When we launched Enseña Ecuador in 2014 with our first cohort of Professionales de Enseña Ecuador (PECs), the focus of our impact was on our students. Our vision for our students was represented by the “Three A’s”—aprendizaje, acceso y afecto (learning, access, and affect).
By the end of our first year, however, we realized that if the focus of our impact was the lives of our current students, that impact would never grow beyond those students in our classrooms. For our impact to multiply and grow exponentially, we needed to focus on our participants.
In 2015, we swung the pendulum away from our students and towards our PECs. Our goal was to ensure they were getting the support they needed to go out as alumni and create the impact that would reduce the country’s education gap and provide more students with the education, support, and opportunity they need. We revised the orientation of our program to focus on driving toward this vision for alumni impact.
But while focusing on our PECs was critical to envisioning our future impact, we soon recognized that also having an impact on the students in our classrooms today would require incorporating those students into that vision.
We began hearing about other network partners that were developing “contextualized visions”—visions for the future centered around the desired outcomes for their students, the communities in which they lived, and the systems that impacted them. We learned about Anseye Pou Ayiti’s commitment to integrating Haitian culture as well as the assets, needs, and opportunities of the local communities, and to similar efforts in several Teach For America regions. Specialists at Teach For All’s global organization shared materials and learnings with us from across the network and supported us in deepening our understanding of how to develop our own contextualized vision.
We met with our PECs who met with their students, their students’ families and other members of their communities about what the the future they desired would look like. We developed case studies, held workshops for our staff, and talked with our board. We rewrote our impact narrative and understood that we needed to align our program to our vision, or we’d lose our way.
Today, Enseña Ecuador’s vision is rooted in the leadership of both our PECs and their students. By empowering our PECs to foster the empowerment of their students, our impact we can impact education and opportunity in Ecuador on multiple levels, and put more of its children on a path to broader outcomes.
— Nissa Gainty, Director of Training & Support, Enseña Ecuador