Can film be a tool for change in Eritrea? FCA tests new training for education leaders in Eritrea

Teachers are at the heart of quality education and investment in teachers yields powerful results for learners. Since 2015, Finn Church Aid's (FCA) education specialists have been working alongside Eritrean education leaders to transform teacher training institutions, so that teachers are better equipped with the knowledge and skills to deliver high-quality education.

  • Paulos, Tadesse, Tesfa-Mariam and Werede brainstorming on their first creative project. Photo: Paulina Tervo.

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  • Participants learned about how to communicate research findings through visual storytelling. Photo: Meira Valtonen.

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  • An illustrated sign for the Asmara Teacher Education Institute. Photo: Paulina Tervo.

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  • Katri, one of the trainers, showing Zaki how to use the camera. Photo: Paulina Tervo.

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  • Participants practicing framing and image composition. Photo: Paulina Tervo.

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  • Paulos and Lewi learning how to edit with trainer Paulina’s help. Photo: Meira Valtonen.

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  • Point, shoot, action! Participants practicing interview techniques. Photo: Paulina Tervo.

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  • Natnael practicing filming at ACCE. Photo: Paulina Tervo.

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  • Lewi, Werede and Fanuel getting to grips with how to use the camera. Photo: Paulina Tervo.

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  • Participants, trainers and invited teacher educators watch the films made by participants. Photo: Meira Valtonen.

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Between March–April 2016, faculty members from Eritrea’s two teacher training institutions, Asmara Community College for Education and Eritrean Institute of Technology, College of Education participated in a 1-month course on action research.

Action research is a methodology designed to influence change — in this case, change within the education system, whether it is within the classroom, school, higher education institution, or education policy.

Photo: Meira Valtonen

Participants learned about how to communicate research findings through visual storytelling.

Course participants were trained in audio-visual research tools, including photography, film, and audio recordings. This methodology enables researchers to gather deep insight about complex issues facing the Eritrean education system, such as poor motivation among teacher, high drop-out rates in rural areas, and gender inequality.

5_Katri and Zaki looking at the camera_1024 Photo: Paulina Tervo.

Katri, one of the trainers, showing Zaki how to use the camera.

“Education really matters to all of us. Education is about our kids, the family, humanity, about our nation, and we can use these skills to make a difference in others’ lives. We can really influence the attitudes and career ambitions of young people by telling good stories, and using this technology positively.” Zacharias, participant.

6_Tadesse behind the lens_1024 Photo: Paulina Tervo

Participants practicing framing and image composition.

“I never thought of research as anything else but written form. When I heard about this training, I was very curious. By using audiovisual tools I can send a powerful message to the audience and touch their emotions the way that text cannot.” Paulos, participant.

4_2nd workshop_4_1024 Photo: Paulina Tervo.

Paulos and Lewi learning how to edit with Paulina’s help.

The course combined in-class theory with in-field practice, where course participants gathered data from their classrooms, schools, teacher training institutions and communities.

7_filming in the art room_1024 Photo: Paulina Tervo.

Point, shoot, action! Participants practicing interview techniques.

After the first training, participants had three weeks to gather data. In the second training, they reviewed and analyzed the data they had gathered, worked on building a story structure and edited their footage into short stories. They then worked together to design a plan for sharing their films to communities, educators, and key decision makers.

10_2nd workshop_8_1024 Photo: Meira Valtonen.

On the last day, participants, trainers and other guests gathered to watch the films made in the training.

In the following months, the films will be finalized and participants will arrange film screenings as a way to generate discussions about how to collectively improve the quality of education in Eritrea.

Photos by: Paulina Tervo and Meira Valtonen

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