2012 Accomplishments- Educate!
By Eric W. Glustrom, Co-founder and president, and Boris Bulayev, Co-founder and executive director, Educate!
This past year has been instrumental for Educate!. We have used funds from the Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize to help launch our new 100% model, which has been a huge leverage for us.
With our fundraising and management costs in 2012 being generously funded by Grinnell and other major investors, 100 percent of donors' investments go directly to develop the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs!
Also in 2012, the Educate! leadership and entrepreneurship curriculum is now being implemented by the government of Uganda in the country's national education system to empower 25,000 young students across the country.
Furthermore, this past year, a consortium of the United Nations International Labour Organisation and World Bank (the Youth Employment Network) began an evaluation of Educate!'s program. At this stage in our development, there is no more powerful testimonial than strong evidence to scale the model of education we provide across Uganda and around the world.
When we met in Amherst College in 2004, we decided to collaborate on our shared goal of what Educate! could become. One of the primary issues we found was that youth in Uganda were spending 13 of the most formative years of their lives in schools that forced them to memorize the exact facts that would be on the national exam. Though the students were being prepared for the exam, the curriculum stifled creativity, leadership, and the desire to create change.
For example, every high school graduate in Uganda can tell you the regions of Germany because it is one of the questions on the national exam. Stories are told of teachers who make their kids sit under a tree for asking too many questions about why things are the way they are. The education system in Uganda was implemented by the colonial government to train civil servants. It seemed to us, and to anyone with whom we spoke, that such a standardized, rote-memorization based education system unfortunately would only bring up a new generation skilled at maintaining the status quo.
Our model of exponential empowerment, or of a long-term investment in the youth of Uganda, is a breakaway from the current debilitating curriculum so that the students can positively impact others throughout their lives. Exponential empowerment supports and encourages Ugandan students to realistically survey their communities and attack the problems surrounding them by using their education, dedication and skills learned with Educate!.
Today Educate! works with 3,600 diverse young leaders and entrepreneurs across Uganda. We truly believe that the strength of Educate! lies within the individual power and ingenuity of our Scholars. For example, our Scholar Joseph worked with his Educate! Mentor to develop an affordable fuel alternative in his school's science laboratory. He is in the process of getting his new fuel nationally certified, and intends to create a manufacturing plant that will employ members of his community.
Lillian, an Educate! alum, has started a successful fair trade social enterprise that employs over 60 women affected by HIV/AIDS to make and sell beautiful paper bead jewelry. And, Educate! Scholar Jimmy, holds entrepreneurship seminars for members of his community to pass on the knowledge he learned through Educate!.
These are the real world solutions to real world problems, solutions that are made possible through an education that fosters and encourages students to look at their world outside the box and to utilize their education.
Thank you Grinnell College for your belief in our vision to develop young leaders in Africa and take Educate! to the next level!
Eric and Boris