CSE Training in Kibondo, Tanzania: Wia-Mae’s learning journey

Conflict Sensitive Education
Teacher Professional Development
Professional Development

Wia-Mae Koha Mmari shares her experience as a participant in a training of trainers workshop on conflict sensitive education, and the transition to facilitating the training on her own. 

This blog post is part of a series entitled Learning Journeys of Conflict Sensitive Education Trainers, highlighting reflections on a set of trainings delivered in 2019 as part of a joint NRC, and INEE project funded by the European Union (DG-INTPA), called “Never too late to learn” in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Tanzania.


I began working on the project with INEE in June 2019 as a focal point in Tanzania, and in September, I experienced my first INEE Conflict Sensitive Education (CSE) workshop in Kibondo, Tanzania. This was a training of stakeholders, designed to build the capacity of education actors to integrate CSE strategies into their work with refugees.

    I am a teacher by profession and have taught at all levels, from primary up to university level where I taught in the faculty of education and supervised teacher trainees. I also supervised student research projects and have been a motivational speaker to various youth groups and women’s organizations, as well as participated in various educational workshops. I have been a refugee and I know what it is to be in a crisis and an emergency. I am based in Kilimanjaro, about 740 kilometres from Kibondo. 

      Wia-Mae at the training
      The author participating in a Conflict Sensitive Education training in Tanzania in 2019.

      The workshop started on the 9th of September 2019. I travelled to Kibondo three days before the beginning of the workshop in order to support the team on site, including getting the logistics ready and setting up the venue for the workshop. Prior to travelling, I had been in touch with the local NRC team in Kibondo to organise procurement of materials, and to identify participants.

      Kibondo District is one of the six districts of Kigoma Region, Tanzania. Kigoma region is located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika at the northwest corner of Tanzania. I had never been to Kibondo before as I reside in Kilimanjaro in the northeastern part of Tanzania. I got on the bus from Hai district in Kilimanjaro region at 5:30 am and the trip started at 6 am, it was a whole day’s journey as I had to go through 5 regions, Arusha, Singida, Nzega, Shinyanga, and arrived in Kahama where I spent the night after a 13-hour drive. I was really exhausted to continue with the journey, so I rested the next day, and continued my journey the following day.

      On the third day, I headed for Kibondo. I got to the crowded bus station at 7am in the morning and waited until all the seats on the bus were filled with passengers; we finally left at 10:15am. Along the way were several stops to pick up additional passengers who had to stand up in the bus during the journey, since we were already full and there was luggage and boxes also filling up every space in and on top of the bus. The trip very difficult and uncomfortable on the dusty dirt roads. The bus arrived in Kibondo after a 9-hour journey. I arrived in Kibondo dusty, tired, thirsty and beat up. I stood at the bus station for half an hour until I saw a police officer and asked him to confirm that I was in Kibondo. I bought some bottled water, and hired a motorcycle to the hotel. I had an early night, and the next day I arrived at the NRC office ready for work.

      On Sunday the 8th of September 2019, the lead facilitator Emeline Marchois (INEE) arrived in Kibondo and we had a briefing in which we updated ourselves about Day 1 activities, including registration, welcome and introductions, getting to know each other, expectations, guidelines, norms, and a pre-workshop test. We also checked materials and printing, and did everything to be ready for the first day to open the training.

      The workshop focused on:

      • knowledge on CSE and education in emergencies (EiE), 
      • new ideas on CSE, to understand the link of CSE with EiE, 
      • the diversity of EiE from a different scope of emergency, 
      • the importance of CSE,
      • the use CSE in their work area  

      Day 1:

      After introductions, the participants were led through a presentation on the Rationale of EiE which was the base for the theme of the workshop. The participants learnt about the different types of emergency scenarios and explained the rationale for education as a first response in emergencies. The participants learnt about the INEE Minimum Standards framework, and put it into practice through a case study. One of the activities was to read a case study and identify which standards were used in the emergency education response and to also identify which standards could have been used in the response. A debrief was held after the first day’s session. Challenges encountered during the first day were discussed and noted, as well as preparation for the next day’s session. 

      Day 2:

      The day started with registration and a review of Day 1 and Day 2 agendas. The first review was conducted with a quiz on INEE, most particularly about the Minimum Standards and its practical use.

      Presentations were on the introduction to CSE and understanding why sensitive education is important; the three-part definition of CSE was shared, and we discussed where it is applicable. Conflict analysis and understanding the key concepts around conflict were approached in regards to the effect of development on conflict, and conflict sensitivity, discussing why a conflict analysis is critical to conflict sensitive education, as well as interaction between program parameters and context. At the end of the day’s session, there was time for recap and review of key insights of Day 2, and daily evaluation.

      Day 3:

      Registration and an agenda review opened the day, which focused on INEE Minimum Standards Domain 2: Access and Learning, and on understanding the interactions between access and learning environments and conflict. It also looked at sensitive strategies for Domain 3: Teaching and Learning and for Domain 4: Teachers and Other Education Personnel. The sessions were designed to understand how context interacts with teacher recruitment, conditions of work, and support. One activity that was carried out on the third day was learning how to use the INEE Minimum Standards guidance notes, and strategies on how to provide access to learning.

      Day 4:

      Similar to the other days, Day 4 began with registration and review of the agenda. The final sessions completed sensitive strategies for Domain 4 and carried out onto Domain 5, Education Policy to understand how conflict interacts with education policy. An overview of Conflict Sensitive Education Monitoring and Evaluation was presented and discussed. The participants watched a CSE whiteboard videos, and a recap and review of key insights of Day 4 were carried out. To close the training, participants took a test to inform the trainer of individual learning progress. There was an overall evaluation of the four days and certificates were awarded.

      Participants with certificates

      Impressions and suggestions on the workshop:

      I was very comfortable with the way in which the sessions were conducted; the materials for the participants were enough although having one person to facilitate a four day workshop is strenuous. The Facilitator made sure that all participants were actively involved; they all had an input in the discussions and asked relevant questions to clarify any doubts during presentations. 

      There were some slight changes in the time as planned (e.g. lunch was served at 1:30pm instead of 1pm). And it was also a challenge to get participants to begin sessions on time especially after the breaks; sessions would begin a little bit late (10-12 minutes). In the future it is recommended that snacks be served in the venue, like on side-tables in the hall. This can also be effective by having breaks followed by discussions, and having the group leaders take the responsibility for gathering the group members and ensuring that the groups are calm and quiet/tardy as there were a lot of noise while some sessions were carried out. I suggest that participants from the same organization should not be allowed to sit together during workshops. It was observed that some participants had laptops with them and these laptops were a distraction during the sessions. In future workshops the participants shall be informed that they will not need the laptops in the sessions, because they will be given all the materials in both soft and hard copy at the end of the workshop. It is also suggested that there be at least two facilitators to alternate during presentations.

      This workshop was conducted in September when the standard 7 exams were conducted throughout Tanzania. The effect of this on the workshop is that the workshop did not start at the time it was scheduled, because the NRC vehicles were contracted to carry exam materials and staff to the centres on the 11th and 12th. The number of participants who attended the workshop were less than expected, (40 participants were expected), and some of the participants who were invited were unable to attend because they were involved in supervision of the primary national exams. In the future, workshops should not be planned to coincide with government programmes.

      In conclusion, this workshop has been useful in raising the awareness of the participants to the needs of refugees. With such workshops the working groups will be better equipped to deal with the educational needs of those in emergencies. I am certain that I will be able to co-facilitate during the next training, especially in assisting the facilitator on topics that have to do with identifying the different types of emergency scenarios and describe their impact on children, education systems, and communities. Explaining the rationale for education as a first response in emergencies. Introduction to CSE, and understanding why sensitive education is important. Knowing the three-part definition of CSE, as well as when CSE should be used or is applicable. As a teacher it always interests me to know what the impact of education is or has on the lives of the learners and the community at large, especially the impact on the refugee community which also has equal rights to education.

      In a follow-up blog, Wia-Mae will share her thoughts and reflections on the CSE training and EiE in such contexts; make sure you visit the blog series page to read all posts in this series!



      Wia-mae Koha Mmari is a PhD candidate at the Mwenge Catholic University in Kilimanjaro Tanzania. she completed her Master in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) from the Mwenge Catholic University in Kilimanjaro Tanzania, a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) obtained from the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, B.com degree in Business Administration and Management from the Daystar University in Nairobi Kenya. She has taught at different levels of education including that of Assistant Lecturer at the Stefano Moshi Memorial University College in Kilimanjaro Tanzania, where she assisted students with their research work. She is the founder and President of “The Righteous Work” a community Based organization in Boma Ng’ombe Tanzania. She presently serves as an Education consultant for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Kibondo Tanzania.


      In 2018, DEVCO, NRC, and INEE engaged in a joint 4-year project called “Never too late to learn”. This multi-dimensional project is being implemented in the Democratic Republic of  Congo (DRC) and Tanzania in order to contribute towards improved access to quality and protective basic education (pre-school, primary, and lower secondary) for displacement-affected children. 

      The activities led by NRC and INEE in 2018-2019 focused on training education stakeholders in conflict sensitive education (CSE), and introduced education in emergencies and the INEE Minimum Standards. 

      This blog series, presents insights on the trainings from the perspectives of EiE colleagues working as INEE focal points and facilitators in Tanzania and DRC. The series of five blog posts will present the following experiences:

      • from Tanzania, narrated by Wia-Mae Koha Mmari (INEE focal point in Tanzania);
      • from DRC, narrated by Edmond Shamba (INEE Focal Point in DRC); 
      • and from both Tanzania and DRC, narrated by Emeline Marchois (INEE, lead consultant based in France)

      For more information on the project and on conflict sensitive education, please contact the lead consultant at emeline.marchois@inee.org

      For materials on CSE, please consult the INEE website at https://inee.org/collections/conflict-sensitive-education


      The views expressed in this blog are the author's own.