Dr Francis Kyambo, Dr January Basela and Dr Alphoncina Pembe (University of Dodoma) explore the engagement of Community Volunteers (CV) in enhancing Inclusive Education (IE) in Chamwino District and Dodoma city in Dodoma Region, Tanzania. Specifically, the study explored the roles and responsibilities of the CVs in enhancing inclusive education of CWDs in mainstream schools, investigate the challenges they faced, document the lesson learned by CVs from working as CVs, investigate the effectiveness of training provided to CVs on Inclusive Education (IE), and explore the understanding of CVs on the challenges facing CWDs in the community, and CVs perceived sustainability plan of their voluntary activities of assisting CWDs. This is a qualitative study that involved semi-structured interviews conducted through two Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) sessions. The first session involved six CVs and it was conducted on 18th July 2019. The second FGD session was held on 31st July 2019 involving eleven CVs. The data were collected data from seventeen CVs who were purposively selected among the CVs who were working to support CWDs in the 20 project schools that enrolled CWDs in inclusive classrooms. The findings revealed that CVs had a positive attitude towards enhancing IE for CWDs. They expressed a positive attitude and commitment to facilitating access to IE by CWDs in the project area. They also catalyzed changing attitudes among parents, teachers, community leaders and the public at large towards education for CWDs. In this regard, they worked as focal points in identifying CWDs in the community. They were optimistic to continue with their role even after the project cames to an end. The success and sustainability of IE for CWDs depended highly on the commitment of the CVs if well supported and guided. Thus, other community-based initiatives such as health or economic sensitization were needed to emulate this model of working through CVs. It is recommended that CVs be given extended support to enable them to sustain their motive of working with and for CWDs. This may entail revising their remuneration to meet some basic needs at the family level and facilitating them with means of transport to visit CWDs in distant and scattered homes and schools. Also giving social and economic support to poverty struck families raising CWDs especially, those headed by females, elderly people and those having children with multiple disabilities. There is a need to strengthen social and economic groups formed for them to be vibrant and resourceful to help CVs continue to monitor IE even when project funding comes to an end.
Presentation held at the YDAR Festival 2023, Day 3
Dr. January Marco Basela is a Lecturer at the University of Dodoma (UDOM), College of Education, Department of Educational Psychology and Curriculum Studies. He has worked with Non-governmental Organizations, such as the Foundations for Civil Society (FCS) as Programme Officer – Grants (2003-2007) as well as Care International (Tanzania) – Civil Society Programme as project Administrative and Support Officer (March 2001 – December 2002). Working with NGOs exposed him on practical administrative and project management skills in thematic areas of governance, policy, social safety nets, lobbying and advocacy. Dr. Basela teaches and supervises postgraduate and undergraduate students in the areas of Educational Psychology, Educational and Career counseling; Social Psychology, Environmental Psychology and Developmental psychology.
Dr. Alphoncina Pembe is an academic and researcher. She is currently working as a lecturer in the Department of Educational Psychology and Curriculum Studies at the University of Dodoma. She holds a Bachelor of Education in Education Psychology (Hons), a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Dar es Salaam and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Dodoma. She specializes in Inclusive Education and Disabilities.