Taking Tagtiv8 to Africa

“Do you want to take Tagtiv8 to Africa?” This was the question asked by a friend. Our response was a resounding “YES! But, how do we do this?” Cue conversations and ways to put the ideas into action. Rather than us telling you what happened, here are the words of the people who walked the walk…

Background – Memusi Foundation

At the end of May 2019, my wife Jane and I were privileged to lead a team of volunteers to the Memusi A School in Magadi, Kenya. 

The school is one of 2 in Kenya established and supported by the Memusi Foundation. The charity works directly with communities & schools in Kenya to provide access to quality education and was founded by Matthew and Sally Norton, who live in Holmfirth. 

After witnessing the problems in accessing education for children experiencing poverty in Kenya, Matthew and Sally started to send pencils via contacts that they had made. From that small act, and with the help of some key community leaders in Kenya, funds were raised to establish the first Memusi school in Magadi. Over 600 children now attend the 2 schools that the charity supports and the Foundation also provides healthcare and adult education to the local community as well as resources to other local schools. 

Memusi encourage international volunteers to visit the schools and through their input, the students get to learn of cultures and approaches that otherwise wouldn’t be available to them. After visiting the schools, the volunteers are generally captured by the mission of Memusi and undertake fund-raising and other activities that sustain the Kenyan projects. 

Jane and I first visited the school in Magadi in October 2017 and our hearts were captured by the place, mission, students and teachers. On our return to the UK, we talked with friends and contacts about our experience and soon realised that others would like to get involved. The 8 team members on our latest trip were friends, work colleagues and business contacts. 

Linking & Playing with Tagtiv8

Whilst it is important that each volunteer feels free to use their experience and skills to work with the students, it is always good to have some activities planned that all could be involved with. From previous conversations with Bryn Llewellyn, we already knew about Tagtiv8 and felt that we could usefully introduce ‘Physically Active Learning’ into Memusi to help the students combine learning with physical activity. We were sure that the Memusi teachers would appreciate learning a new way of inspiring the students into developing their maths skills.

Bryn was generous enough to donate the Tagtiv8 equipment and we were able to benefit from a ‘run through’ with Ryan Elllis‘ class at Grove Road Primary School in Harrogate. 

We were slightly daunted by the number of possible games, but once we understood the games, options and aims of Tagtiv8, we were able to put together an hour session without any issue. 

The Impact

We were able to allocate 4 Tagtiv8 sessions during the week with students aged mainly between 9 and 14. Volunteers were involved in facilitating the sessions but it was important that the teachers were fully involved to enable them to continue to utilise the equipment after we had left. 

Despite obvious language issues (solved by the involvement of the teachers), the students were quick to pick up the ideas. They thoroughly enjoyed the physical activity but equally engaged with the ‘number’ tasks. It was important to involve everyone in the problem-solving elements as those with an obvious aptitude could easily dominate. It was great to witness the teamwork and also the enthusiasm of the teachers in working with the students. 

From our previous visit, we already knew that the students would be competitive and the ‘one on one’ contests went really well. Particular enthusiasm came when there was a boy/girl match-up and massive cheers when the girls came out on top! 

The teachers were really engaged and enjoyed getting involved in the problem solving tasks. There was genuine disappointment when we were unable to fit an extra Tagtiv8 session into the itinerary on our final day. 

We are hopeful that the teachers will continue to use the Tagtiv8 equipment and activities. We will try to ensure that future volunteer groups ask for the equipment and use it in subsequent visits. Jane and I will certainly be returning to Magadi with a new team and will definitely make sure that Tagiv8 features in our activities. 

For this type of volunteer visit, Tagtiv8 was ideal. It was simple to learn, easy to facilitate and to teach to the teaching staff. It tested the maths skills of the students as well as encouraging teamwork and purposeful activity. The students in Magadi have no absence of energy and whilst there are health problems associated with poor nutrition and poverty, everyone was able to get involved. The young people are generally athletic and bright and it was great to witness them displaying their athletic prowess whilst developing their maths skills. 

Thanks for introducing us to Tagtiv8 and for allowing us to be the pioneers for an international ‘Moving and Learning’ experience.

About the Authors

Malcolm Hall – Partner in ‘The Realistic Business Consortium’ a small consultancy that provides strategic guidance and coaching to small businesses, social enterprises and charities. After a long career in finance, Malcolm resolved to use his experience to make a difference and combines his consultancy work with being a Trustee with ‘Trust Leeds’ and volunteering with the Memusi Foundation. 

Jane Hall – After recently completing  a career in management with a major UK Bank, Jane combines her passion for travel with volunteering with Memusi and other organisations.

Looking Ahead

Thank you Malcolm and Jane for sharing your experiences – it’s great to see where random conversations lead. We look forward to following updates from the Memusi Foundation.

We already have schools and organisations using Tagtiv8 in other countries. Do you know of anybody who would like to use our #moveandlearn approaches? If so, let’s connect and play…