Selecting students for the Standard Sponsorship Project is a long process that occurs each year. Within the first few weeks of the school year, students are permitted to attend school for a period of time without paying school fees. This is a symptom of the school being located in a rural, mainly subsistence farming area. During this window of time, Story Time members assist with a 7-step selection process. It may sound like a lot, but in our community, drawing from multiple sources allows our program to find the students who are truly in the most need.
Watch the video below to hear Zikani talk about the process.
Step 1: Ask teachers and Headteacher for names.
Some organizations will only ask the Headteacher for names, and while the Headteacher has a bird’s eye perspective of student life, a bird’s eye perspective may allow students to slip through the cracks. This is why Story Time strives to collect information from multiple sources in order to obtain the most accurate picture of which students need the most help.
Step 2: Ask students from each class.
Then we ask the students from each class to give only two names. Who do you think really needs more help? They write on a paper, which we collect.
Step 3: Make note of frequent names.
We make notes of the names which appear more than once.
Step 4: Meet with Community Groups.
Story Time members then have meetings with community groups: including the school management committees and the village chiefs. We ask them who they know in their community that is struggling to send a child to secondary school. Maybe they have parents who are sick or absent or unemployed.
Step 5: Compile a list of students to visit.
At this point, we will have compiled a list of students to visit and the reasons which may have been provided with their name. Names which appear quite frequently, typically between 25 and 30 names, are compiled.
Step 6: Visit those student’s families and homes.
Looking at the home and the environment will tell us a lot. We find out the family members who live there and their conditions.
Step 7: Converse with the student and their family.
We discuss what their plan is for their student’s education, how the family makes an income.
Step 8: Complete the sponsorship list.
The final step is to take all the information into account, be sure to balance the boys and girls who are being added to the Standard Sponsorship Project, and notify the students.
After the steps, the work continues.
Even after selection occurs, there remains a few steps and challenges up until paying for the student’s school fees. In addition to this, Story Time has an annual meeting with all sponsored students, where a speech is given and each student signs a contract, promising to try their best to attend school. The contract sets in place a way for students to reach out if they encounter problems and struggle in school or in a number of social issues.
Many things can happen which make it difficult for students to continue attending school. Students attending high school are often affected by adults in their life passing away, falling ill, or being unable to bring home an income, in addition to countless other social pressures. Because of the social issues at play around Nsondole CDSS, Zikani always notes that the Project strives to be responsive to all involved.