The Two Rabbits team is comprised of two Master’s students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Sarah Strader, Executive Director
Sarah first piloted the Two Rabbits program in 2014 with the Baka, a group of hunter-gathers in Cameroon with whom she had lived and worked since 2011. She grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and received her undergraduate degree in International Politics and Development in Washington, DC at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. After graduation, she lived and worked with Baka hunter-gatherers in Cameroon as a Fulbright researcher from 2011-2012. She later consulted for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on education for indigenous peoples, and then moved to Washington, DC to manage large-scale basic education projects in Africa with Chemonics International. She has a Master’s in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Matt Owens, Operations Director
An Arkansas native, Matt Owens’ interest in education began while teaching English at a summer camp in China. After he graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2013 with a BA in History and Spanish, Matt accepted a grant with US Fulbright Programs to teach English and Social Sciences in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. While there, he worked in conjunction with the regional government and fellow grantees to implement and teach the Global Classrooms project, a global citizenship initiative taught as a model United Nations course. In 2015 he began work with Spring International Language Center, where he provided logistical support for teacher training programs and coordinated cross-cultural programs for English-language students. Matt joined the Two Rabbits team as a graduate student in 2016. As a student, he also worked for WorldTeach to designing and writing a teacher training curriculum for first year volunteer teachers. Matt graduated in May 2017 with a Master’s in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Over the past year, Two Rabbits has been grateful to have the support of Kara Howard and Mary Pham to establish the project’s implementation framework and test its feasibility in new location. Kara Howard joined the Two Rabbits team in August 2016. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho, working in a local primary school as both an English teacher and trainer for local teachers and volunteers. Mary Pham worked as a civic and peace education consultant in Myanmar, where she has consulted on numerous development projects and facilitated peace education workshops to address ethnic and religious conflict in Kachin and Rakhine State.
Two Rabbits began in the forests of Cameroon with the Baka, a group of semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers, who expressed the need to preserve their cultural traditions as their children attended schools that had traditionally marginalized their language and culture. As one father explained, Baka children must “chase two rabbits at once,” learning to engage with the outside world while at the same time preserving their ties to the forest.
Working together, Sarah, the founder of Two Rabbits, and the Baka developed a culturally adapted approach to education that would help children build literacy, numeracy, and life skills. The result was the Two Rabbits model. The new curriculum, drawing from the Cameroonian National Curriculum, incorporated songs, stories, and games performed in the Baka style and language and then recorded on durable hand-crank SABER MP3 devices. In 2015, Two Rabbits piloted its curriculum in two villages. We are so proud of our first graduates –150 alumni—and cannot wait to see what the future holds for them.
In August of 2016, Sarah met Kara, Mary, and Matt at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Believing in the potential of the Two Rabbits model for preschool children all over the world, they formed a team to empower children through culturally adapted learning using low-cost audio devices. Building on their experiences as a group, the Two Rabbits team has begun to explore how our model might be used in other hard to reach places. In January 2017 the team will perform a pre-test of its model in the IDP camps of Kachin State in Myanmar, where we hope to provide access to preschool learning for children displaced by the conflict there.