ASU Education for Humanity Facilitators Discuss the Earned Admission Program
Arizona State University’s Education for Humanity team, in collaboration with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), launched the Earned Admission program at Ayilo and Nyumanzi refugee camps in Adjumani District, northern Uganda in September 2018. The program provides access to higher education by offering four of ASU’s for-credit online courses to refugee learners and local communities impacted by displacement. If successful in these courses, learners then pursue a pathway to a university degree by enrolling in a university in their host country.
Benton Dashington and Stephen Ambalali, the two classroom facilitators for Education for Humanity’s NRC-Adjumani program, sat down for an interview with Matthew Gallagher, the program’s research and evaluation specialist:
First, please tell me a little bit about your backgrounds.
Benton: : I am Benton Dashington, and I have a bachelor’s degree in information and communica- tions technology from Gulu University. I am from Arua District in the northern part of Uganda, and am currently the facilitator for Arizona State University’s Education for Humanity program at Ayilo Camp in Adjumani District, northern Uganda.
Stephen: My name is Stephen Ambalali. I am Ugan- dan by nationality and Madi by tribe. I am from Unna Central village, located in the Northwest Nile region part of Uganda. I have a degree in computer science and information technology, a certificate in CISCO
Networks, and a certificate in child protection. I am the facilitator at Nyumanzi Camp in Adjumani, Uganda.
Why did you decide to become involved in the Education for Humanity program?
Benton: When I heard about Education for Human- ity I was overwhelmed. I knew this was an opportu- nity to further my learning with a globally renowned university.
Stephen: I have a passion for helping others, so when I was given the facilitator position it was a great chance to help refugees and host community members to attain the university degree of their choice. I thank the Arizona State University and Norwegian Refugee Council partnership for giving me this great opportunity.
What are your responsibilities as a facilitator in the Education for Humanity program?
Benton: As a facilitator with Education for Humanity, I knew I had to do a lot in order to see success. I had to be ready for anything. I am a guide for all the learners, taking them through the learning process, making it easier for them to accomplish the goal at hand, creating an inclusive learning environment where I encourage everyone to participate so that no one is left out, encouraging active listening, and managing their time.
Stephen: I help students access, navigate, and use ASU’s online resources. This includes a few responsibilities: I ensure that students have access to an internet connection that enables them to navigate through their courses. I identify which students are having problems and help them find solutions. I identify students in stress and guide them accordingly. I track the attendance of students, identify those who do not attend regularly, and advise them to attend regularly for at least 18-20 hours a week so they can understand the content of the courses.
Benton: I will add that I think facilitators are needed in the Education for Humanity program because of the type of learners we work with. Some, if not all, had their first encounter with computers when they joined the program. They were unfamiliar with online learning because their schools in Uganda and South Sudan practice the traditional teacher-to- student learning.
What benefits or value do students gain from participating in the Education for Humanity program?
Benton: The benefits that the students are getting from the program are numerous, such as interfacing with online learning, and learning skills like journal and report writing. If they have success in their courses, this will give them a gateway to join a university.
Stephen: The Education for Humanity program helps refugees and host community members who do not have the required documents or qualifications to gain a university degree. The program bridges that gap by helping them get the required qualifications to enable them to join a university.
The program has given students hope for getting a university degree in the future. I have seen the Education for Humanity program transform students’ lives to become change agents in their respective communities.
Thank you to both Stephen and Benton for their hard work and dedication, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for their students!