We were extremely lucky to have Allison Steitz, an Albright fellow, join our team for 10 weeks this year. Allison was instrumental in supporting Sarah set up our very successful LiteraSEA partnership project. We miss her tremendously and wish her all the best for her future studies. Taryn Casey, CEO Edupeg.
Edupeg Blog – Allison Steitz
Interning at Edupeg from May – August 2015 was a phenomenal learning experience. The skills I acquired and the lessons I learned from working on various projects were invaluable. Most invaluable of all were the relationships I formed with the members of the Edupeg team. Their mentorship has greatly influenced my personal and professional interests in NGO project management. I would strongly recommend future Albright fellows, and any other students for that matter, to consider interning at Edupeg.
Edupeg aims to support teachers through in-classroom mentorship in primary schools and to be a sought-after organization for teacher support. It employs mentors with certified teaching credentials to provide constructive feedback on teachers’ lesson plans, assessment techniques, and methods of organizing educational resources and supervising the learners in their classroom. Mentors aim to instill confidence within teachers’ teaching abilities and to ensure their effective delivery of the National Education Department Curriculum. I witnessed some of Edupeg’s mentors in action at two primary schools in Port Elizabeth, and was inspired by the relationships between mentors and teachers and the benefits such relationships yield to the learners. It was really special to be a part of an organization that actualizes its vision and mission in every project it does.
The main project I worked on was the LiteraSEA project. LiteraSEA was formed through a tri-lateral partnership between three organizations: The Shine Trust, Edupeg, and Action Volunteer Africa (AVA). The project is implemented by AVA volunteers (youth aged 18 - 25 from Gugulethu and surrounding communities) who use Shine’s methodology of paired and shared reading, with Grade 2 learners, in three primary schools in Gugulethu. The aim of the project is two fold: it seeks to improve the literacy performance of 272 Grade 2 learners in three primary schools in Gugulethu and to reduce youth unemployment in the community. I learned a great deal about NGO project management and the types of challenges teachers and learners face in primary schools as a result from working on this project. Most notably, I learned the importance of open and honest communication between a development organization and the community it aims to support. We spent multiple days meeting with the principals and Grade 2 teachers at each of the three Gugulethu schools to ensure we were meeting a need in the community and to gain buy-in to the LiteraSEA project.
It was tremendously rewarding to be a part of the project. Seeing the smiles and laughter erupt among the Grade 2 learners upon meeting the volunteers was beyond heart warming. It was clear from the first day that the volunteers and learners would form deeply sincere and supportive bonds. I believe the potential for LiteraSEA to truly make a difference in the lives of the learners and volunteers alike lies in the immeasurable bonds they will form while working together.
I genuinely enjoyed every day of my internship at Edupeg. The projects I worked on were inspiring and rewarding and I had more responsibility and independence over my work than ever before. The mentorship, guidance, and support I received from each member of the team, however, was unquestionably the most valuable aspect of my internship. I always felt supported; I always had a person to turn to if I needed advice or guidance on work related or personal issues. It was a great privilege to be surrounded by such accomplished, dedicated and driven women who had valuable insight on pursuing career interests, applying for jobs, navigating different office cultures, and maintaining a work-life balance. I learned so much over the 12 weeks I was at Edupeg, and I am forever grateful to Taryn, Sarah, Tia and Dorinda for all the support and guidance they gave me during my internship.