For one, I try to encourage schools to teach their kids life skills, those essential things such as self-esteem, assertiveness, and problem solving. I helped two schools to create life skills clubs. About 60 kids at each school meet once a week after classes to play games, do art projects, and talk with each other in a way intended to develop their life skills. I have found that it is difficult for the teachers to do these kinds of activities with the children. Ugandan teachers feel most comfortable teaching facts, lecturing, and testing children to gauge their "knowledge." But there are no right answers when you are talking about peer pressure, and the children only benefit if they are active participants, rather than passive listeners. So, it is a major change in style for the teachers. And it is extra work for them, which means there are some motivation problems. The club is no longer functioning at one of the schools. The teacher I was working with at that school failed to lead the club or even attend, meaning I was leading it every week without him. I had to make a decision: Do I keep leading the club, because the kids like it and might benefit? Or do I stop the club, because by continuing to lead it I am sending a message to Ugandan teachers that others will do their work for them? I stopped leading the club, which I think is a good choice in the long run, though maybe not so good in the short.
Here are kids in the life skills club playing a team-building game with their teacher.
Here the children are drawing rainbows that tell about the things they like to do, their families, and their values.