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News & Press: Guest blog

Guest Blogpost: Top 10 Moments of GSF 2019

17 June 2019  
Felicia Dahlquist, Director of Academics and Evaluation – Impact Network

As a first time attendee of the GSF Annual Meeting I was thrilled to take part in a conference that brings so many people together from around the world. The innovation, creativity, passion and determination for improving education was striking among all participants.

Here are my top 10 moments from the GSF Annual Meeting in Nairobi 2019:

1. Most Thought-Provoking

The session facilitated by Amanda Devercelli from The World Bank on Early Childhood Development, was concise but very poignant. The evidence around the importance of ECD that was presented was incredibly compelling and has certainly urged me to think more about what Impact Network is doing to engage younger children. With our first ECD class opening a few weeks ago, I left the session feeling very determined to take our efforts to the next level.

2. Most Inspiring

I was greatly inspired by the Metis Fellows from Nairobi, who joined the group for dinner on Thursday evening. The innovation, collaboration and learning that is taking place within the education space in Kenya and with the help of Metis is very exciting. I look forward to following their journey!

3. Best Practical Idea

After many conversations with various people around assessments, monitoring and evaluation, I was compelled to try using the ASER assessment developed by Pratham House, which was recommended by numerous people at the conference. I am happy to report that after the first week of assessments using a modified version of the tool for our context, we have seen great success!

4. Biggest Head-Scratching Moment

No doubt the biggest head-scratching moment for me came during the Challenge Carousel where I presented a challenge around community agency and involvement. My peers raised many valid questions and urged us to go back to the original question and ask ourselves ‘for what purpose?’. By doing so we have been able to look at our challenge in a different light and come up with better ideas as a result.

5. Most Impressive

I was profoundly impressed by The Citizens Foundation from Pakistan. Their humility around what they have been able to achieve at such scale and with such a thoughtful approach, along with their curiosity and openness to share lessons learnt, deeply impressed me.

6. Most Touching Moment

There were several moments during the Failing Forwards session that really touched me. The willingness of the presenters to share their experiences was brave and allowed us all to reflect about our failures. I felt that the session really brought everyone at the conference together, as we laughed and cried throughout the stories. Reflecting on failures makes us all better education practitioners.

7. Best Reminder

During my school visit to Makini Schools, Scholé, I was reminded that although urban Kenyan education looks very different to the rural Zambian context where Impact Network works, there is still a lot in common. We can definitely be better at learning from what others are doing even if the context is so different!

8. Favourite Discussion

I was glad to see questions around equity and inclusion brought into the spotlight on the last day of the conference in a panel discussion. As school providers and stakeholders, these are key questions that we all need to continuously consider and reconsider throughout everything we do.

9. Biggest Outstanding Question:

The question that I was left with after the conference was ‘How do I take this sense of global community and all the lessons learnt back to my colleagues in Zambia? ’ It feels important to continue the conversations and include all of our staff in the global education movement that we are all part of.

10. Most Rewarding

For me the most rewarding aspect of taking part in the GSF annual meeting was meeting all the incredible people who are working in education around the world. I was able to meet old friends and colleagues as well as connect with and learn from new people. The casual conversations around meals or during breaks were really what meant the most to me. It was a real privilege to learn from peers in the sector around the world!

A big Thank You to GSF for bringing all these wonderful organisations and people together!

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