Strength in Numbers: Quest Forward Coordinator Institutes Foster Collaboration in Tanzania

How do you launch Quest Forward Learning in 26 schools across mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar? First you make a plan, and then dedicated representatives from each school collaborate to make that plan a reality.

The OE Tanzania Team currently supports seven Quest Forward Schools in Tanzania. Highly capable Quest Forward Coordinators lead the way, hoping to expand to seven schools in Zanzibar, two schools in Dar es Salaam, and about 17 schools in the Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions by the start of the 2019 school year. In August, each headmaster from the 2019 Quest Forward schools selected one staff member to serve as their school’s Quest Forward Coordinator. The Coordinator ensures the logistical success of a Quest Forward program and communicates the program’s status to all stakeholders. Throughout the next three months, Coordinators will work closely with OE Tanzania’s Implementation Manager Eligrania Lema to set up infrastructure, coordinate mentor training, and complete all aspects of program preparation. The inauguration of the Quest Forward Coordinator Institutes was the first step in the process.

The purpose of creating the Institutes was to introduce all Coordinators to the 2019 Launch Process, using the Quest Forward Learning Tanzania Launch Book. The Tanzania Launch Book breaks down the implementation planning and preparation process into six phases and walks Coordinators through every step of each phase. For example, Coordinators must first ensure their schools’ secure stable internet and compatible devices, then they plan the foundational logistics of the program with their school’s Quest Forward team. From September 10-14, Eligrania led three Quest Forward Coordinator Institutes: one in Zanzibar, one in Dar es Salaam, and one in the Kilimanjaro region—each lasting a full day.

During each Institute, Coordinators reviewed the steps and timelines in the Launch Book. They created mind maps, showing how their roles within their schools will change as they take on new responsibilities. They also planned how to introduce the Quest Forward platform and launch process to their fellow mentors and any stakeholders within their schools. Most importantly, Eligrania chose to hold Institutes for each region, rather than arrange individual meetings with each Coordinator, to show Coordinators that they are part of a larger community of changemakers. This community becomes a powerful tool going forward, because its members can share milestones reached and challenges overcome while simultaneously managing their schools’ infrastructure and Quest Forward teams.

“By working together, the Coordinators realized they would face similar challenges, although they work in different schools,” Eligrania says. “The Institutes allowed Coordinators to voice their concerns, realize others had the same ones, and give different perspectives of how to handle them.”

Coordinators will return to their schools and complete the first three phases of the Launch Book throughout October and November as the 2018 school year winds down. In December, all 2019 Quest Forward Mentors will participate in three-day Mentor Training Institutes within their respective regions. These workshops will orient over 100 mentors in the Quest Forward platform and, like the Coordinator Institutes, they will offer mentors the opportunity to learn collaboratively with others in a larger, supportive community.