Women Education Officers
While nurses often had to adapt to trying conditions and deal with emergencies not met in their homeland, their work was well defined in professional terms, carried out mainly in hospitals or clinics, and wholeheartedly seen as beneficial by the local populace. Women education officers, in contrast, were far more closely engaged in the contradictory and ambiguous processes of social and cultural change. Their work, by its very nature, helped to shape the intellect and consciousness, the skills and habits, of young persons growing up in cultures very different from their own. In a few places they met with opposition from all sides: from the girls coming to school, their parents and grandparents, Nigerian rulers and district heads, a few European administrative officers and even some of their male colleagues in the education department. This led them to searching questions about how to create a congenial atmosphere for learning and a curriculum related to the local environment as well as to aspirations for the future. Mediating between two cultures, they had to improvise and innovate.
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