An interview with Susan Mwai, who completed the Solutionary Micro-Credential Program (SMP) with IHE in 2022 and is now a solutionary coach.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your passions, and your current pursuits.
I am a Kenyan currently living in Germany. I am a mother, a wife, and a daughter who was born and raised in a big family. I grew up in the country, and animals were – and have always been – a huge part of my life. For over 12 years, I worked as a classroom teacher before moving on to work in an animal welfare organization after becoming a credentialed humane educator. I am passionate about humane education and, since moving to Germany three years ago, I have taken every opportunity to share it with others. Currently, I am a coach for two organizations that work with schools focused on global learning. I offer workshops in schools using the solutionary teaching and learning approach. I am also actively engaged in forums that discuss development in Africa, especially in the context of colonization, post-colonial present, and post-colonial continuities. I founded the Humane Education Specialist Solutions (HESS) Organisation, which is at its final stages of registration in Kenya and will employ humane/solutionary education principles to achieve sustainable solutions. Getting a Graduate Certificate in Humane Education is also at the top of my list of current pursuits.
What drew you to solutionary teaching and what did you gain from taking the Solutionary Micro-credential Program (SMP)?
Previously, I concerned myself mainly with animal welfare and environmental education. After taking the program, I can link social justice issues to animal welfare and environmental issues. The Solutionary Micro-credential Program opened my eyes to look at problems through a solutionary lens and empowered me with practical tools that I can use and pass on to others. Developing systems thinking was a major learning breakthrough for me as an educator, as I can now understand interconnected problems as well as solutions. Solutionary teaching is transformative because, after students have acquired knowledge and skills on a particular issue, they are presented with an opportunity to practice developing an authentic solution to a real problem in the community. This makes solutionary teaching and learning a very powerful tool for positive change.
What solutionary teaching and coaching projects are you working on now?
Last November I conducted a workshop in Kenya where I shared the solutionary teaching and learning approach with teachers. The group then became the first SMP cohort in Kenya. Under IHE, I am coaching the cohort online and will be joining the teachers during their project phase next month. Teachers have immense power to shape lives. My goal is to share the skills and knowledge that I have received with as many teachers as possible.
I have also partnered with two organizations working with immigrant women in Germany where I will be teaching women about sustainable consumption.
How do you stay energized and motivated in this work?
I derive my energy from my desire for a better world. I believe that if I make a positive contribution, then that world is possible. I read stories and watch videos of other people who have/are also making similar contributions to make the world a great place for all. Zoe Weil particularly inspires me. Humane education has empowered me to be kind to myself as I endeavor to be kind to other people, animals, and the world we share.
Share something that has inspired you recently.
The positive feedback from the Kenya cohort about the tremendous impact of the Solutionary Micro-Credential Program on their work and their students is a clear indication that solutionaries are being created in my country. I am proud to be part of this great change. Also, the fact that my contribution has been recognized by the Institute for Humane Education means a lot to me.
Where can people keep up with you and learn more about your work?
People can connect with me on Facebook as Teacher Susan – CHES, where I share my work and any activities pertaining to my solutionary work.
Feel inspired? You can read more stories of humane educators in action here.