MOPE541 Poster Exhibition
Strengthening the social workforce: building the capacity of community-based caregivers to provide psychosocial through a situated supported distance learning programme
Presented by Lisa Langhaug (Zimbabwe).
L. Langhaug1, M. Kluckow2, S. McMaster3, L. Mudekunye4
1REPSSI, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Research, Harare, Zimbabwe, 2REPSSI, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 3The African Centre for Childhood, Durban, South Africa, 4REPSSI, Deputy Executive Director, Johannesburg, South Africa
and AIDS pose grave threats to young people's psychosocial development. In
Eastern and Southern Africa, community-based caregivers who provide
psychosocial care and support to this population have extremely limited access
to formal and up-to-date learning opportunities. In response, REPPSI developed
an accredited Situated and Supported Distance Learning Certificate in
learning principles informed curriculum design.
553 students from eight countries (Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland,
Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) participated in the year-long course. Students studied from hard copies of six
modules and attended four 5-hour group sessions per module facilitated by a
skilled mentor to discuss their learning.
With logistic support from the African Centre for Childhood, students
completed hand-written assignments assessed by academic supervisors at the
University of KwaZulu Natal. Phone interviews with alumni captured impact data
18 months following course completion.
regionally, average completion rates for distance learning courses run below
30%, we achieved an unprecedented 89% completion rate. Key elements to programme success included
relevancy of course material to real life situations, regular student support, and
constructive feedback on written assignments. Of the 309 (63%) alumni
interviewed, 70% (n=216) remain working in their same communities with 47%
working for an NGO, 20% each work for an FBO/CBO or government department. 23% of the 183 alumni who began as volunteers
are now paid; 74% of them attribute this change to course participation.
innovative learning and teaching model yielded very high rates of student
completion, skills, and knowledge retention demonstrating that relevant, formal
learning experiences that build critical capacity of community-based caregivers
is achievable. Success was attributed appropriate
learning materials supported by trained mentors in regular, well-organized
group sessions with continuous valuable assessment. Currently, almost 1000 students from 10
countries are about to graduate, trebling total reach across the continent.
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