fostering academic growth in AfricaThe U.N. states that there are 48 million illiterate young people in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, 60 percent of children aged 15 to 17 are not enrolled in schools. Book Aid International has made it its mission to change this by fostering academic growth in Africa.


Education for All

One of the major U.N. Millenium Development goals was to have all school children complete primary level education by 2015. Although this was not achieved universally, there have still been several accomplishments in the sphere of education, and there are more children in schools now than ever before.

The U.N. reports that, from 2000 to 2015, enrollment in primary education rose from 83 percent to 91 percent. Additionally, the literacy rate among youth aged 15 to 24 skyrocketed from 83 percent to 91 percent between 1990 and 2015. One nonprofit located in the U.K., Book Aid International, can be accredited for helping the U.N. achieve these goals.


The Gateway to Knowledge

Book Aid International is a firm believer that the gateway to knowledge is through reading. Access to information can prevent children from falling into poverty, increase future job opportunities and improve their life expectancy past the age of five by 50 percent. As a result, Book Aid International has developed a program revolved around the power of books called Inspiring Readers.

Inspiring Readers donates books to schools in Africa where resource scarcity is a major issue. Through this program, schools receive a library of 1,250 new books and selected teachers from the schools receive specialized training to ensure that the books will be well utilized. Inspiring Readers also ensures that each school gets further resources and assistance by partnering up with a local library.

The program has already seen success. One particular Kenyan school that partnered with Book Aid International has received recognition from the community for improved student academic performance. The school stated in 2017 that students’ test scores have improved from 48 percent to 54 percent in Kiswahili, 48 percent to 50 percent in English and 45 percent to 52 percent in science.


Fostering Academic Growth in Africa

Overall, Inspiring Readers has brought 63,710 books to 50 schools around Africa. The organization has also trained 150 teachers and 20 librarians. Consequently, 31,343 children have been impacted by this program. However, Book Aid International does not want to stop there. Its goal is to reach 250,000 children by 2020.

Book Aid International estimates that it needs £2,600 per school to achieve this goal. There are many ways to help the nonprofit meet this goal, but it relies mostly on donations for funding. Small amounts of money can make a huge difference, as Book Aid International indicates it only costs £2 to send one book to a partnering school. The organization also accepts donations of new books.

Book Aid International has already made huge strides forward in fostering academic growth in Africa, nurturing children’s interests in reading as well as training teachers to become better motivators and instructors. This will only lead children to success and will ultimately help the U.N. in accomplishing its goal of education for all.

– Mary McCarthy

Photo: Flickr

Build AfricaBuild Africa is a nonprofit organization that believes “in the power of education to help end poverty. [We] work to give children the education they need and fight the inequalities that stand in their way.” The organization believes that all children have the right to an education for a prosperous and happy life. Education ends poverty by building opportunities and growth, and Build Africa provides the schools and the resources necessary for education to become a top priority.

Build Africa currently works in Kenya and Uganda. Some of its accomplishments include:

  1. Helping vulnerable girls gain access to a better education in 72 schools.
  2. Improving 65 schools in Uganda in early learning for young children.
  3. Giving 4,000 parents access to vital basic financial services.
  4. Establishing 11 farmers’ networks throughout Kenya.

On the grassroots level of Build Africa, the ultimate goal is to have “every child learning.” Learning the skills they need in order to thrive, such as basic reading and writing, can oftentimes be difficult for children, particularly if that child faces challenges such as working to improve household income, long distances that could potentially be dangerous, or just being a girl. With Build Africa, locals are trained to be staff members to work personally with the children in the schools, meaning they can adjust perspectives and truly get to know the child they are helping. Lesson plans can range from math and reading to basic financial skills and growing sustainable crops.

Applying real-life scenarios in classrooms allows for the students to connect and relate school with their own lives. In other words, they are actually retaining and repeating what they have done in school in their everyday lives. Emphasizing life skills like cooking and doing taxes, rather than making children memorize ordinary academic standards, better prepares these children for the real world.

Build Africa strives to “improve access to education for children and improve the quality of education received.” Quality education on basic life skills leads to independence and more opportunities. One of Build Africa’s most recent projects is called the Parallel Learning Project, a literacy program for young mothers in Western Uganda, where there is a very low female literacy rate. According to the Director-General of UNESCO, if a mother is able to read, her child is twice as likely to survive beyond five years of age.

The outcomes the organization hopes to achieve are:

  1. Communities actively supporting young mothers
  2. A safe area where young mothers have access to healthcare services and trainings
  3. Young women learning to read and write as they learn childcare techniques.

Build Africa is creating change within communities by simply providing education. Whether it be in a school or in a daycare center, knowledge is knowledge, and its long-term effects are nothing but positive.

– Irimar Waters

Photo: Flickr

Education in sub-Saharan AfricaThe Vodafone Foundation recently announced their new program called Instant Schools for Africa which focuses on improving education in sub-Saharan Africa. The program aims to reach 5 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania, providing them with free access to online learning.

The Instant Schools for Africa will provide children and young people with online access to educational materials that are completely free, and comes without mobile data charges. Those unable to access the internet will also be able to use the program offline. The subjects that are included in the material are math and science from primary to advanced levels. Charitable giving, along with technology, is how the Vodafone Foundation aids young people at their 27 locations around the world.

The Vodafone Foundation hopes to improve education in sub-Saharan Africa by targeting children who are typically excluded from a standard education. The overall mission of the Vodafone Foundation is to support global projects that are working towards benefiting areas with health, education, and disaster relief. The foundation uses technology to help those who need it.

Currently, the Vodafone Foundation has a program similar to Instant Schools for Africa, called Vodacom e-school, which provides 215,000 children with access to education. The need for these programs is in high demand, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, as it holds the lowest rate of primary school enrolment across the world. Over one-fifth of children, ranging in age from six to 11, are not in school, while 60 percent of children between 15 and 17 are also not in school.

With Instant Schools for Africa, the Vodafone Foundation is expanding their current education program. Their program is considered one of the largest philanthropic programs, with over 25 years of aid. While the program is expanding, they are planning to keep the already running program, Vodacom e-school.

Chloe Turner

Photo: Flickr