Educate! is excited to kick off the 2015 school year in 250 schools and reach 87,500 students! We are also pleased to share that recent monitoring data showed that, in addition to the 40 Scholars who directly receive our program, at least 310 additional students per school benefit from 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. This 310, combined with the 40 youth reached through the Educate! Experience, means that our model reaches a total of 350 youth per school. Click here to read more about 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.
Getting more girls in school is also the key to improving the economy and making strides toward gender equality. Good news from Educate!'s recent impact evaluations supports these claims. "While Educate! Graduates earn more than their peers who didn’t participate in the program, incomes rise even faster for girls. They also enjoy a higher overall increase in business ownership and community project participation."
"Given the data, leaders may be wise to place a premium on targeted business education — giving a generation of African women the opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial spirit." We agree wholeheartedly! Thanks to AFK Insider for an excellent article. Read the full text here: http://afkinsider.com/85410/want-african-entrepreneurs-educate-girls/
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.
Angelica Towne is motivated by the belief that the development of African nations is a necessary step to ending racism globally. As an African American growing up in New York City, she has experienced the positive exchange of resources, support, and skills between communities of the global African diaspora. Angelica would travel to high school everyday from the family shelter where she lived among many immigrants. Her only dream was to attend college because higher education was the promise of a better future. She was awarded a full-tuition merit scholarship to attend college that included one year of youth leadership training.
At Middlebury College, her Pan-African passion turned into transformative action as Angelica began to pilot youth programs in Jamaica and Ethiopia. She witnessed first-hand the low quality, factory style schools in these communities and couldn’t ignore her call to action. All over the African diaspora, the promise of education was being broken by low quality standards and a focus on examinations. She wrote her senior thesis on defining a life-changing education that provides students and their communities the skills to end poverty.
Angelica started Educate! with her cofounders based on the shared values of scale, sustainability, and the power of young people to change the world. Educate! program is now operating in over 250 schools and growing quickly. She also adapted Educate!’s curriculum for use in the Uganda national curriculum and designed a new practical standardized examination, reaching 25,000 young people annually. Angelica is committed to living and working in Africa, starting with building Educate! for over 6 years in Uganda, as she works for the dream of bringing a life-changing education to one million children.
Click here to find out more about the other 2015 Fellows.
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.
They have now started a producer group called Dalmex Shoe Cream, which is supplying shoe polish to Tuskeys, a supermarket chain in Kampala, Uganda.
Congratulations to the Scholars from Kalinabiri on this tremendous achievement!
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.
When Educate! started working with 2014’s newest class of Scholars, none of the students had personal businesses and many were intimidated by the idea of balancing a start-up enterprise with their schoolwork. As part of the Educate! program, students formed a Student Business Club at the start of the summer and together determined to create a student bakery and a stone paver business.
Since students had little startup capital, they initially created the bakery by borrowing equipment from family and friends in the community. They made a variety of snacks and treats and sold them to students for a fair price that made a good profit. By the end of the summer, the students were so successful with this endeavor that they used the profits to buy their own oven. Students are now able to produce enough baked goods to sell to several grocery stores in their district.
The Educate! students at Najjanankumbi also began making stone pavers in an effort to make a profit and to help their school construct a driveway on the compound. Students learned the ins and outs of stone paver making and selling, and similar to the bakery initiative, began advertising stone pavers to businesses outside of the school. As a result, Najjanankumbi now sells pavers to shopping centers and construction sites and reinvests this profit back into the Educate! Student Business Club.
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! Scholar 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."
Tom Ravenscroft is Founder & CEO of Enabling Enterprise
The trouble with being a Founder, is that you never know whether you have happened on a great idea that others passed by – or whether you’ve missed your idea’s fundamental flaw!
So it was incredibly heartening to make the journey from London to Kampala and discover that 4,000 miles away a very similar idea was having a huge impact.
The Story of Enabling Enterprise
In an echo of the founding story of Educate! which was generously shared on our blog last month, Enabling Enterprise grew out of a sense that there was a huge mismatch between what young people needed to succeed in the world – and what the school system was offering.
For me, in 2007 I was a fresh-faced and enthusiastic young teacher and was quickly confronted by the reality of teaching business studies in a challenging inner-city London school.
It soon became obvious that there was rightly a strong focus on the grades that the students would be achieving in their exams, and the qualifications they would leave school with. However, there was no similar energy going into other things that seemed equally essential.
To me, it seemed clear that students also needed to be able to work in and lead teams, to create new ideas, to have an understanding of entrepreneurship and the world of work, and to be resilient in the face of setbacks.
For my students in the UK, I combined the lesson-time project of setting up and running their own business with the opportunity to go on trips to businesses and meet the adults who worked there. The result was students who developed enterprise skills through their business project and who broadened and solidified their aspirations through finding about others’ careers or entrepreneurial endeavours.
Over the last five years, we’ve built from my original class to working with over 35,000 students. We’ve also expanded our remit to make enterprise a core part of the curriculum for 5-18 year-olds – our schools commit to delivering at least one hour every week of dedicated enterprise learning with a business trip each year for the students.
Raising the Stakes
In the UK, we’re pretty unique. So through our shared connection of the Forward Foundation it was inspiring to meet Educate! in Uganda who share so much of the same philosophy and approach.
The challenges for Ugandan youth are certainly sobering: the country has the youngest population in the world (50% under age 15); the highest youth unemployment rate (83%); and the highest youth poverty rate (94%).
I had the privilege in December of spending the morning at the Educate! offices in Kampala we had the chance to meet some of the teacher trainers and sit in on a session – and it was brilliant. Sixty intensive minutes that addressed some of the essentials of why businesses fail – from inadequate finances, taking the profits out too soon, not differentiating from your rivals and more.
Writing this more than half a year later and I vividly remember the energy in the tent – and the sense of urgency. It was particularly powerful that all of the mentors supporting the programme have set up their own businesses, giving them a wealth of experiences to draw from themselves.
Reflecting later, I was inspired by the shared principles between Enabling Enterprise and Educate! – principles which were born out of different experiences but which have much in common:
Principle 1: Young People have huge potential
Both Educate! and Enabling Enterprise have a strong belief in the power and potential of young people. Looking around my classroom, I knew that there was no real reason why my students shouldn’t be able to achieve great things in their futures – whether they chose to enter employment, continue their educations at university, or become entrepreneurs. The founders of Educate! saw the same potential in the young people they worked with in Uganda.
Principle 2: Academic Learning is not enough:
The founders of Educate! saw first-hand the challenge in Uganda – that students were completing school without having developed the skills to be able to thrive in the rest of their lives. While in the UK youth unemployment is a challenge, it’s on a very different scale – but my classroom showed that young people were still leaving school without what they needed for the next step in their lives.
Principle 3: Learning by Doing
My experience of being a UK business studies teacher was that there was a limit to what could be learnt out of a textbook – the theory of how to write an invoice is not an exciting one! So instead at Enabling Enterprise, we focus on learning through the students running a series of collaborative projects – including producing radio shows, publishing magazines, and building up to running their own businesses. Educate! programmes similarly have the same principle by focusing students on setting up their own businesses.
Principle 4: Bringing Experts Along
I realised quickly that my students needed to meet people who had really ‘done it’ so we took them out to a whole variety of businesses to see what the world of work looked and felt like and what it took to be successful. Similarly, Educate! brings in business mentors for the students on their Youth Business Experience who have already been successful in setting up their own businesses – creating brilliant role models for the students.
Principle 5: Changing the System
Both Educate! and Enabling Enterprise are focused on embedding the development of skills in schools – not waiting until a later intervention is needed. Not only that, but it helps shift schools’ perceptions of their own role from passing on knowledge to preparing young people for the rest of their lives. Educate! has helped make entrepreneurship a key part of the curriculum in Uganda for the older students as an option along A-levels whilst Enabling Enterprise works with schools to create dedicated ‘enterprise’ lessons through the timetable.
Principle 6: A Sense of Urgency
The final thing that struck me as I learnt more about Educate! was the scale of the ambition. At Enabling Enterprise, we want every UK student to leave school equipped with the enterprise skills, experiences of work and aspirations for the rest of their lives. For us, that means working with 50,000 students in the next year and Educate! has that same sense of urgency with incredible growth to working with over 20,000 students this year.
Ultimately, young people share a huge amount - whether in the UK or Uganda. They all need enterprise skills, experiences of the world and aspirations to make the most of their lives.
It’s invigorating to know that 4,000 miles away from our work in London, the young people in Uganda are similarly building their futures – and that we can learn a lot from their experience too.
Educate! is proud to share team member James K Arinaitwe’s New York Times Op-Ed article advocating for the need for improved education and skills development in Uganda to create opportunities for youth as an alternative to joining terrorist and rebel groups.
James’ own story of nearly joining a rebel group as a young boy orphaned by age 10 and in search of opportunity underscores the importance of our model. James offers his thoughts on what he knows, and what we at Educate! believe, is the most effective way to create change: “Quality education that provides Uganda’s youth with critical thinking skills and a path to stable jobs is the best way to curb corruption and neutralize the attraction of rebel and terrorist groups.” James is an inspiration who exemplifies the power of Educate!’s work. Not only has he transformed his own life but he is working to empower youth across Africa.
Today, James is presenting a case study of Educate!’s work on a panel hosted by Results for Development Institute (R4D) on skills development and education to address youth unemployment. The event, described in yesterday’s Washington Post article, marks a milestone for R4D in their work on secondary education and skills, which has Educate! as one of eight case studies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
James will be presenting alongside leading youth actors such as the Mastercard Foundation and Making Cents International. It’s an exciting moment for James and Educate!.
James’s Op-Ed and the R4D report highlight the need for organizations like Educate! to reach more youth. Thank you for supporting us as we scale our model to reach 100,000 youth annually in Uganda and expand to three new countries in the next 10 years and work to create the future of secondary education in Africa.
Congratulations to Educate! Scholar Aero Lillian Olok, founder of Generate for Generations! Olok and her self-sustaining enterprise recently received two awards: Best Young Employer of the year by the Federation of Uganda Employers and the Best Micro Enterprise of the year 2013 by the International Labor Organization Uganda.
Olok founded Generate for Generations, formerly Namugungo Good Samaritan Project, in 2009 as a resource for widows and single mothers affected by HIV/AIDS. Through the entrepreneurial production of intricate bead jewelry, the enterprise has created jobs for numerous women and raised esteem about their economic potential. More information about the enterprise is available at www.generateforgenerations.org.
In addition to her awards, we are also excited for Lillian as she is currently participating in the highly-competitive Kanthari Institute Leadership Course in Trivandrum, India! We know she will grow so much from the experience and we wish her safe travels and lots of learning!
There’s nothing better than when it all comes together. And for us, 2014 is coming together in a monumental way. After extensive research, development, and planning in 2013, Educate! is thrilled to announce that last month we expanded our reach and successfully launched the Educate! model in over 200 schools across Uganda.
Increasing our work from 54 schools in 2013 to over 200 in 2014 means our model will reach more than 20,000 students this year. What’s more, we are now that much closer to our Ten Year Vision of reaching 100,000 students annually in Uganda and expanding into three different countries.
We also love when it all comes together for our Scholars and partner schools—like with their Community Days, which over 85% of our schools will host by the end of the month. As part of Educate!’s curriculum, Community Days challenge Scholars to develop their own leadership skills by connecting with local government and community leaders to identify and develop projects that can help the community.
Iki Iki High School
New partner school Iki Iki High School hosted their first Community Day in early April, where students worked enthusiastically and tirelessly cleaning their school and surrounding community, including the trading center, police compound, and a local health center.Scholars saw the impact they can have on their community and gained experience engaging with local policy makers.Community members came out to express their support and were in awe of the students’ work!
Of course, we must extend a huge thank you to all of our supporters for believing in us and making the dreams of Educate!, and our budding entrepreneurs, a reality.
Without you, none of this is possible.
At Educate! we can’t resist sharing a good story.
Late last year The Forward Foundation visited Uganda to spend time with our inspiring Scholars and staff. They put together incredible profiles and videos that we are eager to share with you. Take a look.
Ernest – Uganda’s Star Baker
“I live in a remote village. I was looking for baked products but there was nothing. I thought ‘I should make them.’ And that is where it all started.”
Ernest launched Satiety Bakery when he was still in school and now, through Educate!’s Youth Business Accelerator, he is developing the skills to expand his enterprise. Learn about the rise of Ernest's business and the role his Educate! Mentor played in his success.
Otim and Educate!’s Invisible Hand
Otim began his work with Educate! as a Mentor, helping to empower and challenge students. Now Otim works as Educate!’s Senior Program Coordinator for Design and Training and, in this capacity, we are excited to share that Otim has also recently been selected for Acumen’s third cohort of East Africa Fellows.
Listen to Otim talk about the “crazy wild dreams” of some of his students and you’ll see why he has been accepted into this great program.
We hope you are as inspired by Ernest and Otim as we are, and that you’ll share these stories with those around you.
We are excited at Educate! to announce that, for the second year in a row, members of our leadership team have been recognized by Forbes as being part of the 30 under 30 who are changing the world in 2014.
Boris Bulayev, Executive Director; Eric Glustrom, Board of Directors; and Angelica Towne, Country Director, are recognized on this year’s list for social entrepreneurs.
Please join us in congratulating Eric, Boris, and Angelica for making this prestigious list of people “reinventing the world right now.”
From our Executive Director, Boris:
Educate! was recently thrilled to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, which brings together leaders to “Create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.”
While at the Annual Meeting we announced our commitment to scale Educate!'s transformational experience-based education model to reach 35,000 Ugandan high school students across 200 schools over the next two years. We currently work with 7,000 students across 54 schools.
I was lucky enough to represent the amazing team of almost 60 Educate! staff at this amazing series of events.
Educate!’s model provides business and leadership training, mentorship, and experience starting an enterprise, all with a highly trained teacher, for 16-20 students in their last two years of high school in Uganda. We have a proven model and are thrilled to take it to more students in Uganda and eventually to other countries across Africa!
One great example of Educate!’s success attended CGI with me. Joseph Munyambanza, Co-founder and Education Director of COBURWAS, attended and presented on a panel about unlocking educational opportunities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo alongside the country’s education minister.
Joseph is one of Educate!’s first students and was recently recognized by the Diplomatic Courier and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy as one of the Top 99 under age 33. While in New York, he received an award at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park in front of 60,000 people! Everyone at Educate! is extremely proud and excited for Joseph and his continued success!
While reaffirming our commitment to scaling our model to at least 35,000 students in the next two years at the CGI Annual Meeting, Educate! also spent the week connecting with outstanding organizations, corporations and foundations, undertaking meaningful work to develop the leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Together, with the impressive group of organizations at the CGI Annual Meeting, we are creating a global movement for innovative solutions to the world’s greatest problems.
Our Scholars are incredibly creative. Check out stories below for how two of them turned their love of craft-making and weaving into businesses through the lessons they learned from the Educate! Business Club.
Immaculate Nanyemba: The Educate! Business Club at Immaculate’s secondary school was focused on craft-making as one of its enterprises. Immaculate got very involved in making crafts for the business club and was not ready to stop once she graduated. With income raised through selling snacks, Immaculate brought together a group of women in her community to make and sell artistic crafts. Today, Immaculate’s business earns an average $100 every month from local sales.
Geofrey Kalya: Upon completing secondary school, Geofrey had valuable skills as a talented weaver, and with guidance from his Educate! Mentor he resolved to match his skills in weaving with those in entrepreneurship he worked on with Educate! Geofrey identified a big opportunity to make sweaters for schools. He lacked start-up capital, but he did not let this deter him. Instead, he teamed up with a friend to start a sweater weaving business that has now grown to employ two other people. Together, Geofrey and his business partners have established an outlet in Kampala to display and sell their sweaters. They earn an average of $200 per month.