Daniel Okurut, a former Educate! Scholar in Western Uganda, leveraged both his medical education and his business skills gained through Educate! to open a rural health clinic in his community. Today, he splits his time between his role as a Youth Leader and his clinic, where he employs two people and conducts 350 checkups a month.
Over the past ten years, I’ve been proud to design and direct the implementation of our programs in schools in East Africa. 2019 marks an exceptional milestone for our team – a decade of operating our flagship Educate! Experience program in schools across Uganda. Taking this opportunity to reflect my own journey with Educate!, I’ve identified a few key lessonsthat have informed my personal approach to design.
2019 is an important milestone for the entire Educate! family, but it is especially significant for those team members who have been here from the start. To reflect on this journey, we caught up with Connie Mpirirwe, who joined the team more than ten years ago as one of Educate!’s first Mentors.
Launching their small business has provided Rwandan secondary students Fausta and Emelyne the opportunity to practice essential hard and soft skills that will better prepare them for success after graduation. These skills, the girls say, have helped them build their self-confidence, while expanding their view of what’s possible.
In 2018, through an external qualitative evaluation in partnership with IDinsight, we gained a better understanding of exactly how and why our model creates impact, and identified the ways we can continue to strengthen our in-school programs.
Educate!’s Design and Experiment (D&X) team is on the front lines of impact – thoughtfully crafting the curriculum and content that reaches thousands of African youth and prepares them with the skills they need for life after school. To scale our design approach alongside our growth, Educate!’s D&X team developed the Design Academy. This rigorous interactive online learning experience is a tool for onboarding new design staff and building capacity on our D&X team.
What barriers still exist for girls’ education in Uganda? This is the critical question that Hawah Nabbuye, Educate!’s Deputy Country Director in Uganda, is seeking to answer this year as part of the Echidna Global Scholars Program, a visiting fellowship hosted by the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at the Brookings Institution.
In a new book, researchers from the Center for Universal Education at Brookings Institution set out to identify inspiring initiatives and education innovation from around the world who are challenging persistent inequality and accelerating progress in education.
In 2019 and beyond, our curriculum will be reaching more youth than ever thanks to our partnership with World Possible. Educate!’s open-source curriculum was included on OER2Go alongside other innovative resources from UNESCO, Khan Academy, Ted Talks, Wikipedia.
Empowered, ambitious, and brave, Educate! graduate Abigail Chepkwurui is making waves for gender equity and driving change in her community. “I have to become a Member of Parliament.” For Abigail Chepkwurui, a twenty-year-old Educate! Graduate from Eastern Uganda, this is a goal she’s been actively working toward since before joining Educate!. “I’ll campaign for 2026.”
In Yumbe District, Northern Uganda, Educate! is partnering with secondary schools within three refugee settlements. Educate!'s program is particularly useful to these youth who are eager to learn the skills they’ll need to succeed in their new home. However, schools in these settlements face challenges that are unique to their circumstance. To ensure our program provides the maximum benefit to youth there, our staff must identify contextual challenges that might affect the program or students and modify the program accordingly.
This June students from across Rwanda came to Kigali to compete at Educate!’s first ever National Student Business Club Competition! Students from 11 schools showcased their innovative, eco-friendly, and impactful business products — all designed while still in secondary school.
Educate!’s team leader in Northern Uganda, Lawrence Komakech, recently joined a global online learning event called “Breakthroughs in Education: Innovations in Equity, Access, and Quality” to discuss Educate!’s experience innovating our model for the constraints of a post-conflict region.
Educate! has launched operations in the south of Uganda, and Dorothy Namubiru is the woman leading the expansion in the field. We sat down with Dorothy to celebrate her most recent promotion and to learn about how her work can create a grassroots movement of young leaders and entrepreneurs to drive sustainable development in the south of Uganda.
A new study from Mathematica Policy Research examined Educate!’s innovative approaches for enhancing teacher quality at scale. The study, which looked at organizations supported by the multi-donor Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE), distilled learnings from the experiences of eight organizations implementing in-service teacher training programs. The findings offer practical lessons about how to design, implement, and scale efforts to train, motivate, and support teachers.
Our small but mighty Design and Innovations (D&I) team has their hands on every piece of Educate!’s work. They spend their days designing our curriculum for students; orchestrating trainings for Mentors, staff, teachers, and government officials; and running experiments, developing pilot programs, and conducting field research to test new ideas and assumptions. It’s demanding work, but these are the people who lay the foundation for Educate!’s success and who make future growth and improvement possible.
Educate! Mentor Joshua is determined to prepare his Scholars with the skills they need to succeed after school. As part of the team in one of Educate!’s newest regions – Southern Uganda – Joshua was selected through Educate’s Youth Entrepreneurship Training (YET) program.
Educate!’s Evaluation Director Meghan Mahoney presented on a panel at the Comparative and International Education Society’s annual 2018 conference. The presentation highlighted Educate!’s collaboration to develop a new, soft skill measurement tool for youth in secondary school and outlined our experience attempting to measure soft skills.
The Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE) recently released a brief offering 10 Tips for Improving Teacher Quality at Scale. PSIPSE drew on important insights from Educate! as well as seven other non-governmental organizations working to sharpen teachers’ pedagogical skills.
The top Student Business Clubs from across Uganda competed last month in the National Business Club Competitions. This year’s competition was an especially exciting weekend full of collaboration, friendly competition, and creative energy.
In a rural community in Eastern Uganda, twins Shadia and Shakira somehow find the time to run their own businesses, serve as the Secretary and Treasurer of their Student Business Club, and excel in their courses at Nakalama Secondary School.
It’s no secret: Girls around the world face unique and greater barriers to success after school as entrepreneurs, in the workforce, and as leaders in their communities.
Last International Women’s Day, we shared the ways we’ve been working to build an expertise in gender, describing how we embarked on a research opportunity to maintain and build up gender justice as a priority across our organization as we scale. Over the past year, we focused on taking what we learned one step further, implementing a comprehensive gender justice strategy across our all of our key stakeholders: students, teachers, government officials, and staff members.
Entrepreneurship students have been preparing for this moment all year—products perfected and pitches practiced—with the hopes of advancing on to the National Student Business Club Competition next year.
While significant progress has been made for girls’ education around the world, our partner and friend Dana Schmidt of Echidna Giving notes in the Stanford Social Innovation Review that efforts to unlock the full promise of young women through quality education continue to fall short. It’s not enough to focus on educating girls, we need to improve how we focus on them. In order to do so, we must critically examine conventional wisdom about education for girls and abandon common approaches that have failed to produce real progress.
Currently, 90% of African youth are projected to work in the informal sector. While previously many advocated to transition youth from informal contexts to formal jobs, Making Cents International’s recent Global Youth Economic Opportunities (GYEO) Summit revealed a shift in thinking that closely aligns with our belief in creating a grassroots movement of young leaders and entrepreneurs to drive sustainable development.
Educate!’s Executive Director Boris Bulayev and Rwanda Country Director Donnalee Donaldson recently presented Educate!’s experience as part of a webinar hosted by Making Cents International and the Youth Employment Funders Group (YEFG).
Juliet, an Educate! Youth Leader, is one of the people at the heart of Educate!’s partnership with the Rwandan government. She, along with ten other Youth Leaders, is helping to fulfill Educate!’s vision of integrating our model into national education systems.
Standing in front of his new shop, Francis is glowing. He has just achieved two of his life goals in quick succession. He was accepted to Kyambogo University to study social sciences—a dream he’s had since childhood. Then, as a top Educate! graduate, Francis was recruited to become a Mentor, a role that lets him support 120 other youth to achieve their own dreams.