Mentorship and Community Joint Support Organization Executive Director Muhammed Chuka Joof won a fellowship award

PhET Interactive Simulations launches Fellowship program to promote STEM education in Africa and Latin America

Who is Muhammed Chuka Joof?

A 28-year-old Gambian-born STEM educator, The Executive Director of MCJSupport Org (Mentorship and Community Joint Support Org). Through his organization, Muhammed has implemented multiple projects with the US State Department U.S. Embassy Banjul, The Gambia; one being to improve STEM education for the hard of hearing by upgrading computer facilities and a learning center, at St John’s School for the Deaf.

The second grant provided a high-end braille printer that is used for printing education content, to enhance the smooth unification of the national syllabus to braille. This grant also provided capacity-building training for regional itinerary teachers to introduce visually impaired kids across the country to Information Technology.

He was one of the pioneers of digit content creation during the peak of the Pandemic, as an education emergency response strategy to curb the impact of COVID-19, on Gambian students.

Also, helped to train an average of about 100 teachers across The Gambia on Digital Pedagogy, using PhET simulations as the main educative tool, to alleviate the dogma attached to STEM education and for easy assimilation of STEM concepts critical to students’ understanding.

Currently, working with Human Ware Company in the UK to introduce the Blind School to braille one and victor readers to bridge the digital and communication gap between the blind and sighted, in this course Human Ware has donated devices worth about D200,000, to pilot this program.

Equally worked with National Youth Council over the years to build the capacities of youths and youth leaders across the country on various training programs.

These are just a few initiatives and programs Muhammed has been working on just to name a few, he aims at fully digitalizing education in The Gambia; also his longtime plan is to establish ‘’Gambia Scientific Center for Research and Development’’ (GSCRD). Which will be focused on building the capacity of Gambians on researched-based development strategies, connecting youth initiatives to markets and in a way create more employment, content creation for more information sharing and understanding cutting across all sectors, all these are to increase the Critical Mass of scientists and engineers to drive the engines of rapid and sustainable development across Africa.

Muhammed being one of the youngest and with the least of qualifications has made it through the critical selection process, he is part of the 32 PhET Fellows appointed across Africa and Latin America to accelerate the adoption of engaging and research-based teaching and learning practices in STEM education.

PhET Interactive Simulations, a University of Colorado, Boulder project, announced today the launch of its inaugural PhET Fellowship program, welcoming 32 Fellows to support the promotion of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects in schools and universities across Africa and Latin America. This program is part of the PhET Global initiative, supported by the Yidan Prize Foundation as part of the prize project activities of 2020 Laureate Carl Wieman.

STEM fields are among the most critical to driving the socio-economic development of a country and preparing its citizens to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. With a high percentage of young persons among their populations, Africa and Latin America, in particular, have significant potential to benefit from advancements in STEM. However, according to the African Development Bank, less than 25% of African higher education students pursue a career in STEM, and both regions struggle to provide quality STEM education at scale.

To support STEM education in these regions, PhET has recruited 32 Fellows—15 from Africa, and 17 from Latin America—who are teacher leaders in secondary or tertiary education. These Fellows will promote robust teacher communities and advance students’ access to quality STEM education, reaching at least 1,600 teachers across the two continents. Together, they will accelerate the uptake of research-based math and science teaching and learning approaches through PhET simulations; build a community of local STEM experts, and reach thousands of students—giving rise to future generations of STEM professionals.

PhET Interactive Simulations provides free access to a collection of over 150 engaging, game-like computer simulations to support STEM learning. They are designed for students to learn through play and exploration—which is how they learn—emphasizing the connections between real-life phenomena and the underlying science. These simulations have proven to be effective for a wide range of students—even for those without access to physical laboratories. They can be run online or downloaded to play offline for learners and teachers worldwide. They are available in 101 languages, including Amharic, Arabic, Chichewa, Dutch, French, German, Hausa, Igbo, Kinyarwanda, Portuguese, Sotho, Spanish, Swahili, Tswana, Twi, and Yoruba.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the PhET project has delivered over 1.1 billion simulations worldwide, with more than 250 million online simulation sessions taking place on average per year. With the rise of remote learning due to COVID-19, PhET has more than doubled in usage since 2020. In Africa and Latin America, usage growth has been even larger, increasing 5 times across Africa and over 10 times across Latin America. Collectively, the regions have run PhET simulations online over 64 million times since March 2020, not including any offline use.

Professor Carl Wieman, founder of PhET Interactive Simulations, and a Yidan Prize and Nobel Prize laureate, said: “Education and the ability to think scientifically are fundamental for people to learn how to make better decisions and be more successful in all aspects of their lives. Through this Fellowship program, we are nurturing a pool of local talent to advocate for a scientific approach to teaching maths and science. We especially want the most marginalized students to benefit from high-quality STEM education so that they are better prepared to face the challenges of tomorrow.”

The PhET Fellowship will support each participating individual’s pedagogical and leadership growth for 18 months, as they continue in their full-time roles in education. The program will take place in two phases—with 80+ hours of professional learning to build skills and knowledge of PhET resources, and 70+ hours of professional leadership practice to support teachers’ use of PhET simulations across their regions.

Edward Ma, Secretary-General of the Yidan Prize Foundation, said: “Carl and the PhET team have been creating new possibilities through digital STEM education for two decades. They apply the science of learning to equip learners around the world with skills to think like a scientist. The Yidan Prize Foundation is very proud to support PhET s new Fellowship program. We hope that more schools and teachers will see the value of engaging learners through research-based STEM education, and accelerate its adoption across Africa and Latin America.”


National Assembly Engagement on the plight of the blind – Assistive tools

Our core work has been on Digital Pedagogy, All-inclusive education and now, on the diversification of opportunities accorded to youths to improve their professional and economic growth. This round table brief discussion with OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, Gambia Federation for the Disabled, and two parliamentarians from the education committee was focused on assistive tools for blind education, which concluded with a set date to meet the entire committee on education and health of the national assembly sometime in April, to inform them of the plight of the blind and scout out possible ways of support.

Digital Pedagogy Training on PhET for Gambia College

Mentorship and Community Joint Support Organization in partnership with PhET Interactive Simulations had a week-long training for The Gambia College STEM lecturers on Digital Pedagogy using PhET Sims. 3rd to 7th January 2023.

As part of efforts to improve STEM education in The Gambia with Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, The Gambia, collaborating with Gambia College could not come at a better time for us, as the college is the base ground for the development teachers in The Gambia.

This week-long training includes,

– Basic online safety measures and computing

– How to access, download and make use of the PhET offline

– Tips on how to effectively use PhET Sims

– Explore simulations in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology

– Active learning strategies (concept questions, Interactive Lecture Demonstrations, and whole class inquiry)

– lesson planning using the pre and post-reflective tools

– Classroom Observation Tool to assess teachers and students in the classroom.

As we progress, an alignment will be done with the technical experts of the college, step down training and inculcate digital pedagogy into classroom lesson delivery.

for more information, please visit https://mcjsupport.org/




Digital Pedagogy Training in Collaboration with PhET Interactive Simulations Global Team for Nigerian and Zambian Teachers

In Coordination with the PhET Interactive Simulations Global Team, we have been able to introduce and trained more than a hundred Gambian STEM teachers in government schools on PhET Sims (Digital Pedagogy), also privileged to have been part of the team that trained Zambian and Nigerian teachers.

We’re looking forward to engaging the private schools and tertiary institutions in The Gambia.

HumanWare Donated Blind Education Devices to The Gambia

Our office presented Blind Education devices to Gambia Organization for the Visually Impaired School at Kanifing, which is preceded by an online training from the company that donated the devices HumanWare, worth D200,000, aimed at running a pilot program to gauge the understanding of blind students using digital pedagogy, in partnership with MoBSE.

This is all made possible through the intervention of U.S. Embassy Banjul, The Gambia Blind Support Program, as an extension to some of the plans we have to strongly effect positive change in education (STEM and All-Inclusive), which will in turn influence progressive attitudes to differently-abled children in The Gambia.

World Braille Day

UN Geneva 1.3 billion people are living with some form of distance or near vision impairment. On #WorldBrailleDay, we are raising awareness about the importance of the universal touch-based communication system for the full realization of human rights for blind & partially sighted people.

To our leading partner in development for the differently-abled society U.S. Embassy Banjul, The Gambia thank you for supporting us in materializing projects of the critical need to this community.

MCJSupport ORG Director – Thanked partners of the Blind Support Program funded by the US Embassy

MCJSupport Org director Muhammed Chuka Joof dedicated this project to his late GrandFather- Makou Tiyanna Ceesay, who used to be an instructor for the visually impaired in CRR, so this is a continuation of his wonderful work in improving the livelihood skills of the visually impaired in The Gambia. At the event, he further stated his interest in prioritizing the need to support education projects and taking responsibility for our issues.

He concluded, by buttressing that Ministry and GOVI should take full ownership of the project in order to implement the unification of the national syllabus to braille, for the interest of national development with respect to providing education for all children and youths of The Gambia.

Presentation of Equipment to GOVI, Braille Printer, Victor Reader and Laptops

We thank the U.S. Embassy Banjul, The Gambia for supporting our Blind Support Program, this is not a surprise as we know how much the Embassy is particular about critical issues of our society and ways on how to solve or improve them. It was a blooming morning for the staff, teachers, and students of GOVI, for something that has long been their obstacle in lesson delivery and activities that are of relevance to braille.

As a non-profit in The Gambia, we renew our commitment to enhancing self-paced education and easy access to learning resources a top priority, not leaving any part of the education sphere behind, this is why we are more than happy to always support the most vulnerable in our education system. Thank you to the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, The Gambia, QTV Gambia, and GRTS TVfor more info, please visit https://www.mcjsupport.org

Blind Support Program, The Gambia – MCJSupport Org in Partnership with US Embassy, Banjul The Gambia

Gambian Blind students find it very challenging to follow lessons and limitations to access educational resources due to their medium of learning, In partnership with the U.S. Embassy Banjul, The Gambia, we will provide through the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, The Gambia a high-end braille printer which is going to be used to print education content, in order to enhance the smooth unification of the national syllabus to braille.

Secondly, provide laptops and capacity-building training for regional itinerary teachers with the aim of introducing visually impaired kids across the country to Information Technology. for more information please visit https://www.mcjsupport.org

Deaf Support Programme – Capacity Building Training for Teachers on PhET Interactive Simulations

MCJSupport Org in partnership with the U.S. Embassy Banjul, The Gambia, and Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, The Gambia, launched a week-long capacity-building training for teachers of St John’s School for the Deaf to improve the learning and teaching of Science and Mathematics using PhET Interactive Simulations as a supplementary tool to accommodate the gaps in lesson delivery.

At the Event, The vice-President of MCJSupport Org Ebrima Jatta, emphasizes the need for capacity to be built in other to maximize the equipment installed in the school, in the same line, use the school as a hub to replicate the implementation strategy to other schools across the country. Equally thanked Internet Society Gambia Chapter- ISOC Gambia for the continuous support in the implementation of projects with respect to Information Technology.

Muhammed Chuka Joof further stated plans are on the way after national assessment of schools across the country, to do a regional training of teachers in the STEM areas, and to be introduced to The Gambia College, with intentions of robust sustainability and adaption strategy.