At Bulungula Incubator, we measure our projects’ success by their positive impact on our beneficiaries over the long term. Since starting our organisation in 2007, we have had projects that flourish and others that simply don’t. 

But, we don’t get bogged down by the projects that don’t work out. Instead, we use a data-driven approach to carefully monitor and evaluate each project so that we can adapt as needed.

One of our projects, iiTablet Tshomiz, has been running since 2016 as an e-learning government school support project for mathematics and literacy. While the maths programme has positively impacted our learners, we’ve had consistent issues with the literacy and language programme and didn’t see the results we wanted. With the growing concern about low literacy levels, we decided to change our approach entirely.

This year, we’re partnering with READ Educational Trust to implement their methodology for increasing literacy. We attended a “training the trainers” workshop in January to learn how to support teachers in the classroom. Unlike our previous approach, we have shifted our focus from learners to teachers through a coaching and mentorship programme.

We provide supplementary training for teachers on different methodologies such as read-aloud (listening and speaking), shared reading (reading and viewing), group guided reading, paired reading, and independent reading. Our trainers then perform classroom demo lessons so that teachers have the confidence to implement these methodologies. We’ll also provide ongoing training and in-classroom support to ensure that the approach improves literacy outcomes.

What’s significant about this change is that we recognise it’s okay to “fail forward.” We see ‘failure’ as an essential part of the learning process to develop more effective projects. We’re excited about this new chapter and approach it with the same growth mindset.

Teacher training at No-Ofisi Primary School, May 2023.