Conference in Chibuto brings together a hundred participants around Early Childhood Education in Mozambique

Conference in Chibuto brings together a hundred participants around Early Childhood Education in Mozambique

Conference in Chibuto brings together a hundred participants around Early Childhood Education in Mozambique

“Modelos de Promoção da Educação de Infância em Moçambique” (Models of Promotion of Early Childhood Education in Mozambique) is the title of the conference, promoted by AIDGLOBAL that, on the 24th of November, marked the closing of the project “Educadores em Movimento – Uma Educação Itinerante para a Primeira Infância”. The Open Centre of Chibuto was the place chosen to receive the 97 participants, who came from Maputo, Xai-Xai and the District of Chibuto.

The conference had a varied panel of Mozambican and Portuguese speakers from government bodies, academia and civil society.

The opening was in charge of the President of the Board of AIDGLOBAL, also Coordinator of the pilot project “Educadores em Movimento – Uma Educação Itinerante para a Primeira Infância”, Susana Damasceno, who presented the objectives of the meeting, and was the first speaker on the panel “Educação de Infância em Moçambique – caminhos já percorridos” (Early Childhood Education in Mozambique – paths already travelled). The theme of her intervention “A Educação de Infância no Chibuto, Moçambique — Boas práticas e potencial de replicabilidade” (Early Childhood Education in Chibuto, Mozambique – Good practices and replicability potential) focused on the work carried out by AIDGLOBAL and its partners, in the creation of a model of services for early childhood education, embodied in five Community Schools, created in the communities of Bairro 25 de Junho, Chaimite, Chiconelane, Maivene and Malehice. This was followed by a presentation by Professor Antónia Barreto, pedagogical supervisor of the project, who spoke about “A Educação de Infância em comunidades rurais – a importância da capacitação de recursos humanos locais” (Early Childhood Education in rural communities – the importance of training local human resources).  Hannah Danzinger closed this first part with a presentation of the work done by the Fundação Fé e Cooperação (FEC), in the area of Early Childhood Education in Mozambique.

On the panel – “Vozes de quem viu e participou – a avaliação de um projeto-piloto” (Voices of those who saw and participated – the evaluation of a pilot project), emotional testimonies were presented about how the Community Schools have had an impact on the integral development of the children in these communities, and were an important moment of this conference. The representatives of the educational community of the 5 Schools who gave their testimonies were: the director of the Primary School of Bairro 25 de Junho Unidade 2, Angelina da Aflição, the head of the Locality of Maivene, Lucas Macuácua, the representative of the parents of Chaimite, Ernesto Mabessa, the representative of the parents of Malehice, Marta Sira, and the testimony of the “Educadora em Movimento” (Educator in Motion) of Chiconelane, Ermelimda Macuácua. Finally, Professor Félix Mulhanga shared his considerations on the external evaluation of the project, and made some recommendations.

“As Crianças e a Arte” (Children and Art) was the theme of another panel, during which it was possible to watch a theatrical performance by the children of the Escolinha Comunitária do Bairro 25 de Junho, always supported by their “Educators in Motion”. Together, they performed “The Craftsman and the Juggling Monkeys” – a story written by the writer Venâncio Calisto, and one of the books in the collection “Livros para Começar” (Books to Start), created by AIDGLOBAL under the project “Educadores em Movimento” (Educators in Motion). The author had the opportunity to contextualise the work, now presented, which resulted from a workshop on “Dramatic Expression”, which he had been running for a fortnight with the children and “Educators in Motion” from all the Schools. This panel closed with the children sharing some of the activities carried out in their Escolinha, illustrating the pedagogical approach, carried out under the scope of the project.

In the last panel, “Línguas, Livros e Brincadeiras – a garantia de uma Educação de Qualidade” (Languages, Books and Play – the guarantee of Quality Education), the work began with the presentation by the President of the Bibliographic Fund of the Portuguese Language, Nataniel Ngomane, who reflected on “Diálogos entre línguas — abordagens bilíngues na promoção do livro e da leitura junto de crianças de comunidades rurais” (Dialogues between languages – bilingual approaches in promoting books and reading to children in rural communities), and said that his connection to books began long before he could read. She was born through the stories her mother told, even without books at home, and her mother was her library, her reference. This panel also included the intervention of the Coordinator of the Rede de Educação para a Primeira Infância (RDPI) (Early Childhood Education Network), Gertrudes Noronha, who began her participation with a little game, animating those present and setting the tone for her intervention: “Crianças felizes, adultos capazes — a importância da brincadeira para o desenvolvimento integral da criança” (Happy children, capable adults – the importance of play for the integral development of the child).

The closing session was led by the Counsellor for Cooperation and Director of the Portuguese Cooperation Centre, Patrícia del Olmo e Pincarilho, who highlighted the extraordinary work done over 4 years, within the scope of the “Educadores em Movimento” (Educators in Motion) project, highlighting that it achieved a significant involvement of the communities and government authorities. The Chibuto District Administrator, Sérgio Sional Moiane intervened to thank this joint work and reaffirmed the commitment of the District government with the continuity of the work carried out in these Schools. The Provincial Director of Gender, Children and Social Action, Rosana Lídia Abel Muataco, closed the works, having reinforced the importance of betting on Quality Education and that the work that AIDGLOBAL has been implementing in the District of Chibuto has to continue, counting on the support of the District services, financiers and that, on the part of the Provincial Director, there will always be openness so that access to Early Childhood Education and the establishment of children’s rights are always guaranteed and ensured.

The conference was translated into changana by Wiliamo Muchanga, translator of the bilingual books created within the project.

Integrated in this conference, a photo exhibition was presented, which highlighted the infrastructures created and the main activities implemented in the Community Schools of the Chibuto District, during the 2022 school year, the first of its operation.

At the end of the conference, a convivial lunch was served to celebrate the hard but successful work done over four years on behalf of early childhood education in the District of Chibuto, which was only possible due to the involvement of many actors.

“Educadores em Movimento – Uma Educação Itinerante para a Primeira Infância” (EeM) (Educators in Motion – An Itinerant Education for Early Childhood) has the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation as main sponsor, Camões – Institute for Cooperation and Language I.P. as co-financier, as promoter AIDGLOBAL, Project Manager; as co-promoter the Chibuto Vocational and Residential Center (CVRC) and as partners the Instituto Politécnico de Leiria (Polytechnic Institute of Leiria) (IPL), its scientific-pedagogical coordinator, the Center for International Studies of the University Institute of Lisbon (CEI-Iscte) – coordinator of the anthropological component by District Service for Youth, Education and Technology of Chibuto (SDJET) and District Service for Health, Women and Social Action (SDSMAS) – entities that guarantee the articulation of the project with public policies.