In addition to teaching English language classes, many English Language Fellows pursue secondary projects to benefit the community and provide additional resources, tools, and professional development opportunities to local English language educators.
English Language Fellow Delia Dunlap, based in Nouakchott, Mauritania, helped establish and organize the Mauritania English Teachers Association (META). Though the members of the association were committed and motivated, they needed help raising the association’s profile, recruiting new members, and establishing a formal presence in Nouakchott. This is where Dunlap came in.
First, she organized regular meetings with the association members, sharing strategies, ideas, and resources for how they could mobilize and attract new members.
Under her guidance, the association hosted a day-long professional development event, including workshops and networking opportunities for teachers throughout the country. They named the event “META Day.” More than 60 participants attended, and members of the U.S. Embassy’s public diplomacy joined, including an address by Public Affairs Officer Katherine Moseley.
Continuing this momentum for Mauritania’s English language education community was a priority for the U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott, so they elected to renew the project and renew Dunlap’s fellowship for a second year. (For more details on the Fellowship renewal policy, click here.)
In her second term, Dunlap continued building META’s organization and capacity. She led a process to establish by-laws for the organization and shepherded them through the drafting process to election and adoption by META. Then she led a fundraising and membership drive to print membership cards and sell them to association members. META sold 100 of them within a month. Dunlap then helped organize general elections for the association’s leadership. She worked to boost participation among the members and to ensure that the process was smooth and transparent.
Collaborating with META’s newly elected leadership, Dunlap helped organize META Day II, working with the organization on outreach to new communities and to include educators who had not yet participated in META’s activities. Throughout the planning process, enthusiasm for the organization only seemed to grow.
The event was a resounding success.