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Features

Peter Tabichi A Science Teacher Wins Global Prize For His Exemplary Service

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A science teacher from rural Kenya, who gives away most of his salary to support poorer pupils, has won a $1m prize (£760,000) for the world’s best teacher. Peter Tabichi, a member of the Franciscan religious order, won the 2019 Global Teacher Prize. He has been praised for his achievements in a deprived school with crowded classes and little to no text books.

The award, announced in a ceremony in Dubai, recognises the “exceptional” teacher’s commitment to pupils in a remote part of Kenya’s Rift Valley. He gives away 80% of his pay to support pupils, at the Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village, Nakuru, who otherwise could not afford uniforms or books.

“It’s not all about money,” says Peter, whose pupils are almost all from very disadvantaged families. Many are orphaned or have lost a parent. He says for him, its all about being able to raise aspirations and to promote the cause of science not only in the country but also in the African continent. “As a teacher working on the front line I have seen the promise of its young people – their curiosity, talent, their intelligence, their belief. Africa’s young people will no longer be held back by low expectations. Africa will produce scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs whose names will be one day famous in every corner of the world. And girls will be a huge part of this story.”

The award, in a competition run by the Varkey Foundation, has seen him beating 10,000 other nominations from 179 countries. He is a Franciscan friar, a member of the Catholic religious order founded by St Francis of Assisi in the 13th Century. Peter says there are “challenges with a lack of facilities” at his school, including not enough books or teachers. Classes meant to have 35 to 40 pupils are taught in groups of 70 or 80, which, he says, means overcrowded classrooms and problems for teachers.

The lack of a reliable internet connection means he has to travel to a cyber-cafe to download resources for his science lessons. And many of the pupils walk more than four miles (6km) on bad roads to reach the school. But Peter says he is determined to give them a chance to learn about science and to raise their horizons.

His pupils have been successful in national and international science competitions, including an award from the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK. The judges said that his work at the school had “dramatically improved his pupils’ achievement”, with many more now going on to college or university, despite resources at the schools being “severely constrained”.

Peter says part of the challenge has been to persuade the local community to recognise the value of education, visiting families whose children are at risk of dropping out of school. He tries to change the minds of families who expect their daughters to get married at an early age – encouraging them to keep their girls in school. “It’s morning in Africa. The skies are clear. The day is young and there is a blank page waiting to be written. This is Africa’s time,” he said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated Peter on his award and recognition, “Peter – your story is the story of Africa, a young continent bursting with talent. Your students have shown that they can compete amongst the best in the world in science, technology and all fields of human endeavour,” said the Kenyan president.

The competition is intended to raise the status of the teaching profession. The founder of the prize, Sunny Varkey, says he hopes Brother Peter’s story “will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over Kenya and throughout the world every day. The thousands of nominations and applications we received from every corner of the planet is testimony to the achievements of teachers and the enormous impact they have on all of our lives,” he says.

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Features

Take These Bold Steps To Unlock The Genius In You

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Progressive, realisation, worthy and ideal. Write down what these words mean to you.

You have a leading commitment and then you have daily commitments. I suggest, and I truly wish you would accept this and act on it.

Here’s what you’re going to do; take a specific time every day, early in the morning and set aside an hour.

I want to believe that you have a great big goal and then you have your daily ones — the ones you are so well-versed at that you can achieve with your eyes closed.

You want to get in the habit of breaking your leading goals down into daily tasks and act on them consistently. If you do, I guarantee that you will soon wake up in the realisation of your goals. It is, however, absolutely essential that you make a commitment to follow the strategy that is outlined daily until you’ve altered your mind and created the habits that will automatically carry you forward.

Our minds have an unyielding grip on us. Our long-held thinking does not easily let go so expect some resistance to show up dressed up as your excuses for not acting daily.

You can alter your mind in only two known ways — first, by constant repetition of a new and hopefully improved idea (choosing to make the change as I suggest here) or second by the force of an emotional impact — when a situation that leaves you no choice forces you to act. I strongly recommend the former because it is voluntary while an emotional impact is rarely a pleasant experience.

Unfortunately, very few people are changed through voluntary repetition of actions. Most of us are forced into changing by emotional impact as a result of negative occurrences that jolt us into doing things differently. This is the suggestion. This is the strategy for you today — think about this as your life’s jigsaw puzzle. What is it out of your goals that you want to come to quick fruition? Would you say that you’re working on it in earnest? If you cannot, then seize this very minute and begin.

Being bold unlocks the genius in you. All you need to do is engage your mind and It will grow heated. Begin, and the work will be completed. Now before going any further, You want you to act on faith in yourself. Read your top commitment out loud. This is the binding commitment. “I will complete the task outlined in my commitment in 30 days, I will allocate a special time each day and discipline myself to use that same time daily for this commitment.” Now go ahead and sign it. Date it. You’re an intelligent and wise professional. Take a copy of it and share it with someone you truly respect and tell them that you are committed to doing this. Now get moving. This is called accountability. It never fails.

Achievement is about taking decisive action. Everything that we really want is already here. All we have to do is make the decision that we are only going to entertain thoughts that move us into the actions and habits to attract it. This seemingly simple exercise is a game-changer. Get on with it.

BY: SERAPHINE RULIGIRWA-KAMARA

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Features

3 Major Hacks To Improving Your Customer Satisfaction

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Imagine walking into a clothing store and the first person you meet, the receptionist, is a young lady who interestingly is in a bad mood. You realise that by how she has treated you. She didn’t reply to your hello nor give you a lot of attention. You locate another employee and kind of feel relieved.

So you walk to the other one to ask for help around the store. She takes you round but you realize she too isn’t in the mood. She is just doing it as a formality.

Think of another store where right from when you come in, the receptionist greets you with a smile, welcomes you and directs you on where to go next. You meet another employee who shows you around and treats you loyalty, whether you decide to shop with them or not.

Where will you shop next time? Now that’s customer relations.

As part of growing your business and consequently increasing your sales margin, you would want to continually grow your customer base and loyalty. You will want to have repeat business whereby your satisfied customers refer others to your brand.

Customer relations refers to the way an organization manages its interaction with current and potential customers. To improve business relationships with customers specifically focusing on customer retention and driving sales growth.

So how do we hack this?

To begin with, customers focus. This involves ensuring that all aspects of your company put its customers’ satisfaction first. There are many activities than can help you achieve this. They include:

  • Ease of use– making sure you design services and products that are easy to use and access as well as educating your customers on how to maximize the benefits that come with using your product or service. Let there not be too many procedures for them to finally acquire what they want.
  • Personal relationships – Cultivating a good relationship with your customers makes them feel valued and important. This creates an attachment with your service or product. This can be done in small ways like emailing your customers just to confirm an order, or a phone call to ensure your customers received what they ordered. You can also send them messages on special days like their birthdays or on anniversaries marking when they started transacting business with you especially for loyal customers.
  • A swift and sure handling of inquiries and complaints – This is putting up effective feedback platform(s). Install working processes where customers can pass any problems or complaints and have them dealt with promptly. Again you have to be honest. If a problem is that which might take some time, to solve let them know. Honesty is key.
  • Appropriate payment systems – Enable your customers to pay in ways that are convenient for them and at appropriate times. Have you had an experience where you had to queue for so long so as to pay for the service or product? I have, and the experience isn’t interesting. If your payments are done online, let the payment portal be secure and hassle free. Eliminate the possibility of potential customers shying away from coming to you because the payment procedure is not friendly.
  • Honesty – Can we take your word to the bank? For example you state you deliver in 48 hours, Okay. Can your customer rest assured that they will have their merchandise or service delivered by that time? That’s honesty, your word needs to be your law. It is important to inform your customer in time and apologize for that.

If you’ve stated that you offer after sale service, please live to your promise. Some companies even go to an extent of offering discounts to the affected customers in the cases of such incidences. With honesty you build a brand that can be trusted.

  • Get your team trained.

This one is very instrumental. It is important to have your team trained on good customer experience. There is nothing that puts off customers like grumpy employees. Train them on,

  • Greeting and interacting with customers
  • Answering the phone
  • Managing their emotions
  • Dealing with tough customers

Training on such issues will go along way into growing your business. When your employees are properly trained, they feel confident and motivated to serve. Remember the customer is most of the times right.

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