FCA is supporting teachers in Somalia’s most remote locations

At FCA we’re employing innovative solutions to provide educators in African countries with the support and career mentoring they need to flourish. Our mobile mentoring scheme in Somalia is supporting teachers in the most remote locations.

THE LACK of qualified teachers is a global crisis. But, according to UNESCO, it is most acute in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 70 per cent of countries face teacher shortages. At the secondary school level that rises to 90 per cent.

The education crisis in Africa needs innovative and flexible solutions if we’re to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal of providing inclusive and quality education to all by 2030.

Mobile mentoring

In Somalia, thanks to mobile internet coverage reaching the Baidoa region, we’ve been able to pioneer a new mobile mentoring scheme for teachers. Based on similar successful FCA schemes in Kenya and Uganda, the project invited five highly qualified education specialists from the Ministry of Education to become mentors to teachers in remote regions.

The mentors had previously received FCA training on professional development and educational best practices especially in emergency situations, such as camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Teachers met with their mentors face to face every month for more detailed discussion. Photo: Mohamed Aden

They linked up with 40 teachers in Baidoa working at our schools funded by EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). Using FCA-provided smartphones and data contracts, the mobile mentoring started with online workshops. Subsequently, that evolved into regular chats to share personal experiences and offer teaching tips and resources.

Face-to-face remains important

Once a month, they all met in person to solidify joint problem-solving on issues faced by teachers in their school or community, such as how to support children with special needs. Thanks to the hybrid nature of the mentoring scheme, mentors and mentees were always in touch, but also had vital face to face contact to deepen the working relationship.

The outcomes have been extremely positive with all participants recommending the model to their peers. In particular, they praised the easy and flexible way in which they can offer and find support.

In the face of the worsening drought crisis and ongoing insecurity in the country, it’s crucial for educators to be able to find ways to reach out to their pupils and each other. FCA is planning to expand the scheme to other regions in Somalia.

Key Facts

  • 40 teachers participated in the mentoring programme in Baidoa
  • These teachers taught 2,195 students in Baidoa schools
  • Of these students, 1,153 were male, 1,042 were female

Text: Mohamed Aden
Main photo: Ismail Taxta