
Geneva Global Ethiopia is excited to continue collaborating with and learning alongside its partners and funders, evolving the Speed School program to improve student outcomes, expand reach, and ensure sustainability. “GGE will continue to rise to the opportunity, translating the lessons we’ve learned into concrete action, generating evidence of success, and working at the system level with regional and federal governments,” concludes Samuel Wolle.