For ten weeks this winter, the Mikhulu Trust was the happy host to two fantastic interns, Anna Alstad and Tone Solberg. They worked closely with the training team to help us determine how to improve our training materials, including our training slides, handouts and flip charts.
Hailing from Norway, Anna and Tone, found the transport in Cape Town somewhat challenging but flung themselves into their new environment wholeheartedly, bringing enthusiasm and energy to their task. They visited numerous book-sharing training sessions across the peninsula, observing and interviewing facilitators and caregivers to find out what works and what doesn’t.
And their findings?
Well it’s no surprise that facilitators and caregivers all reported that the videos of book-sharing were especially valuable. We’ve noticed many times that seeing quality book-sharing plays an important role in helping parents understand and follow book-sharing techniques. Respondents did note however that they preferred videos showing local parents, with local accents and speech. These are easier for them to follow and relate to. This is summed up fairly succinctly by one respondent who said simply, “I wish the videos could represent us more.”
The take-home cards and other printed materials were also generally well received. Parents like being able to refer back to these materials once they have returned home, and also to share them with family members and friends who were not able to attend the training. The challenge remains how to affordably produce these in a more durable format.
Meanwhile the slides and other training materials received mixed reviews. The content is generally considered good, but language and accessibility remain issues. We’ve recently introduced flip-charts to use in settings where there is no suitable technology to show a slideshow. While these are useful, the physical format of the files needs to be changed so that they are more easy to transport and use.
We have taken the interns findings to heart and are proactively addressing the issues raised in their report. We have undertaken a significant effort to create new videos that better reflect local communities. We have also rebranded to introduce a fresher, more dynamic feel to our materials and programmes, better reflecting the ECD nature of our work. And we are exploring ways to produce flip-charts and take home materials that are more durable and easier to work with.
We’re enormously grateful to Anna and Tone for their hard work and valuable insights. It was an absolute pleasure having you with us!