"Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor...that a child of farm-workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another."
- Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela (1994, p.144)
In 2001, the United Nations came up with eight Millennium Development Goals to fight poverty and exclusion. One of these goals was that every child would have access to primary education. More recently, the UN member states decided to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals. Access to inclusive and quality education for all again featured amongst the SDGs. So much progress has been achieved in trying to ensure that every child has access to a proper education. However, a lot more needs to be done. In most developing countries, access to education, especially in the rural setup, is deficient (Global Monitoring Report 2017). The factors that have contributed to this problem are said to be: lack of sufficient data on how and how much children are learning, lack of gender parity - some cultural beliefs leading to girls lacking access to education, and lack of sufficient and well trained teachers.
Investing in a literate population is vital if the world is to achieve sustained development and real democracy. The World Bank(2003) - education is connected with multi-dimensional issues in each society; it can play an influential role in accelerating economic growth, improving the income distribution, supporting social mobility and minimizing poverty. However, the primary challenge that the sector faces is the lack of resources and expertise to improve the situation and work towards a viable solution. When the government fails to fulfil its traditional role, NGOs can play the role of service provider and become active development actors in the field of education (UNESCO: The Role and Impact of NGOs in Capacity Development, 2009).
To provide equal opportunity and access to education for children in East Africa. In my ideal world, children all over the world would have equal and unrestricted access to quality education, which would provide a cornerstone for not only their intellectual but also emotional capacity.
"Our mission is to support school children (in East Africa) independent of gender, religion, ethnic group/tribe, country of origin, or political affiliation of parents. We believe in hope and equal opportunities to primary education for all children" (Rihani, 8).
Our objective will be: to continuously improve access to children in marginalized areas, to reduce drop-out rates, encourages the community to shun away from cultural beliefs that inhibit the growth of the girl child, and to increase the literacy levels amongst parents who did not attend school.
As a Non-Governmental Organization, we hope to partner with the government, local community, volunteers and donors to ensure we work towards our Mission and Vision Statements.
Area of Work
The region selected as our area of work is Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically East Africa. The countries in this region are Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi. This specific area was chosen for the ambition and resolve shown by the individual government and the bloc as a collective to try and improve access and standard of education. The organization believe the bloc shows great promise and has the potential to grow at an unprecedented rate making it the ideal place to work with. The close ties between our government and the region are bonus and ensures we will work in harmony and will be welcomed with open arms.
We hope to form stable and working collaborations with MNCs by tapping into the skillset of the young people in the region. Big MNCs in Information Technology (IT), natural resources, finance, and communication. These are sectors that show potential for growth in the region. We also intend to work with international donor organizations such as the United Nations, Commonwealth, and USAID as we work towards the same goals. We hope that the government will also provide grants in the projects that they will take particular interest in. Our most crucial partnership will be with the local community and local NGOs which understand the region better. Their experience in the industry and passion to bring about positive changes in the education sector will be vital if we are to achieve our objectives. Regardless of the changing relationships between the government and international donor agencies, local NGOs will continue to be a main partner in education reforms.
One of the first projects we plan on partaking is lobbying for more textbooks for these learners. A lack of textbooks has led to poor standards of education in the region. Students share textbooks at a ratio of 1:5 and at best 1:3. Our goal is to ensure that this ratio is improved so that it stands at 1:1. Textbooks are essential resources that help learners read more on what they are taught in class; proving that it is a big step in improving the quality of education.
GPE Secretariat. "The State of Global Education in 8 Charts." The State of Global Education in 8 Charts | Global Partnership for Education, 2017, www.globalpartnership.org/blog/state-global-education-8-charts.
Birley, Robert. "Some Educational Problems of East Africa." Africa Portal, South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), 1 Dec. 2014, www.africaportal.org/publications/some-educational-problems-of-east-africa/.
Onguko, Brown Bully, Mohamed Abdalla, and Charles F. Webber. "Walking in unfamiliar territory: Headteachers' preparation and first-year experiences in Tanzania." Educational Administration Quarterly 48.1 (2012): 86-115.
Rihani, May A. "Keeping the Promise: Five Benefits of Girls' Secondary Education." Academy for Educational Development (2006): 7-15.
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