Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, upwards of five million children are left without traditional education due to poverty, unrest and civil turmoil. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rate of primary school enrollment in the world, with 34 million primary age children living in the region not in school.
Without access to education, these children mature without many options for their future, allowing the cycle of poverty to continue in countries such as Ghana, Gambia and the Congo. In response to this, several organizations have put forth different efforts to deliver quality education where little is available. Across different platforms, including online curricula, these organizations are innovating to establish programs for free education in Africa.
- The Vodafone Foundation is a nonprofit that seeks to resolve the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges using communication technologies. In June 2017, the foundation launched Instant Schools For Africa, a program providing free access to quality education materials online in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania.
Vodafone distributes online learning materials such as specialized tablets, with zero mobile data charges to encourage widespread use of its curriculum. Outside of the Instant Schools for Africa initiative, the Foundation is working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to connect young refugees to its growing Instant Network Schools program. As part of the mission of delivering free education in Africa, the Foundation aims to help three million young refugees by 2025.
- The Children Reach Out Program is a Ugandan organization that provides free classes and workshops to urban Ugandan children, especially those at risk economically. From basic learning skills and hygiene to hands-on career guidance, the Children Reach Out Program goes beyond traditional schooling to help Ugandans in need.
Since 2009, Children Reach Out has been an important presence providing education for children living on the outskirts of Kampala and other Ugandan cities.
- The Volta Aid Foundation is a non-governmental agency in Ghana that connects volunteer teachers and doctors to children that may be without proper educational opportunities or medical care.
In addition to offering orphanage care throughout the Volta region of Ghana, the Foundation teaches math, English, and computer literacy to establish the building blocks for a promising future. In a country where only 65 percent of the adult population is literate, The Volta Aid Foundation is committed to making a difference.
- The Africa Hope Fund (AHF) has been providing free, quality education in Africa since 2009. AHF works on several different fronts such as sponsoring poor children to attend secondary school in Zambia, or issuing funding to build new classrooms, libraries and deliver school supplies across the continent. AHF also partners with smaller nonprofits that are just starting out in countries like Zimbabwe and Botswana to help them grow and reach as many children as possible.
In areas where basic amenities such as electricity and transportation are in question, expanding education is necessary to ensure that children have access to learn basic skills to build the foundation of prosperity. In delivering education to areas that lack infrastructure, these organizations are playing a crucial role in fighting global poverty. Through providing free education in Africa, these initiatives help prepare the next generation to take on the challenges of the future.
– Nicholas Dugan