You may remember a story we shared recently about Educate! Scholar Blessed Grace and her successful rabbit-raising business.
Educate! is thrilled to announce that we are one of 15 projects selected by the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE), a collaboration between Dubai Cares, Echidna Giving, Intel Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation and an anonymous donor. The investments announced by PSIPSE will increase the participation, quality and relevance of secondary education for economically disadvantaged and marginalized children in developing countries.
In honor of the first ever World Youth Skills day, Loren Crary, Educate!'s Director of External Relations, and Nicole Goldin, Educate! board member and Senior Associate and Director of the Youth, Prosperity, and Security Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, each authored a piece discussing the importance of skills-based education.
On April 25th Educate! held its National Student Business Club competition to exhibit and celebrate the huge achievements of its 2014 Business Clubs! The competition was an opportunity for Scholars to showcase their Club projects, as well as the public speaking, presentation and business skills they learned through Educate!.
Educate! is thrilled to announce an exciting new partnership with The School Fund and Schools Building Schools. A matching gift campaign with these partners will fund four Educate! schools, reaching 350 students per school for a total of 1,400 students! These 1,400 students will have the opportunity to participate in a practical model of education, comprised of leadership and entrepreneurship training, mentorship and experience starting a business. You can join the campaign, learn more about the four schools being funded and double your impact by visiting http://theschoolfund.org/educate.
One of Educate!’s strengths lies in our strong in-country leadership. As of January 2015, our Uganda team is being led by two Ugandan women, Country Director Sarah Kayondo, and Program Director Hawah Nabbuye, who were promoted from their previous roles of Deputy Country Director and Deputy Program Director, respectively. The strength of our local team in Uganda creates room for our previous Country and Program Directors – now Global Director of Programs and Director of Policy and Partnerships, respectively – to support strategic investments in program quality and to have the time to explore opportunities for new country expansion.
Educate! kicked off the 2015 school year in Uganda last month, further scaling our model to reach 250 schools and more than 87,000 students! This means that we’re reaching 350 youth per school, a number verified by recent monitoring data, which found that in addition to the 40 Scholars who directly receive our leadership and entrepreneurship training program, at least 310 additional students per school benefit from other components of the Educate! Experience. These include working with Experience Association teachers and other school-wide activities such as Student Business Clubs, required peer mentorship by Scholars and Community Days. This is a significant increase from our initial very conservative estimate of 60 additional students impacted through our model.
Angelica Towne, Co-Founder of Educate!, knows that when girls, their families, and their communities see education as an investment that can have a direct and measurable impact on their lives, more girls will receive the opportunity for a quality education. “When [girls] see that education can lead to power and independence, they are more likely to pursue education,” she says in a recent interview with AFK Insider.
The Global Good Fund Fellowship is a 15-month program supporting the leadership development of young social entrepreneurs across the globe. The Global Good Fund invests in these innovators by pairing them with executives who serve as Coaches, and by providing leadership assessment resources, a network of peers, sector expertise, and targeted financial capital. Click here find out more about the GGF fellowship.
At the end of 2014, a global organization held a national business competition of over 500 schools. Educate! scholars from Kalinabiri Secondary School were awarded the Project Innovation Award! Their projects were liquid soap, shoe polish and crafts. They were interviewed on NTV & UBC and asked how they learned the skills. They replied by thanking their Educate! Mentor and the Educate! organization for equipping them with the knowledge and skills to start their businesses.
Najjanankumbi Young Christian Secondary School is a mixed boarding and day school located in Uganda’s capital city, Kampala. Educate! has worked in Najjanankumbi since 2013, and the program has made a huge impact on both students and teachers. One teacher involved in Educate!’s teacher training component has been selected in a nationwide innovations in teaching competition for ideas he developed in Educate! seminars. This teacher is a huge advocate of Educate!’s model and interactive teaching methods and will be involved in the final round of the innovations competition in February 2015. Najjanankumbi’s head teacher has also been extremely supportive of his students’ Educate! projects. The head teacher keeps a scrapbook in his office full of photos of the Educate! Business Club activities and is always encouraging his students to aim higher.
In a thought-provoking recent article from AFKInsider about the dangers of predatory microlending, Loren Crary, Educate!'s Director of External Relations, offered some perspective about the role of microfinance in developing small enterprises.
The article notes that many of the world's poorest have become overburdened by debt from microfinance institutions, and that microfinance's true effects are not well-understood. The author wonders if perhaps there is a safer alternative to debt for encouraging entrepreneurs from the bottom of the pyramid.
Loren comments that in the Educate! model, "while the organization does partner with microlenders and teaches students about accessing capital, the students’ age puts a necessary boundary around borrowing." Instead of encouraging scholars to take out large sums of money in debt, Educate! provides education about how to save and build capital. Loren offered the following example: "We teach stuff like how to make liquid soap. It’s not a high margin business but there’s almost always a market, so it’s a way for people just starting out to build capital so they can invest in their next project.”
Savings and financial literacy are crucial components of the Educate! model. One key indicator we focus on in evaluating our programs is whether graduates have adopted formal savings strategies and created business plans. Our scholars are always our top priority, and we are proud to champion rigorous monitoring and evaluation of our programs.
We thank Loren and AFKInsider for this fresh perspective. See the full article here: http://afkinsider.com/78754/unchecked-microfinance-overburdens-poor-south-africans/
A recent article at AFKInsider interviewed Educate! Director of External Relations Loren Crary about the potential of entrepreneurship to fuel development in African countries. Speaking about Educate! scholars, Loren says, “When you see what small investment in a young person’s skills can do and where they can take it, it’s really exciting.”
At Educate!, we believe that African youth are an untapped resource, and that youth can fuel the creation of a robust market economy. Through mentorship, business skills training, and practical experience, Educate! scholars are prepared to start their own businesses and to be part of the solution to youth unemployment and poverty.
In addition, the article notes that development goals are served by a focus on entrepreneurship: "entrepreneurship might also present a path to steady and powerful economic growth. After all, the American economy rests firmly on the strength of its small businesses, which comprise about half of the private sector and 99% of all firms. Could the same hold true for Africa? More immediately, growing entrepreneurship also means the potential for more home-grown multinationals, and for attracting foreign partners, investors, and acquirers."
Educate! is proud to support the young leaders of Africa. We thank Loren for her insightful words and AFKInsider for a thought-provoking article! Read it for yourself here:
Educate! Graduate Blessed was featured in a story in the Ugandan Daily Monitor today. Blessed has a successful rabbit raising business that she started after tasting rabbit for the first time at her grandmother's house back in February. She checked all the shops and supermarkets but could not find any that sold rabbit meat, and she immediately decided to fill that niche.
Using the entrepreneurial skills she learned through Educate! at Namugongo Secondary and Vocational school in Jjanda, she purchased 5 rabbits-1 male and 4 females. Four months later she boasts 70 rabbits on her farm, collects rabbits from other farmers, and employs 5 people to help her process the rabbits to make meat and sausages. Her business makes almost $200 a month and she is saving money to expand her business and to pay for her university tuition.
Educate! is proud of Blessed and her successful rabbit raising business!
After launching Satiety Bakery, a cake business he started while a student and Educate! Scholar in his remote village in Uganda, Ernest nearly gave up. “I thought it was too much work,” he said. “But Educate! picked me up.”
Ernest credits his Educate! Mentor with giving him the motivation to persist in his business. “I started putting in more effort. I started packaging my products and I would go with a sample and tell businesses they can earn money by selling my products. Mentor Carole has watched over me like a saint and my business has grown and grown.”
Ernest’s experience, and the power of the Educate! model, were validated in a recent Gallup study. The research explored the linkages between education and long-term success in the workplace and found:
Successful students had one or more teachers who were mentors and took a real interest in their aspirations, and they had an internship related to what they were learning in school.
Gallup found that students needed not just to learn skills; they needed someone to mentor them while they learned them and to put those skills into practice. This type of education is exactly what Educate! works to integrate into secondary education systems in Africa.
The growing frustration of unemployed youth in Uganda, and elsewhere in Africa, underscores the urgent need for proven solutions, like Educate!, to the high youth unemployment rates all over Sub-Saharan Africa. With 94% of Educate! graduates running a business, holding a job, or attending university we’re thrilled to bring our model to more youth through our plans to scale massively and reach 1 million youth annually across Africa in 10 years.
A recent McKinsey Voices post by Fred Swaniker, Founder and CEO of African Leadership Academy, focuses on the importance of providing Africa's youth bulge with opportunity and specifically entrepreneurial training. Swaniker concludes that Africa is a "ticking time bomb" unless African youth are provided with the skills to create their own jobs, just like the Educate! program does. Check it out!
"So what does the average unemployed youth look like in Africa? She is an 18-year-old girl, living in a rural area, literate but not attending school. Building her skills, reaping her energy, and realizing her aspirations would help every African country improve its living standards and ignite economic growth. Empowering her with opportunities to reach and apply her full potential is both our most important challenge and our most vital opportunity."