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EDUCATING AFRICA Awards - winners 2008

1st Prize: Voluntourism for Education
Soft Power Education, Uganda

www.softpowereducation.com

Soft Powder Education (SPE) received the first prize in the 2008 Pan-African Prize for Entrepreneurship in Education.  Established in 1999, they work with communities in Uganda with the purpose of “improving the quality of life through education”.

Receiving last year’s award has enabled SPE to drastically improve their Amagenzi Education Centre and the programs it runs. The centre, previously running on solar power, became connected to electricity.  This has allowed for programs to expand, costs to be reduced in the long run and better facilities from which children can benefit.

Since the number of students at some of the Amagenzi Education Centre’s programs, such as the Primary School Pupil’s project, has increased from 1320 in 2008 to almost 3000 in 2009, the impact has been enormous. New students can benefit from a new full functioning computer lab, where there is a maximum of two children using each computer.

Moreover, SPE has developed a new program for children with special educational needs.Such program focuses on the inclusion of children with such needs into an educational system instead of excluding them from education. It also aims to register every child with a disability from the Jinja district, so their families can receive help through an outreach service beginning in 2010.

Other projects at SPE, such as the Murchison Project, are still flourishing. Receiving an increasing number of volunteers has allowed for several classroom buildings to be built using a new method called the Interlocking Soil Stabilised Bricks. This method of “cooking” the bricks in the sun reduces the costs per building by 30%.

At SPE they certainly seem to have enough projects to work towards their ambition of making access to learning and information available to all!

 


2nd Prize: Pre-School Education for Millions
Whiz Kids Workshop, Ethiopia

www.whizkidsworkshop.com

The innovative approach of using mass media with educational purposes gave Whiz Kids Workshop the second prize in last year’s competition.

An increase of 400% in the number of televisions in Ethiopia over the past 10 years motivated their initiative of educating children with no early childhood care on a mass scale, by creating and distributing media materials. Whiz Kids Workshop summarises their mission in “making the production of these materials economically self-sustainable and having fun in the production of these materials”

Ms. Brukty Tigabu, co-founder of the organization, finds that the prize has strengthened their reputation as an organization. It has made it easier for them to establish partnerships with agencies and foundations to expand current projects and to launch new ones.

Thus, over the past year they have been able to widen the distribution channels for their DVDs internationally, selling over 3,000 DVDs of episodes. Developing relationships with children’s media producers and broadcasters around the world has enabled them to start working on opening up international sales of their educational broadcast content. Moreover, they have been working on the release of products branded with their popular children’s character from the “Tsehai Loves Learning” program.

In the immediate future, he ambitious team behind Whiz Kids Workshop has also planned for a new cinema release of “Tsehai loves learning” episodes set for October 10th, a production of a one-minute film about 20 children’s dreams and the obstacles in their ways and a documentary about children’s views on media and the challenges of media production in Ethiopia.

From Teach a Man To Fish we wish them the best of luck with their new projects and we look forward to the musical episode about marginalized citizens dedicated to us and to Educating Africa!



3rd Prize: Schools Earning Money from Honey
Africa Now, Kenya

www.africanow.org

The international development organization Africa Now won the third prize in last year’s competition thanks to its Commercial Beekeeping program in Kenya.

Their project aims to tackle rural poverty in Kenya by introducing small-scale and subsitence farmers to commercial beekeeping through a network of partners. The partners provide training for new beekeepers and access to equipment through a leasing scheme.

What began as a trial project for Africa Now with two schools, Obulo and Munzatsi Secondary Schools, has proved highly successful. The two schools can now afford to subsidize for their needy students who are club members for the sales of honey. Furthermore, former students have started their own apiaries at home and are able to guide local farmers on beeking.Winning last year’s award provided the necessary funds for the school to train the students on packaging and marketing their products, selling them to supermarkets and thus making profits. This led the Schools to register and license the trade name of their products as « School’s Apiary » and to sell their own packaged pure honey.

Such a product has received a great support locally. The word has spread and most students, parents and pupils are happy to buy the product and help the children . The question « Where is our School’s Apiary pure natural honey ? » is very often asked in local supermarkets in Kisumu.

After the success of their initiative, Africa Now are now developing a new proposal to seek more funds and spread their Commercial Beekeeping project to 10 more schools. Altogether, a great example of the competition's criteria of entrepreneurship, sustainability and impact.


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