Chums Partnership

Students at The Key School make global connections in part as members of the Chums Partnership, a collaboration between students and teachers in three schools on three continents. Since 2005, a partnership between Key School, Chumbageni Primary School in Tanzania, and Somers Park Primary School in England has served to deepen international friendships and broaden understandings of diverse communities around the world.

The core objectives of the partnership are to foster global citizenship, emphasize interdependence among citizens and places around the world, and to share experiences and ideas through engagement in environmental sustainability projects in each school's community.

Key joined the Chums partnership when a relationship was established between Key and Somers Park through Global Gateway, a program that works to develop collaborations between schools around the world. Somers Park was looking for an American school to join their existing partnership with Chumbageni. Key saw this triangular global link across three continents as a wonderful opportunity for the School’s students to broaden their understanding of the world community, and eagerly committed to the partnership.

The three schools chose the name Chums to honor the students at Chumbageni and to reference the students’ international friendships.

Global Citizenship

The first step towards improving education for all is to build our students' global citizenship skills. A good education needs to include opportunities to get to know children from different countries and learn more about their schools, families, communities, beliefs and values. Through these personal contacts, students not only gain knowledge about their global village, they also form relationships that make them truly care about finding solutions to global problems—such as poverty, disease and a lack of clean water—that stand in the way of education for all.

Through the Chums partnership, our students and teachers have engaged in regular, long-term communication via email, web conferencing and student/teacher visits between partner schools. Although originally designed for our First and Lower School students, the partnership has expanded to involve students throughout all divisions.

Environmental Sustainability

A shared commitment to environmental sustainability is one of the three core objectives of the Chums program. Students engage in environmental sustainability projects at each of the Chums schools and share their ideas and experiences with one another through the partnership.

This commitment was put into practice at a summer 2006 meeting in Malvern, England of teachers and administrators from the Chums schools, where it was agreed that the three schools would focus their sustainable practices study on water conservation issues. Curricula and projects were developed across a number of grade levels at the schools to help students learn and share information about rain water harvesting, sources of clean drinking water in their communities, and garden irrigation. Through those projects, students developed a better understanding of both the productive and nonproductive uses of water in our three different parts of the world.

As this work has progressed, our students have continued to collaborate to identify and implement possible methods to help ensure that clean water is available to all.


Throughout our continued partnership, a number of projects have been developed, designed to encourage the ideals of education for all.

Projects have included:

  • Key's Middle School Social Action Club collecting gently used books to send to Chumbageni
  • Creating and selling African animal note cards and calendars to raise funds to build a Kindergarten classroom at Chumbageni
  • Creation of CHUMS4Watoto, a parent/teacher community group at Chumbageni and Somers Park that is delivering continued secondary education for orphaned pupils. It has charitable status in the UK, and the first 16 pupils were placed in a local High School in January 2008. It is anticipated the group will grow to more than 100 students. Pupils are orphaned through AIDS, malaria, dysentery, TB, etc. Their school fees, equipment costs, uniform, medical needs, and accommodation are all funded.
  • Provision of a water retention and distribution system at Chumbageni Primary School to serve a community of 8,000. As Chumbageni's water currently has to be purchased, the savings will be used for books and other educational needs.
  • The completion of a computer room at Chumbageni Primary School with broadband internet access allowing for more frequent communication between the partner schools.
  • Key's third and fourth grades maintain ongoing pen pal projects with students at both Somers Park and Chumbageni, respectively.
  • Every year, Kindergarten participates in a "Run for Chumbageni" project, raising funds for the purchase of new desks and additional toilets at Chumbageni.
  • A drip irrigation project provides an opportunity for interested Key School sixth graders to work with Kindergarten students. Older students teach the younger ones how the Chapin Living Waters bucket drip irrigation system works and why it is so important to conserve water. The system accomplishes this by using rainwater collected in a rain barrel to water the gardens.

Partnership Timeline

2005Partnership between Key, Chumbageni & Somers Park established.
2006Chums Partnership received 20/20 Challenge Grant from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) to fund future collaborative projects.
2007Installation of computer classroom and broadband internet access at Chumbageni completed, allowing for quicker and more frequent communication and collaboration between the three partner schools.
2008Creation of CHUMS4Watoto, a community group designed to deliver continued secondary education for orphaned students at Chumbageni.
2010Teachers from both Chumbageni and Somers Park visted Key for the first time.
2011Teachers from Key visited Chumbageni to meet with students and faculty, assist with implementing a garden drip irrigation system, and begin developing an opportunity for Key Upper School students to visit.
2013Upper School students traveled to Tanzania, completing a seventeen-day service learning adventure during which they helped paint classrooms and designed a mural depicting the transcontinental partnership.
2014Key students and faculty were featured presenters at the Association of Independent Maryland and DC Schools (AIMS) professional development conference, discussing Key's work in establishing and maintaining global education partnerships.
2015Teachers from both Chumbageni and Somers Park visited Key and collaborated with Kindergarteners on the Barrels by the Bay rain barrel project and installation, demonstrated to third graders how students at Chumbageni make footballs out of everyday household items, and participated in Upper and Middle School Global Studies classroom discussions.
2017Development of the Sharing Hearts Project, an art exchange between Somers Park and Key representing symbols of peace and friendship.
2018Upper School students and faculty to visit Chumbageni.

Global Partnership Agreement

Chums: Triangular Global School Partnership

Chums is a partnership of three schools that spans three continents of Africa, North America and Europe. Chumbageni Primary School at Tanga, Tanzania; The Key School, an independent school at Annapolis, Maryland, USA; and Somers Park Primary at Malvern, Worchestershire, UK constitute the group. The group name evolves from Chumbageni School and the affectionate English term for friends: chums.

The primary aim of the group is to develop a strong ethos of the global village for the pupils of all three schools, creating a strong channel of communication between pupils to deliver understanding of differing and shared beliefs, values and concepts.

To achieve this global village ethos all three schools commit to two core objectives:

  • Strategies to develop the knowledge and skills that individual pupils have a positive awareness of citizenship, and the confidence to make a contribution locally and globally. Vitally linked to this is a clear idea of our interdependence with personal responsibilities for contributions to that relationship.
  • Each school will endeavour to develop strong sustainability practices as a result of shared ideas, skills and knowledge.

This aim, and the two core objectives, will be delivered through the following shared actions:

  • The achievement of regular, confident and persistent communications between lead staff at each school to plan, regulate, monitor and audit developments to ensure goals are achieved and high standards of relationships are enjoyed by all in the three communities.
    • A regular e-email route between the three groups, with all communications copied to the third party, will ensure disciplined and continued responses.
  • Visits to be arranged wherever possible between the three groups, or two sides of the triangle, to allow conferencing to take place.
    • This will permit exchanges of good learning practice in the three schools, so strengthening the quality of provision for pupils in all three schools. Staff can discuss leadership and management issues, teaching and learning styles.
  • Pupils will find a variety of forms for communicating appropriate to their age to ensure they build up a relationship with partners in each school that can be developed over a long period of time.
    • This will include an exchange of cuddly animals for five to seven year olds that travel to pupils homes with photos and diaries kept before being send to the second and then third school. Seven to nine year olds will write to each other and exchange art work, nine to eleven year olds will employ e-mail and send electronic images.
  • The three schools will exchange artifacts, images, flags, maps and symbols so that these may be displayed in each school and used as teaching aids.
  • Each school will have a dedicated area that symbolises and celebrates the link between the three.
    • This might be a display board, artifact table, zone or class area.
  • Each school will plan to incorporate the study of the localities of the other two within their geography, history, or PSHE programmes.
  • Sustainability will be a significant part of discussions and linked work between the three schools.
    • Tree planting will take place at all three schools as symbols of the life force of the link and as contributions to the local micro climate. Schools will communicate to each other sustainability issues for each environment and strategies employed to secure improvements. This will form a vital theme at any conferencing.
  • Each school will seek to promote the work of Chums in the surrounding community, promoting the objectives of the triangle and seeking support in achieving those goals and continuing their good practice.

This statement has been agreed between the three lead teachers representing the constitute schools:

Chumbageni Primary Shool
Mr. Mighty Kileo

The Key School
Mrs. Wendy Weymouth

Somers Park Primary School
Mr. Stuart Sewell

Chums Teachers Visit Key School, June 2010

A Visit to Chumbageni Primary School, 2011