Dignitas is dedicated to implementing education leadership professional development programs. Their initiatives are evidence-based, aligned with government priorities, and designed to enhance children's learning and well-being. Dignitas extends support to schools in urban informal settlements across Nairobi, diverse rural areas, and even into South Sudan.
These programs include Ustadi 3, which focuses on school leader roles, expectations, and mindset, along with toolkits for education officers.
Another program called Kanya addresses gender-responsive school leadership, Stawisha targets low-fee private schools, LEAD offers an online platform for school leader training, and Early Years is tailored for early childhood education leaders. Currently, Dignitas collaborates with 200 school leaders, with the potential to positively impact 32,000 students throughout Kenya and beyond.
Developing a school leader training program
The team at Dignitas knew they had a role to play in training school leaders in Kenya; however, the existing school leadership programs were limited in scope and offered by few organizations. This is what led to the creation of the Ustadi program, GSL’s first collaborative project with Dignitas in 2018.
The Ustadi project aims to address these challenges and train principals on how to provide professional development and instructional support to teachers. The focus of the first phase of the Ustadi program was on leadership instruction for school leaders and had three key components: leading self, leading learning, leading others.
The initial phases of the project focused on principal instructional leadership—the meaning of instructional leadership and how to support teachers through professional development. Later phases focused on training district level education offers as a means of embedding school leader training in the existing education system.
School leaders who participate in the program are beginning to build an understanding of what instructional leadership means and how to support teachers. Education officers are learning that their role is more than just administrative and that it is also important for them to provide support to school leaders and teachers are sharing strategies for learner-centered instruction and are establishing additional PLCs (professional learning communities) to meet their needs.
GSL’s role and future work of our partnership
In our partnership with Dignitas, we provide support on developing their program design and training curriculum along with additional support to the Dignitas’ Program and Measurement and Evaluation teams.
This work has laid the foundation for the current project, Ustadi 3. This phase is focused on district level education officials ensuring that school leaders critically understand their roles, expectations, and challenges. We have also developed and tested a toolkit for education officers to enhance their support of school leaders.