Informal education is incorporated within all of SSF’s programs: health, WaSH (water, sanitation, and hygiene), microfinance, and nutrition. SSF utilizes every opportunity to educate – in the rural areas, in school, and at the Community Development Centre (CDC) — and searches for the most innovative, culturally-compelling methods to communicate the essential truths and imperatives for development. Our pedagogical approach to education is not solely teacher [Symbol] student directed (i.e., didactic). Instead, we strive to create a learning commons where the teacher is both teacher and student, and the student is nudged into becoming a peer educator. As such, we espouse educational principles expressed in problem- and inquiry-based learning. Of significance, is the fact that we work to merge indigenous with Western-derived knowledge, where the knowledge shared is on equal terms and mutually enlightening, and where the foundational structures of indigenous (traditional) systems of knowledge provide the process-vehicle for communicating the moral imperatives for behavioral change (eg., respect for women as equals, conflict resolution …).
We conduct out-of-school events at the Community Development Centre (CDC) in cooperation with government officials. During school break, we provide a suite of activities and programs, communicating health promotion messages through sports and drama, and dialogical events tailored to the needs of young people. Dialogical, or conceptual events* were developed by us as a “safe way” to reflect on critical life problems, and together with committed stakeholders, co-develop and implement behavioural solutions. For example, authentically coming to understand the risk reality, risk situations, and risk events of vulnerable and at risk youth can lead to the construction of practical behavioural solutions. Throughout this reflection-and-action process (participatory action research), a variety of community-based stakeholders are involved: government officials, NGO workers, respected elders, traditional healers, faith leaders, and most importantly, persons affected or infected (eg., at risk adolescents and youth).