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If it weren’t for digital technology …

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At Technology Partnership’s fundraiser last year, we asked our guests to think about the role of digital technology in their lives and reflect on how it has impacted them. We provided the prompt, “If it weren’t for digital technology, I would …”, and received some intriguing answers.

The majority of respondents said they appreciate digital technology because it allows them to stay in touch with friends and family far away and stay current on world news, sports and weather. One guest even said that without digital technology, she wouldn’t have met the love of her life, and another commented that he’d be broke without it!

Some of our guests were teachers who said digital technology has allowed them to share the world with their students and enrich their learning experiences – exactly what Technology Partnership aims to assist.

Still, digital technology hasn’t uniformly enhanced our daily lives. A few people said they would sleep better, be more sane or see friends more often without it.

As Technology Partnership grows the technology infrastructure of Meru, Kenya, we are working to create new avenues for expression and access to greater economic and personal opportunities for our teachers and students. If it weren’t for digital technology, many of the people we work with would still be hand writing every lesson, looking up outdated facts in old textbooks and getting left further behind the global economy.

What role does digital technology play in your life? Where would you be without it? Leave a comment and let us know.

Technology Partnership Students Compete in the World Affairs Challenge

We’re delighted to announce that three of our partner schools are participating in this year’s World Affairs Challenge, a student competition managed by a group at the Posner Center for International Development, where Technology Partnership is housed. The attached video features a participating student’s responses to the questions: what are your hobbies, and what woman do you admire and why? The theme of this year’s competition is gender equity.

She says, “My name is Crystal Gatwiri. I enjoy singing, and the woman I admire most, though not renowned, is Mercy Chidi, the founder of Ripples International, an organization which gives a lease of life to abandoned children and victims of sexual abuse.”

This is the first year World Affairs Challenge is reaching out to schools outside the United States to participate in its dialogue and mentoring about global issues. Crystal is from Fred’s Academy, where our Kenya director, John Kamwara, teaches.

Thank you for your support in 2014!

As the holiday season gets into full swing, Technology Partnership has much to be grateful for, and we want to share some of our successes from this year with you.

New computers: Our shipment of 160 refurbished computers cleared Kenyan customs in record time: 3 weeks, instead of the 9 weeks it took the last shipment. The computers arrived in Meru last Friday. John Kamwara (Kenya director) and his team received them and prepared them for distribution to our schools in the first week of January 2015.

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Van: John Kamwara learned how to drive our van, which was funded by a grant from the Douglas, Wyoming, Rotary Club and Rotary International. When Barbara Bates (U.S. director) was in Meru this past summer, she was impressed with how well John drove in the crowded streets of Meru. Imagine learning how to drive at the age of 47, in an environment where drivers seldom follow the rules of the road. Kudos to John!

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Leadership Team: During Barb’s visit to Meru for teacher training this past summer, she and John coordinated a new Leadership Team of teachers, who will take on responsibility for holding teacher-training sessions using TP’s newly created webinar curriculum tool. Our superstar volunteer, Ann Marie Elaqua, has developed a four-module training curriculum using PowerPoint slides, Barb’s voice, and short video clips to help our Leadership Team as they present the computer curriculum to their peers. Although our leaders volunteered their teaching time, our gracious board has allocated some of our funds to provide a small stipend for the teachers who elect to do some training.

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Successful event: Our first major fundraising event, the Fabulous 42 Formal, was well attended and lots of fun! The 70 people who came out to the Posner Center for International Development to support TP had a great time and were generous in their financial support. We raised over $5,000 to support our projects and workers in Kenya who take care of our over 500 computers in 35 schools.

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Technology Partnership is growing and gaining momentum in Meru. As the year ends, we ask for your help to ensure our computers keep working and our teachers have the support they need. TP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so donations are tax-deductible. All donations directly fund our Kenyan programs and partners. Our goal is to bridge the digital divide between Kenya and the United States so our friends and partners in Kenya can learn crucial technical skills that will enable them to join the world of global enterprise and lift themselves out of poverty.

Click on the yellow “Donate” button now to make a quick and easy donation through PayPal.

Your donation makes a difference in Kenya!

  • $25 buys a 32 GB flash drive for one school computer lab loaded with “Rachel”, which we call “internet on a stick”.
  • $50 pays for a refurbished computer, which 20 students will use throughout the day to learn computer skills.
  • $150 pays for a digital projector, allowing 1 teacher to demonstrate computer skills to a class of 44 students.

Thank you for your support!

John Kamwara on Friendship

We showed this video clip of Kenya Director John Kamwara, produced and edited by board member Brandon Berman, at the Fabulous 42 Formal to thank our friends for their generous support of Technology Partnership. In the clip, John articulates TP’s goal of building cross-cultural, international friendships through technology. Join us and make more partnerships, and new friendships, possible!

Photos From the Fabulous 42 Formal

Our first big fundraiser, the Fabulous 42 Formal, was a great success, with more than 60 attendees who contributed over $5,000 to help Technology Partnership bridge the digital divide and connect schools in Colorado and Meru, Kenya. The event celebrated the birthday of our board president, Darcy Kitching, and our successes over the past 10 years creating partnerships with schools in Meru.

Guests enjoyed a festive evening, walking the red carpet and having their pictures taken by the fabulous Diana Sabreen. The silent auction featured popular items, from a South African safari to Kenyan crafts and photos by talented Kenyan and Colorado photographers.

Many thanks to all who participated! Take a look at the gallery of photos below, and order copies of your pictures by following this link: http://www.pictage.com/client/event.do?event=1637963.

 

 

 

 

We’re Tweeting as @TPTuesday

Board President Darcy Kitching started the hashtag TPTuesday on Facebook to promote Technology Partnership’s work, and now @TPTuesday is on Twitter! We’ll continue to create content every Tuesday to build connections between Colorado and Kenya and to raise awareness of our work. Be sure to follow us, share our posts and comment with your questions and accolades!

Meru Teachers Take Charge!

Over the past year, Kenya Director John Kamwara has cultivated a dynamic local leadership team of Meru teachers to assume much of our technology training work, providing peer-to-peer guidance and skill development for fellow teachers at our 35 partner schools. The leadership team is comprised of talented, professional, knowledgeable and generous teachers who have taken our trainings in past years and have integrated computers into their classroom teaching. Their interest in taking this on as a community service is a clear indication of how much work we have done in this community over the past nine years. They are dedicated to our mission and excited to assume responsibility.

Here is a picture of the leadership team with Executive Director Barb Bates, taken this month (click on the image to enlarge it):

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The transition from Barb leading all of the teacher training to the leadership team taking the reins was smooth and so promising. They are sure to exponentially increase our impact!

A key component of turning over the teacher training to our leadership team is ensuring the quality of the training materials. Before Barb journeyed to Meru this summer, she worked with star volunteer Ann Marie Elaqua to develop a webinar (PowerPoint with Barb’s voice introducing each slide/concept) based on the Intel TEACH materials, providing the framework for the leadership team’s workshop trainings for their peers. Barb and Ann Marie will create at least four more webinars for the leadership team to use as they conduct the basic course on how to use computers and part of the advanced courses on how to teach with them.

This photo shows one of our leadership team members, Harun Bundi, going over the use of the webinar with the group:

Harun teaching the basic course

Along with empowering our leadership team to train their peers, we have also worked hard to develop a technology team of four awesome tech professionals, three of whom have master’s degrees in information and communications technology (ICT). They have already begun taking inventory of all of the computers we have sent to Meru to determine which computers are working, which need to be fixed and which need to be used for parts and then recycled. The vice chancellor of Kenya Methodist University expressed excitement about starting a computer recycling program in Meru, which one of our leadership team members, Nicholas, will start working on to investigate the process and the potential markets.

This visit demonstrated that Technology Partnership is at a major tipping point:  all of the work we have done has lead to great acceptance within the Meru educational community, and both of the main universities in Meru are not only on board but willing to help us with support and resources. Our 35 partner primary and secondary schools are eager for more training and for the help we give them providing computers, and especially the maintenance of those computers. We have great relationships with the teachers and computer managers in all the schools.

We even made inroads into the local and national education governing bodies. The second-in-charge of the Meru district of education came to one of our workshops for a couple of hours, saw what we did and was impressed. Her boss had heard good things and wanted her to come and check it out. Barb also met, by chance, the Meru women’s representative to Kenya’s parliament, who wants to connect for more information about how to teach teachers computer skills and how to teach with computers. They have a one-laptop-per-child program ready to go at the national level (already funded) but are stymied by how to teach the teachers. Our training program may help fill that need.

Technology Partnership has come so far, from 10 partner schools to 35; from a handful of teachers learning how to use computers to hundreds learning how to effectively use them in the classroom; from a few hundred students benefiting from access to today’s technology to thousands learning, prospering and developing new avenues for future success through computers. Stay tuned and watch us grow!

Videos: Volunteers Reflect on Life-Changing Experiences in Meru

Julie Bowline, library technical director for Adams 12 school district near Denver, CO, describes the impact her volunteer trip to Kenya with Technology Partnership, in 2013, had on her life and work….

Kim Ackerman, former director of libraries for Adams 12 school district, explains that she had anticipated how much she could help the teachers in Kenya learn about technology, but instead, found that they taught her much more…

Summer 2013 Teacher Training Trip with Volunteers a Great Success

The team had a great trip back to Meru. This trip focused on additional training for the teachers and providing more resources to the community.

Here is the team:

John and Barb

John and Barb

Kim

Kim

Riki and Amos

Riki and Amos

Riki and Eli

Riki and Eli

Tiffany and Julie

Tiffany and Julie

Week 1

This time around we were hosted by the Kenya Methodist University. They have some nice, well-maintained computer labs in which we could teach.

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A big surprise for us was how many repeat teachers we had! Of the 52 teachers we were training, 35 had already mastered the basics and were ready to move on to the advanced course. This necessitated the development of an advanced course right then and there.

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The advanced course was based on using online resources, including how to find and evaluate resources online, how to guide students to reputable resources, and how to integrate those resources into a curriculum. The advanced course also covered how to use Rachel in schools without an internet connection. We were able to bring copies of Rachel to install in the schools while the teaching was going on. We are very excited to have such an amazing collection of resources!

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Some of the other teacher-training topics included how to use MS word, Excel, and PowerPoint, which we taught with the Intel TEACH program. Critical thinking and student-centered teaching were a big focus, and the teachers took to the approach very well.

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We were thrilled with the progress the teachers were able to make in just 4 days!

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A Weekend Excursion

For the weekend we were able to take a trip up to Mt. Kenya (19,000 ft) and hiked up to 11,000 ft.

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Week 2

During week 2, we were able to visit the schools and check on the donated equipment as well as teach some of the students.

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We also got to set up the donated projectors from DeVry! Here is a primary school with a new projector:

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Nokero Solar Bulbs

One of the benefits to our new location in the Posner Center for International Development in Denver is the connections we are able to make. This time around, we were able to bring some solar light bulbs from Nokero out to a rural school in Kenya.

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Safari!

After putting in all the hard work for the trip, the team was able to enjoy the wildlife:

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August 2013 trip to Kenya

Check out the slides and video clips from our August 2013 trip to Kenya with Technology Partnership. We had a wonderful and successful teaching service trip; perhaps next year you would like to join us.  -Barb Bates