Thursday, March 27, 2014

I am because you are

In a previous blogpost I reflected on how African values shape my practice of Evaluation.

This week I attended a seminar during which Gertjan Van Stam shared some provocative views on development in Africa. I started reading his book 'Placemark'. I love the way he gives voice to rural Africa. I find it interesting that this Dutch Engineer manages to give voice to Africa in a way that I can relate with.

His beautifully written take on Ubuntu:

I am, because You are

Is it possible that people in rural areas of Africa can connect with people in urban areas around the world?

That one can walk into a scene and meet someone who walks into the same scene, even if it is geographically separated?

That we explore and connect rural and urban worlds worldwide without anyone being forced into cultural suicide?

That we meet around the globe and relate, embrace, love, and build meaningful relationships?

That we find ways to be of significance and support to each other and together shuffle poverty and disease into the abyss?

That we encourage each other to withstand drunkenness and drugs, bullying, self harm, and greed?

That we share spiritual nutrition to deal with wealth, loss, alienation and pain in this generation?

That we unite through social networks, overcoming divides and separations?

That we share ancient, tested, and new resources, opportunities, visions, and dreams that lead to knowledge, understanding and wisdom?

That we collaborate to discuss, and engineer tools, taking into account the integral health of all systems?

That together, South and North, build capacity, mutual accountability, and progress, for justice and fairness?

That I am, because You are?

Monday, March 17, 2014

21st Century Skills of Rural African Teachers and Learners

I’m evaluating a project that aims to build the 21st century skills of rural African teachers and learners. Until recently I did not even know what people meant when they used the phrase 21st Century skills, but I have been enlightened and must now find a way to measure it for our evaluation. 

It seems I’m not the only one struggling with the problem of having to measure something very broad - There are a range of resources available that wrangle with the idea of defining and measuring 21st Century Skills – Some of the resources I found particularly useful include:

Everything I read, however, seems to have the focus on a context that is not rural and not African. Perhaps there is scope for our project to contribute to the general discussion on 21st Century Skills by adapting the definitions and measures specifically for our context? Perhaps this is an opportunity to develop an example of African Made, African Owned Evaluation?