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Preparing for Chad…leaving next week!

The Little Ripples team is gearing up for our next trip out to Eastern Chad in less than a week!!  This time we are going to have a huge team including Gabe, Jocelyn Tucker and Melissa Holcombe (Expert Teacher Advisors) James Thacher (i-ACT Media Specialist), Nathan Jones (Senior Project Director at the University of Wisconsin Survey Center), and myself.  With Little Ripples construction finishing up around that time (you can see videos of the progress here), the focus of this trip will be to establish and train the first cohort of Little Ripples teachers and conduct a baseline assessment.

Jocelyn and Melissa will be training the first cohort of Little Ripples teachers, refugee women who have completed at least a primary school education and who themselves probably experienced the violence in Darfur.  The training will consist of participatory, engaging approaches to ensure that the curriculum is contextualized with the Darfuri culture.  The teachers themselves will be empowered in collaborating on the stories, songs, resources, and activities that are presented in the classrooms.  With the teacher training following the core values of peace, sharing, helping, and learning, the teachers will in turn model these attributes in their own classrooms and pass them along to the students.

Nathan will be training and leading a team of refugees in conducting a comprehensive baseline assessment of all Little Ripples students.  The questionnaires will collect information from the mother as well as the child and includes data on the child’s social, cognitive, and physical development.  James and others will be collecting in-depth stories of some of the Little Ripples children and families.  With a strong evaluation component to the Little Ripples program, i-ACT will be able to document the positive effects of the program not only on the students but also their families and the community.

It hasn’t really hit me that we are going to be back at Camp Goz Amer in a little over a week…there is still so much to do before then!  I’m so excited to visit the first Little Ripples site and meet the first Little Ripples teachers.  Be ready for plenty of pictures, videos, and blogs from the entire Little Ripples team 🙂


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Jennifer became passionate about international development and humanitarian work when studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, and leading youth performing arts workshops in one of the surrounding townships. After graduating from UCLA with a Masters in Public Health in Community Health Sciences, she taught adolescent reproductive health to high school students in South and East Los Angeles. She has also worked as a Research Associate at the UCLA Center for Health Services and Society, where she was able to foster an understanding of the community engagement and community resilience approaches, and hopes to incorporate these strategies in her work with Little Ripples. jennifer@iactivism.org


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