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The Ota Initiative Blog

Expanding Our Leadership Curriculum

Head Teacher Pontian and I had a great planning session this past weekend, and the curriculum for our upcoming program is almost complete. As usual, our curriculum is planned around three major subject areas: science, English, and leadership. During this upcoming program, we have decided to begin expanding on our leadership curriculum. Throughout our previous programs, we have focused on developing our students’ understanding of what leadership is and what traits good leaders have. We have also talked with them every program about democracy and how all citizens have a voice, which they've seen in action through their class elections. Beginning with this program, we have decided to expand our leadership curriculum to include discussions of social issues and how citizens can address them. This December we will start by exploring the causes and effects of poverty. Honestly, I was quite surprised when Pontian suggested we start taking our curriculum in this direction because he always plans our Ota curricula to reflect the Tanzanian national curriculum. My high school required one civics course, but I don’t ever remember social issues such as poverty being explicitly explored in my K-12 classes, especially not in elementary school. This just goes to show that as much as we like to think the U.S. is ahead in many areas, there are still lessons we an learn from other countries. I look forward to hearing how this new development in our curriculum plays out in the classroom come December. Our students show more confidence and leadership skills each program, and I am excited to see how they will respond to explorations of social issues. For us to get to the program though, we first need to polish off our curriculum and finish fundraising. We will be hosting our annual holiday fundraiser on the night of Saturday, December 2, and all are welcome. If you are interested in attending, please send an email to and we will provide the details. Even if you cannot attend, please consider making a donation at A donation of just $60 will help cover the cost of one student to attend the program. No matter how you are able to show your support of Ota, we are thankful to have you on this journey with us, and we hope you enjoyed a beautiful Thanksgiving with friends and family.

Best wishes and many thanks,

Rebecca Gailey

The Ota Initiative

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