The Educate! Program
What started as four separate programs is now developing into a comprehensive Educate! program, which encourages the three themes of education, social entrepreneurship, and socially responsible leadership – what we believe to be a powerful combination to empower students to improve their societies. We plan to implement each aspect of the program at partner secondary schools so that the individual components of the program synergize with each other to maximize the benefit for the students involved. In addition, the administration, teachers, and students are all involved such that the overall culture of the school is improved – something we have learned to be crucial in determining the quality of education offered by a school.
The four aspects of the program are:
1. Student sponsorship: Selecting students with a lot of potential, who otherwise would not be able to afford an education, to attend our partner schools. The students sponsored become key individuals in the next three programs.
2. Community service clubs: Formed at each partner school, the clubs give students a chance to gain practical experience in leadership and social entrepreneurship by developing sustainable projects that benefit the community.
3. The Educate! leadership institute: A three phase program which 1. Provides training and skills in socially responsible leadership and social entrepreneurship, and 2. Acts as a project incubator to help students develop, implement, and expand their own project ideas. The first phase of the institute is a one day seminar held at each of our partner schools. The second phase of the institute is a weekend long seminar which brings together students from each partner school to a central location. The third phase of the institute is a two month long seminar for recent graduates of secondary school which works with students in a mentorship/consulting context to help them implement, develop, and expand their ideas to benefit society (potentially turning those ideas into a job for themselves and/or others).
4. Socially responsible leadership course: A two year course for 25-30 students taught during A level (5th and 6th years of secondary school). The students participating develop a community which strengthens the values encouraged by the course. Upon graduation, the values are continually renewed and strengthened through an alumni program.
The next question is how is Educate! going to implement the program. We are looking to Teach for America for the answer.
Teach for America has developed a model which recruits the top graduates from the top universities in the US and places them at the most underprivileged schools where their help is needed the most.
Educate! is looking to do the same here in Uganda. We would hire top graduates from Ugandan universities and place them as mentors in our partner schools to implement each aspect of the program. The mentors would provide support for the sponsored students, act as the patron of the community service club, run the first phase of the leadership institute, and teach the two year course in socially responsible leadership. Each mentor would be placed at five schools of similar geographic location, probably spending one day at each school. We believe the permanent presence of the mentor at each school, the contribution of the mentor to the culture of the school, and the connection between the mentor and the students will be crucial to the success of the program. We have received a lot of support for the mentor idea from our Ugandan advisory board, partner schools, and other individuals and organizations.
Now we are looking to what incentives we can provide our partner schools for allowing us to implement these programs. The education system here is so test based that anything which takes students away from studying for the national exams is discouraged, especially in more well established schools. One idea which was suggested is for the mentors to teach a course in the standard curriculum (probably science or math because there is a shortage of teachers in these subjects). As the program becomes established, we hope to be able to prove through statistics that participation actually increases test scores by encouraging confidence and critical thinking. Until then we may need to provide incentives, like the one above, such that schools are willing to give us some of their students’ time.
Mutume Robert Sempa
Mutume Robert Sempa, in his final year at Kyambogo Univeristy, has been crucial in the development of the ideas behind these programs. We have been working together closely for the past several weeks, bouncing ideas off each other, and doing outreach to potential partner schools. Thanks to the meetings he has set up with his numerous contacts we have also introduced the Educate! program to relevant individuals and organizations, including the National Curriculum Development Center and the Ministry of Education.
I am Joseph Munyambanza of Educate! students in Uganda. I live in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement Camp.This is the 12th year since we left our country DRC (1996).
I have got my primary education from Ugnada. And now I’m in S5 doing physics, mathematics, economics, and entrepreneurship. My aim is to become an engineer with entrepreneurship knowledge. At the same time I am taking another subject called discipleship. Discipleship is a lesson which is based on one being a leader and apply the principles of Jesus. It is a very important subject in my future career. For example, being a servant leader, forgiving those who have done bad things to my country, uniting people from different tribes, countries, and many other things which my home country has never practiced.
I do train myself in leadership life so as to become strong enough in the future. I serve on the Educate! student board of directors. This board is made up of four students and we all work together with Educate! directors (Eric and Boris). We serve as mediators between students and Eric and Boris.
During the holidays we organize seminars, drama, conferences to share with the fellow youth in the camp our future goals. In this we encourage one another, promote love and oneness. Because of the problems I have passed through and seeing more troubles preparing to destroy a lot of people, I therefore feel responsible and wish others to have social responsibility to overcome problems in future. I also coach/tutor primary students during the holiday. I saw it as one of my social responsibilities since many students mostly girls could drop out of school because of failing in class. Failing in class is due to poor schools without good teachers in the refugee camp. When I witnessed many of them dropping out I felt unsecured because they are the ones we’ll work together to bring our country at peace. Therefore, I mobilized other students who got quality education through Educate!’s help to come and join me. Now most of them are back in schools with complete determination to make positive changes in DRC and Africa. However, most of them get a problem of school fess at secondary level. School fees has been a big challenge because most of them are orphans and those with parents still cannot afford it because in the camp no way to get money.
In the camp we established a club “COBURWAS Educate! club” and I am the youth secretary. The details of this club can be found in the peopleweaver.com website: www.peopleweaver.com.
Here are my questions and observations about what is happening in Africa, worse of it in DRC.
“When men fall down, do they not get up? When a man turns away does he not return?” Why do DR Congo’s leaders always turn away from the sources of peace? They cling to deceit. They refuse to return to righteousness. They have lost the spirit of integrity!
I have observed and listened attentively, but they doe not say what is right. No one repents of his wickedness. And say “What have I done?” Each pursues his own course like soldiers charging for a battle.Everyone is aware of their corruption and the whole world has already known of their killing fellow Africans.But what pains me much is that many people do not know the requirements for us to have peace in DRC and Africa.
The solution for Africa is not anywhere else but inside Africans hearts!
Let us join our hands together, practice what we say, stop corruption, stop tribalism by treating others the way we want others to treat us, develop the social responsibilities of our continent. We promote education as the key to success.
Africans have kept bitterness in hearts. We neither forgive nor forget the past evil things done to us unless we make our minds to start positive relationship we will all suffer miserably. Bitterness in the heart is a very strong poison for one’s life. It’s impossible to plan positively with a bitter heart. If you feel bitter against someone it is hard for you to help him or her neither can you accept help from the person you hate. Of course one’s heart is the source of his development and destruction and you cannot keep milk and poison together. Try it and take as a drink, soon you’ll kick the bucket (die). The bomb does not favour the bomb manufacturer and the bitterness has no favour for the owner of the heart. We have poisoned ourselves many times. Let us learn a lesson from the bees the way they live together in harmony, work together in the bee-hive, and manufacture sweet honey. Aren’t we more wise than bees and stronger than they are? Can’t we make Africa a better home than a bee-hive; can’t we manufacture good things sweeter honey?
For my case and those who mind of Africa, will carry the weapon of determination to transform Africa into a good homeland not a slaughtering place. Make it manufacture honey and milk not flowing blood. I could rather die in the struggle for honey and milk for Africans and myself than foolishly rushing for poisoning myself with bitterness. Though I am in the refugee camp, I have learnt how to forgive and forget. Revenging cannot have an end because if I revenge on my enemy his friend will come in future to revenge on me and this will continue forever. It is better for all of us to accept the mistakes not behave like chameleon or bat.
We always give our culture bad image through tribalism, why? Personally most of the help I get is not from my tribemates and he who has not yet experienced favour from other tribes will be favour on time. Then why do we hate one another busing on tribes? Many Africans still cannot marry from other tribes which could make us live in harmony. I wish to emphasize mostly in young Africans from all tribes.
All young ones are so innocent but are misled by the elders. They are misled by the time they get to know things the elders start to tell them a history of their tribes, enemy tribes, plans for their tribes and so on.They end up taking poison also and many have fallen victim of this.
My advice to all young and elders in Africa to avoid this poison of tribalism and if one has taken it to be safe he/she should vomit it or else it will kill many.
Let us learn a lesson from the mistakes our elders made and start a caring relationship please. Let us call one another brothers and sisters. We all need support from each other. Our mother land needs our cooperation for its prosperity. Let us challenge our elders who have taken the poison and some of them may be rescued. Let us be ourselves not our elders.
In conclusion, I am calling all young Africans to start building a strong foundation for Africa to have peace.We are all brothers and others are our sisters.
My contact is email@example.com. Join me and do what others have not done for our mother land.
Brother Joseph Munyambanza
The Educate! program focuses on encouraging a combination of education, socially responsible leadership, and social entrepreneurship in order to accomplish our mission of educating and empowering the next generation of socially responsible leaders in Africa.
Education offers the knowledge and credentials necessary to help students expand their realm of possibilities for the future. Socially responsible leadership encourages students to use their potential in a socially responsible way to positively benefit society on a large scale. But why social entrepreneurship?
Traditional entrepreneurship focuses solely on profit, the bottom line. Much of the developed world has progressed wearing these “profit blinders.” And as a result, the Western world has created a model of development that is unfortunately unsustainable. From the impact on the global environment, to the energy crisis, to the need to exploit other societies to maintain our own level of consumption, the Western model of development is not one which can, nor should, be replicated on a worldwide scale. Social entrepreneurship, on the other hand, is the next evolution of entrepreneurship. Where traditional entrepreneurship has one bottom line, social entrepreneurship has two: profit and impact. Where traditional entrepreneurship leads naturally to the unsustainable exploitation of mankind and the environment, social entrepreneurship is conscious of societal and environmental impact and creates a path of development that leads to a sustainable means of existence.
As Uganda develops, why replicate the unsustainable model on which much of the developed world relies? The infrastructure and institutions of development here are in the process of being created. As Uganda fills in its blank slate of development, instead of replicating the Western model, why not find a new model based on sustainability? We believe social entrepreneurship is a necessary building block of such a model.
I’m planning on posting again soon about some exciting developments in the ideas behind the Educate! program. So keep checking back in the next few days for more.
On a side note, this afternoon I’m going to visit Joseph Munyambanza at Cornerstone Leadership Academy. It’s an overnight trip and I’m excited to not only to visit Joseph, but also to see Cornerstone, sit in on classes, and learn more about the philosophy of the school.
The focus of the work of the past week has been on three main areas: 1. Educate! community service clubs and the leadership and social entrepreneurship institute; 2. Developing our student selection process; and 3. Creating the preliminary (and this is still in the very early stages) plan to incorporate social entrepreneurship training into the curriculum of the Ugandan school system.
Community service clubs/leadership institute: We are working with a great pilot school in Mbale (eastern Uganda) called Mt. Masaba HS. Our main contact at Mt. Masaba is Aramanzan Madanda, who was born and raised in the rural communities outside of Mbale, worked his way through school by starting a string of businesses (some more profitable, such as selling peanuts, than others, such as selling sugar cane, as he told us), became a lecturer at Makerere University, is now in the process of doing a joint research project with a university in Sweden, and is one of the founders of Mt. Masaba HS.
Madanda, four teachers, and 36 students at Mt. Masaba are developing an excellent model for an Educate! community service club, which they call ESTEAM. This includes setting up meetings between students and community leaders to survey the challenges the community faces, developing a plan for how the students can help address those needs, then creating sustainable projects led by the students to empower the community to satisfy those needs.
The community service club will naturally lead to Educate!’s leadership and social entrepreneurship institute. The students involved in the club will become the participants in the institute, which aims to provide training in leadership and social entrepreneurship and empower students through one-on-one mentorship to develop and expand the project ideas they have already begun to plan and implement – the institute thus acts like an incubator for the student’s projects.
We are looking to roll out the model being developed at Mt. Masaba to additional secondary schools around the country.
Selection Process: I am working to redo our student sponsorship application and selection criteria. The application will then be distributed via our partner schools, community leaders, and NGO’s (still working on making more of these contacts) to high potential students who are not able to afford a quality education.
Eventually, I see our student sponsorship program merging with the community service clubs and leadership institute to create a comprehensive Educate! “program.” The program would work with students to provide them a quality education (through our sponsorship program) and training and encouragement in leadership and social entrepreneurship (through the community service clubs and institute). The combination of education, leadership, and social entrepreneurship, we believe, is a powerful tool to help maximize the positive impact students have on their society, both now and in their future careers.
Social entrepreneurship curriculum: Still in it’s very early stages, I am working with Mutume Robert Sempa, a university student in his final year at Kyambogo, to develop a proposal that will attempt to incorporate the ideas of social entrepreneurship into a governmental initiative to develop and expand their current entrepreneurship curriculum. More on this to come in later entries.
On a personal note, I spent Easter weekend on an island in the middle of the Nile with some of The Real Uganda volunteers I am living with. The highlights were: 1. an absolutely incredible lightning storm one night, 2. waiting out the same rainstorm in a pig pen, and 3. venturing up the rapids on foot through small islands of vine covered plant life home to monkeys. As we forged our way up the rapids, we tied ourselves together with vines in case one of us was carried away by the current… this probably wasn’t absolutely necessary, but it looked cool and definitely made me feel like Tarzan.