After surpassing its 2013 CGI Commitment to Action to scale its proven skills-based education model from 54 schools to 200 schools by 2015, Educate! commits to continue scaling its program to 550 schools in Uganda by the end of 2018, while preparing to expand to an additional African country in 2019. From the start of Educate!s 2013 Commitment until the end of this Commitment, Educate! will have increased the number of schools it is working in tenfold.
Educate! is transforming secondary education in Africa by teaching young people to solve poverty for themselves and their communities. Educate! develops young leaders and entrepreneurs by providing youth with skills training in leadership, entrepreneurship, and workforce readiness, along with mentorship, to start real businesses at school. Educate! delivers its practical, skills-based model of education by partnering with existing secondary schools. An Educate!-trained Mentor provides weekly lessons to youth at each partner school over the course of a year and a half. Educate! Mentors (many of whom are Educate! Graduates) are from the local community and have practical experience running small businesses or community projects. Educate! Mentors also participate in a fellowship program called the Youth Business Experience where they receive advanced business training. Educate! ensures that at least 50% of participants are female. Additionally, Educate! builds capacity in schools by training at least one teacher and one administrator per school to begin integrating a skills-based approach to education. Through advocacy, practical training for teachers, and direct implementation in schools, Educate! is working to make its model part of African education systems, starting with Uganda and Rwanda.
Over the last three years, Educate! has focused on piloting scaletesting the model at scale in Ugandain order to refine its approach for expansion to new countries. Integrating lessons learned from this phase, Educate! plans to expand to 450 schools in 2017, impacting 16,000 youth intensively in Uganda while broadly reaching over 150,000 youth. Educate! will scale to 550 schools across Uganda in 2018, impacting 19,000 youth intensively and over 190,000 youth more broadly. By the end of 2018, Educate! will be working in almost 20% of Ugandan secondary schools, and in 2019 will launch in a third African country.
To realize this scale-up, Educate! will hire essential global recruiting staff, implement new technological tools to establish a repeatable and effective process for recruitment, and add key operations and finance talent experienced in rapidly scaling an enterprise internationally. Educate!s leadership is actively engaging government partners in a potential third country, aiming to soon develop a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education.
One potential risk during scale up is successfully recruiting partner schools to meet expansion targets. Mitigation strategies include: 1) soliciting feedback from partner schools and making adjustments to reduce the risk that schools will drop the program; and 2) identifying a large number of schools for recruitment to meet target numbers even if sign up rates are different than expected. Another potential challenge is recruiting and retaining high quality staff. Strategies to overcome this include: 1) recruiting more Mentors than needed in case of high turnover; 2) building a talent pipeline strategy into the entire organizations structuremost Mentors are Educate! graduates and enter a direct, long-term pipeline that extends to senior leadership; and 3) selecting youth to become Mentors who are top graduates and already understand the concepts taught.
Over the next two years, Educate! will launch a massive initiative to scale up its operations in Uganda and establish the foundation for a successful launch in a third African country by 2019.
In Q4 2016, Educate! will recruit 100 additional schools and sign Memorandums of Understanding with 450 partnership schools for 2017.
In Q1 2017, Educate! will be operating in 450 schools and will register 16,000 youth into the program in Uganda.
In Q2 2017, Educate! will identify its third country based on the following criteria: 1) ability to engage the government in Educate!s approach; and 2) an existing impetus for reform within the national education system. To support growth within Uganda, Educate! will hire five new staff by Q2 2017.
In Q3 2017, Educate! will launch a marketing campaign to establish partnerships with an additional 100 schools in the Southern and Western regions of Uganda in preparation for further expansion in 2018.
In Q4 2017, Educate! will prepare to implement its program in 550 schools in Uganda in Q1 2018, and will be ready to launch its pilot program in a third country. Educate! will hire five new staff by Q4 2017.
In Q1 2018, in Uganda, Educate! will be operating in 550 schools, and will register 19,000 youth.
In Q4 2018, to prepare for a successful program launch in 2019 in a third country, Educate! will: 1) establish relationships with essential partners, including government actors and any partner organizations; 2) sign a Memorandum of Understanding with government partners; and 3) co-develop with partners an implementation plan to modify Educate!s program to meet the local context and needs. Educate! will add 36 new staff by the end of Q4 2018 to support growth.
Educate! has not yet solidified recruiting projections as far out as two years, as there are a number of variables determining staff needs that will require ongoing assessment and flexibility in response. All new staff recruitment numbers above are approximate and based on current projections.
Between today and the end of the century, six to seven billion young people will complete secondary school in Africa, and families all over the continent will invest a huge amount of resources to provide these children with an education. Yet despite this investment, education systems across Africa deliver a broken promise. In the present day economy, schools fail to teach the skills youth actually need to find a job or to make a decent living, and this problem will only worsen over time. This challenge is particularly stark in Uganda, a country that, according to ActionAid International Uganda, has the worlds youngest population with 50% under age 15. In addition, Uganda has the highest youth poverty rate94%, according to the Youth Watch 2012 Reportand a youth unemployment rate as high as 62%, as reported by ActionAid International Uganda.
With the African Development Bank projecting that 90% of African youth will work in the informal sector, skills training is essential to increase the capacity of informal workers to improve their livelihoods and meet their basic needs. For youth fortunate enough to find secure jobs, private sector firms report dissatisfaction with the skills employees acquire through education. A labor market survey conducted by the Uganda National Curriculum Development Centre found that 58% of employees lacked communication skills, 65.3% had trouble learning on the job, and 64.5% had difficulty working on a team. Furthermore, young women face both unique and greater barriers to success in the workforce and as entrepreneurs and leaders in their communities. Girls often receive only limited training in practical, employable skills like budgeting and finance. When girls do receive skills training, it tends to be in gender-specific, low-earning markets.
Given the fact that, according to UNICEF, 50% of the worlds children will be African by the turn of the century, a continued explosion of the youth bulge without a solution for the youth employment question could have catastrophic global consequences.
Additional funding will allow Educate! to scale faster and meet the massive demand by schools for its model. Currently, the huge demand for practical, skills-based education that leads to measurable improvements in life outcomes for students has outpaced Educate!s ability to supply its program in schools. Now, Educate! is gearing up for a pivotal periodbuilding on proven impact, expanding internationally, and taking steps to transform education systems across the continent. To allow Educate! to scale to a new country and meet the massive demand for its model, the organization is seeking financial resources, as well as strategic guidance on best practices that will support the organization in overcoming challenges as it scales. Specifically, the organization seeks assistance in building partnerships with other African governments and Ministries of Education, and guidance on the operational and logistical aspects of scaling Educate!, both within Uganda and internationally.
Educate! is offering best practice information to other organizations. As Educate! has scaled its model, the organization has conducted extensive research on best practices and learned important lessons that have driven Educate! to adapt and improve. An example is Educate!s innovative strategy for leveraging resources outside of the classroom by hiring youth mentors. Educate! invests in motivated youth as frontline workers and offers experience and training as part of their compensation. Educate!s Mentors participate in the Youth Business Experience, through which they receive continued skills training, connections to local partnerships, and stipends to serve as capital injections for their businesses. This is one of many best practices Educate! can share from its experience building a model that is sustainable at scale. Other key learnings were referenced in The Brookings Institutions Millions Learning report, in which Educate! was featured as a case study, and in Educate!s post on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog, Asking the Small Questions to Support Big Scale.
Additionally, Educate! is open-source with its curriculum, which was developed with the support of leading organizations around the world. Educate! freely shares the curriculum with other organizations, which can be tailored to apply across contexts and cultures to best meet local needs.