16 June 2019


Education partners with NGOs to promote gender equity 

by: Bayanda Zenzile   date: 20 july 2018

The saying that education is a societal matter has been proven true this Mandela Month, with a partnership the North West Department of Education and Sport Development has entered into with two non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The partnership with these NGOs - MIET Africa and Children in Harmony, an American-based NGO - is meant to pilot a project combining the teaching of music and development of emotional intelligence to help build a lifetime of gender equity and empathy in school learners, both boys and girls. 

The project termed Amani (a Swahili word for harmony) will see up to 40 learners - eight learners from five various schools around Rustenburg sub-district - 20 teachers and parents being part of the initiative. 

The first part of Amani Project was held at Bonkwakgogo Primary School in Chaneng village outside Rustenburg for five days two weeks ago.

The goal of the programme is for learners to become active in promoting equity at their schools and in their communities through the establishment of Amani clubs.  

Education and Sport Development MEC, Sello Lehari, said the provincial department was thrilled by this partnership that’s intending to promote life skills through music and self-discipline. 

“Emotional intelligence developed at an early age is a greatest tool for self-governance and for acquiring great leadership skills. We trust these skills will mould our learners as they grow up and carry it for generations to come,” said Lehari.

MIET Africa is the implementing partner for the project.

“The Amani Project uses music to help learners to understand and manage their emotions, feel and show empathy for others and establish and maintain positive relationships. Building emotional understanding is the foundation for greater gender awareness,” said MIET Africa CEO, Beverley Dyason. 

“The project leaders believe that making music with young people can lead to more equitable relationships because when children are given a chance to make music, they can express themselves while creating emotional common ground with others,” she said.

"We have found the perfect partner in MIET Africa," said Erik Gregory, Executive Director of the Los Angeles based NGO, Children in Harmony.

"Their existing programmes for learners across the region have had incredible and long-lasting results. Our joint programme, the Amani Project, will be yet another success story and will allow students and adults to learn vital life skills that will help them flourish in their communities," said Gregory.

The Amani Project first brings teachers, student mentors and learners together for five days of music theory, music practice and emotional intelligence training. Children learn how to understand and regulate their emotions with the methodology from the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence. 

As they learn these skills, they also learn the basics of music making, such as beat, rhythm, tone, dynamics and pitch. When they combine all of their new understanding through project-based learning, true transformation can take place.      

Children will learn to make their own DIY [Do It Yourself] instruments from different objects as they compose music and lyrics for a song about building and practicing empathy for people who are different from them. In doing so, they become ‘Artivists’ - activist artists who put into motion all the new equity skills they've learned, specifically around issues of gender.  

Programme Director for Children in Harmony, Andrew Lewis, said: "We're thrilled to be partnering with MIET Africa for this initial phase of the Amani Project, and we're even more excited to take it to the next level. 

“Next, these new student leaders will go home and open their own Amani Project clubs, inviting scores more of their friends to learn about emotional intelligence and making music. We're starting in the Bojanala Platinum District this year and will be expanding across South Africa in years to come," said Lewis.