This summer, I taught first aid as an international volunteer for the charity First Aid Africa. My group was based in Moshi, a large town in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, where we taught first aid in schools and to community groups. First Aid Africa is a charity that provides first aid training in several countries in the region, also working in Uganda, Kenya and Malawi as well as Tanzania. The high incidence of injuries and lack of universal access to professional pre-hospital (and hospital) care in developing nations such as Tanzania means that there is a large un-met need for first aid training, and I was keen to work with a charity that aims to provide this training to those that need it. I was also looking to gain experience as a first aid trainer so as to develop skills and confidence in teaching. In addition to all of this, I was excited to travel to some countries that I hadn’t visited before. I was keen to take the opportunity to explore Kenya and Tanzania, and managed to do this by travelling independently before my teaching placement.
Although I felt well prepared to teach first aid in Tanzania, I was slightly apprehensive about teaching a first aid course for the first time. Any fears vanished after the first few lessons, and I felt well supported as part of a group.
My teaching placement lasted 4 weeks, in which I got the opportunity to teach first aid to students at a technology college, a rural high school, a vocational college and a Maasai village. I taught on a daily basis with 3 other volunteers as well as local staff/translators, who were all amazing to work with. As a group we developed lesson plans to ensure that our lessons were as fun and memorable as possible, which encouraged me to really think about my teaching style and how I could improve. Although English is widely spoken in Tanzania, it is spoken as a second language meaning that communication during lessons had to be clear and concise- a skill which I feel is valuable to have. I had quite a diverse teaching placement, and got the opportunity to teach people of many ages and backgrounds. I gained an appreciation of the importance of being adaptable, and I certainly gained plenty of teaching experience. As a group we trained several hundred people in first aid, and I am proud to have been part of that.