This page is taken from The TREE trainers report of the training sessions

Persona Doll Training in Centocow – April 2018

Practising with a Persona Doll

Practising with a Persona Doll



The objectives of the training;

• Practitioners will become more aware of their stereotypes of people.
Develop anti-discriminatory attitudes and become more able to combat exclusion and unfairness.
• Sessions with the dolls increase participation by children, develop the active the listening skills of teachers and encourage them to accept each child’s responses and give positive feedback.
• The dolls will make it easier for the practitioners not to impose their own ideas on the children.
• Teachers will step back and let the children identify the dolls feeling and problem solve.
• Teachers will be able to use the Doll to react to issues as they can also use them pro-actively to raise issues of discrimination and prejudice e.g. around disability, language, culture, faith, health and HIV/AIDS.
• The Doll can help to turn the culture of the group away from teasing, name-calling and exclusion towards caring, respect and support.

group practising with Persona Dolls

Teachers group practising with Persona Dolls

Discussions and training activities;

1. Trainer gave them registration form to write their names, and introduces her name and her persona doll.
2. An interesting energiser came from the participants. Facilitator led an introduction activity a song .DO AS I DO. They were given pieces of papers to write their expectations.
The Agenda of the day was well discussed. Facilitator ask the group to look at the dolls and tell what they see. She than introduce Persona dolls approach, talk about the dolls and the coloured cards and allow the group to share their experiences to show that Persona Dolls approach is well understood.
3. An Identity exercise was introduced in pairs and practitioners were allowed to give feedback
4. To Act Or Not To Act ; In pairs, take turns to talk about a time when you were involved in, or witnessed a discriminatory incident or unfair situation, relating to dolls.

Five questions were given to guide them

1. What happened?
2. How did you feel?
3. What actions were taken?
4. What were the obstacles that stop people from acting?
5. Somebody to feedback to the whole group .Trainer demonstrated and introduced her Persona Doll and gave them an opportunity to go home with their doll and create their persona dolls.
6. Demonstration of story by Facilitator and the small groups create their own works with dolls.
7 As soon as all finished they were asked to share their feeling about their demonstrations and whether these dolls will help them.

Key learning points

A summary of key-learning from the participants

1. It was fun to work in small group to develop personal for dolls.
2. Persona Doll is a fun way of making our teaching and learning so interesting .It will help them to convey different messages to learners.
3. Children who are shy will now open their mouth and share their experiences
4. Persona Doll method will be used in our Themes.
5. Teaching mostly in our Discussion and Story Telling children might experience difficult situation in life so it will be easier for them to express feelings.
6. It will be easier to the children to express their feelings especially when being discriminated abused and hurt.
7. Persona Doll will be also introduced or used at churches for Sunday schools.
8. Practitioners were very happy to have their own dolls.


Identified during the session:
• Practitioners Manuals were all written in English and practitioners felt that they should have been written in isiZulu .
• Video clip couldn’t play due to that the training was run in a deep rural area so the electricity was not available at all.


All objectives were well met and linked with the expectation of the practitioners.

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    Devon Centocow Link

    Jane Habermehl an early years specialist teacher made links with a group of schools in Rurual Kwa-Zulu-Natal in September 2001. The Exmouth Centocow Linking Assoc. was formed on her return and over the years she has shared her knowledge of pre-schools in South Africa and revisited the teachers on several occasions.
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    Rural Pre-school teachers of the Centocow area need your support.

    The aim of my original trip to Centocow in 2001 was to work alongside pre-school teachers, helping them to set up an association which would unite them and give them mutual support and become a force for group training. Each time I visit I learn more about the country and its culture and feel privileged to work alongside these dedicated teachers. The teachers here work on a voluntary basis in very inadequately resources buildings.

    In 2001 there were eighteen pre-schools and now their number has swelled to sixty. Working with Zimbili Dlamini, the co-ordinator of the Family Literacy Project we have divided the schools into six clusters by area. Each cluster chose a co-ordinator who would arrange a meeting every six to eight weeks to share resources and support each other, helping each other with funding applications. They would have a smaller transport bill and Zimbili would be a nominal co-ordinator distributing funds for transport and refreshment costs but twice a year calling whole Association meetings for training purposes. The first of these will be in December when a social worker will visit them to advise them on the lengthy and complex bureaucratic process of registration.

    Registration does not give the teachers other than a nominal quarterly payment but it does ensure that their provision is adequate in a basic sense and the big bonus is that they receive good food for the children they care for on a daily basis.

    By Jane Habermehl.

    Devon Centocow Link is committed to pay the teachers’ travel costs to their meetings and for maintaining a few essential resources such as scissors crayons and glue. See the whole article at
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