Mission of the organization
Education Partnerships Africa works in partnership with rural communities in East Africa to improve the quality of secondary education. We enable talented university students in the UK to experience grassroots international development and provide them with the awareness, knowledge and skills to become leaders of the future. We aim to improve the quality of education in rural East-African secondary schools, and offer exciting, meaningful personal development opportunities to our volunteers. Over the last 20 years our efforts have been focused on the Kisii region of southwest Kenya. In 2011 we began expanding, firstly to Kakamega, western Kenya, and in 2013 to Mbarara in western Uganda. -------------------------------------- OUR STRATEGY - Working in partnership - We work in direct partnership with rural secondary schools, investing in each school to build its capacity for delivering sustainable, quality education. Partnership lies at the heart of how we work and the expertise, guidance and friendship of the school communities we work with is vital for success. We commit to work with each school for at least two years and collaborate to sustainably invest resources and share ideas so that together we can improve access to educational opportunities. - Investing time and money - We invest in resources and school development, working closely with school management to ensure that resources are fully utilised and our interventions are sustainable. Sending volunteers as well as funds enables us to develop a holistic and bespoke programme of investment, tailored to the schools' unique context, ambitions and needs. Projects might include equipping schools with key resources such as text books, science equipment and infrastructure, or less tangible initiatives like raising awareness of health issues and developing school strategy. We take a holistic approach, understanding that a good school is so much more than just good resources. We work with school management on a range of initiatives to improve access to co-curricular activities, information regarding health and gender issues and knowledge about post-educational opportunities. - Opportunities for young people - Education raises income, improves health, promotes gender equality, and reduces poverty. As well as enhancing educational opportunities for students in East Africa, we offer exciting, challenging and rewarding personal development opportunities to our volunteers. EPAfrica is a volunteer-led charity, run by ex-Project Workers who continue to be inspired and motivated to improve education for young people in East Africa,to engage with our partners and to learn and grow in the process. -EPAfrica 2020 - EPAfrica is a small charity, driven by volunteers. We have been helping rural communities in East Africa for 25 years. In that time, we've managed to maintain our work whilst remaining entirely volunteer-run. That was an extraordinary achievement and was thanks to the untiring commitment of a huge team of dedicated volunteers. But in 2015 EPAfrica came up with an ambitious vision: EPAfrica 2020. This five-year plan seeks to dramatically change the way we operate, expanding our current operations to more universities across the UK, and more sites in East Africa. In order to achieve our ambitious expansion goals, we need to change the way we work completely. In 2016 the charity took the bold decision to appoint our first paid employee, a CEO, to run our operations in the UK. This was a big step for us, but we felt it was the only way we could deliver on our ambitious targets, and become the sustainable, professionally run organisation we hope to be. Our growth and ambition demands increased fundraising, and we hope to utilise the support of the Global Giving accelerator to achieve this. -------------------------------------- OUR PROGRAMME Our programme is centred around an annual 10-week project in Kenya and Uganda that sees volunteers - 'Project Workers' - invest money in our partner schools. Working with the school management, they design and deliver tailored investment programmes, focusing on creating sustainable change. This is achieved through investment in educational resources, small infrastructure projects, and initiatives to improve school organisation and students' health and welfare. In 2016 we invested over 40,000 in 17 schools. EPAfrica invests in partner schools both financially and through hours of volunteer time. Our programmes are delivered by our highly-trained Project Workers working in collaboration with the management, teachers, students and communities of our partner schools. We don't teach. We invest. We commit to sending Project Workers to invest in our partner schools for at least 2 years. In Kenya, each school receives at least 1,800 of investment per year, and in Uganda this is 2,700 (as Ugandan schools are usually larger). Project Workers will work with the school management to decide how the investments can be best made in the school to improve the quality of education, and together develop a tailored programme of investments. We invest time, money, ideas and people in: Improved school facilities: - equipping libraries, laboratories and classrooms - upgrading school infrastructure - installing water and electricity Exchanging and developing Ideas, knowledge and skills with the school community: - raising awareness and informing decisions - developing learning skills and opportunities - bolstering school administration and strategy - Partner Schools - Our partner schools are government-funded rural secondaries. They serve poor farming communities clustered within a couple of hours' travel from our hubs in Kakamega, Kisii (Kenya) and Mbarara (Uganda). They have key infrastructure, such as classrooms and other buildings, but lack important teaching resources such as classroom furniture, laboratory equipment, and textbooks. Schools are hand-picked on the basis of a rigorous assessment process that carefully considers the school's need, its appetite and capacity to work collaboratively with EPAfrica, and a judgement of the sustainability and impact of potential investments. We look for schools that are well-established and have stable management, which usually means they need to have at least two years of exam results and a Head Teacher who has been in-post for two years. The schools range in very significantly in size, from around 100 to 800 students. We sometimes allocate three Project Workers to larger schools, so that we can have a consistent impact on the schools with which we work. We commit to work with a school over at least 2 years, and we maintain an active network of schools that we have worked with previously, our 'graduate' schools. - Partnership and Participation - The expertise, guidance and friendship of the school communities we work with is vital for successful and sustainable investments. We trust, value and proactively seek out the opinions and expertise of the school management, staff and students and we recognise that successful projects require proactive collaboration between Project Workers and schools. In practice, this means we only work with schools with whose community and leadership have the time, energy and appetite for this sort of intensive partnership - and we only select Project Workers with the skills and awareness to work in this way. - Project Workers - Headmasters, students and teachers are the experts when it comes to identifying and assessing challenges and opportunities in their schools - they have the deep understanding and lived experience of the local context - and the know-how to make things happen in rural East Africa. Project Workers bring the fresh eyes, energy, time and resources to facilitate and support the realisation of the school's ambitions. And most importantly, every school is different. Investing in partnership through Project Workers able us to tailor investment projects to the needs and ambitions of each school and to respond appropriately to its unique circumstances. Being a Project Worker is also a fantastic opportunity in its own right for UK volunteers, and enables us to fulfil our dual mission of creating opportunities for young people in the UK and East Africa -------------------------------------- EPAFRICA'S GOALS A quality education is not possible without basic resources such as books to read or equipment to carry out simple experiments. But a good school consists of more than learning resources. Our outcome-orientated approach focuses on the core components of a holistic education that we are able to support schools to deliver. We have five goals that set the scope of our partnerships: - Facilitating Learning - Improving Health - Strengthening School Organisation - Realising Post-Secondary Opportunities - Supporting Student Welfare and Rights We do not expect to deliver interventions against all of these Goals all the time: rather, we use the Goals as a basis to engage with school management to identify priorities, consider different options, and ultimately implement the most effective projects in partnership with local stakeholders. We believe that delivering good education is not possible without basic resources such as books to read or equipment to carry out simple experiments. But a good school offers much more than just good resources, and we appreciate that a holistic approach is essential. As such, our Goals encompass initiatives as diverse as improving access to extra-curricular activities, setting up a library borrowing system, or ensuring students have access to key health information. We draw on the knowledge and expertise of the school management, staff, students and the wider community. This ensure we focus on what is really needed and that our interventions are sustainable.