The recent progress of Educate! is a testament to the wave of momentum building not just behind the organization, but more importantly, behind the idea for which the organization stands: a model of education that helps the next generation solve the greatest problems facing their communities.
Momentum building from the Scholars themselves:
First let me begin with the momentum we see from the incredible Educate! Scholars:
- Lillian Aero, has started a social enterprise called the Good Samaritan Project that trains women affected by HIV/AIDS to make and sell jewelry. Through this enterprise, Lillian has not only created jobs for the 36 women in her group, but is also able to pay for her daughter’s school fees.
- Another student, George William Bakka, started a microfinance organization, Angel Financial Investments, that has provided loans to other students who are starting businesses and initiatives.
- These are just two examples of the 48 community initiatives, and 12 businesses the 830 Educate! Scholars have started.
Momentum building from the broader Ugandan community, and corporations especially:
Everyone at Educate! is grateful for the support we receive from the many different actors who play a crucial role in making our work possible: from the teachers and administrators at our partner schools, to the many wonderful educational NGO’s and advisors who inspire our work. I have been most impressed recently with the commitments made by Ugandan corporations.
Three large, well-respected corporations in Uganda made firm commitments to partner with Educate! and sponsor our work:
- Equity Bank – The third largest bank in Uganda (www.equitybank.co.ke) – has announced an exciting partnership which includes sponsorship of a region of the Educate! Program and professional mentorship for the Scholars from Equity Bank staff. They have also proposed sponsoring internships and jobs for our Scholars upon graduation. Equity Bank has a strong social mission to increase access to finance for the rural poor and serves as an excellent model for our Scholars of a socially responsible company. Jaffar Tonda of Equity Bank officially launched the partnership with Educate! in a speech at our National event in front of representatives from the government, partner schools and major print and televised media outlets in Uganda.
- Chartis Insurance – The largest insurance provider in Uganda, Chartis has made a firm commitment to partner with Educate!
- Britania Enterprises – Manufacturer of the beloved Splash mango and passion fruit juice (which the Educate! team drinks on a daily basis) and tasty cookies, Britania is one of the largest food producers in Uganda and is also interested in sponsoring Educate!’s work.
And finally, the momentum we see from key actors in the education system for Educate!’s model:
- The National Curriculum Development Center, which is currently in the process of redesigning the entrepreneurship curriculum for the entire country, has expressed interest in incorporating Educate!’s social entrepreneurship curriculum into the national curriculum. We are in the beginnings of this conversation and look forward to continuing to help the National Curriculum Development Center and Ministry of Education incorporate Educate!’s model into the national system.
- USAID, the aid agency of the US government, invited Educate! to be a part of discussions to design a holistic strategy to youth development in Uganda.
- The head of education at the World Bank in Uganda has also expressed interest in helping to spread the Educate! model.
The steps Educate! is taking to change the lives of our Scholars and create systemic impact in education is a direct result of the supportive environment and community we are grateful to have for our work. Whether the many extremely generous supporters and foundations in the US and UK – who make all of the above possible – the government of Uganda, or our incredible partner school teachers and administrators, the many people and organizations we are fortunate enough to work with have helped Educate!, and me personally, to learn and grow. Thank you for everything you do for Educate!. With your help, we look forward to more progress in the months and years to come.
Eric Glustrom is the Executive Director and Founder of Educate!. Educate! teaches a two year leadership program to high school students and empowers students to start social initiatives at 24 partner schools across Uganda. Below, read as Ericshares how much the program has grown since its inception and how the Educate! Scholars have transformed into empowered leaders.