“We teach here”: Behind the scenes in Kakuma, Kenya

16 June 2022

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©IIEP-UNESCO/Makmende Media
A behind the scenes view of the filming of We Teach Here in Kenya.

Around the world, some 35.5 million children are refugees and 23.3 million children are displaced internally. These children have left behind homes and friends – but they cannot afford to leave behind their education. To keep learning, they need trained and well supported teachers. An upcoming film in the series We Teach Here captures the experiences – the challenges and the solutions – faced by three of these teachers.

The upcoming film features three teachers from Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp, where 500 national and refugee teachers work together to provide schooling to some 82000 learners. One of the teachers, 23-year-old Achol Awuol, who is originally from South Sudan, is new to the profession.

“I was nervous at first,” she says, even though she always wanted to be a teacher. Even experienced teachers – like Bhan Pal Simon and Stanley Kibet – express apprehension at times, especially in a classroom packed with almost 100 students. How do they gain confidence? How do they grow professionally, and feel empowered in the classroom?

Following the teachers from sunrise to sunset, the IIEP-UNESCO and Education Development Trust film provides an inside look at what it takes for these teachers to thrive in the classroom. The film focuses on the importance of mentorship, collaboration, and training. Particular attention is also given to how national teachers and refugee teachers interact and learn from each another. 

At various parts in the film, the teachers can be seen with their arms stretched, filming themselves, the school grounds, and their students. By using User Generated Content, the teachers have a unique opportunity tell their own story, to share what motivates them, and keeps them going, day after day.

Filmed with Makmende Media, and with support from Dubai Cares, We Teach Here aligns with the principles of Dignified Storytelling, an initiative that calls for more honest and nuanced content that prioritizes human value and dignity.

“Affirming that each of us has the power to contribute to positive change, we pledge to tell stories characterised by deep respect, full transparency, and social responsibility.”

https://dignifiedstorytelling.com/pledge/

The upcoming film is part of a wider research project on best practices to support effective teacher management in refugee contexts in East Africa. While there are many efforts underway to support the integration of refugee children into host country education systems, the research addresses a major knowledge gap on their teachers.

The series We Teach Here shows the human face of this research and amplifies the voices of those at the centre of it: the teachers. The first film was based in Gambella, Ethiopia, where three teachers shared aspects of their personal life, while demonstrating why their profession is so important in the lives of young refugees. After Kenya, a third film will highlight the voice of three teachers in Uganda after a two-year COVID-19 lockdown to illustrate their resourcefulness during challenging times.

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