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Educate! transforms secondary education in Africa to teach young people to solve poverty for themselves and their communities. We believe secondary education is the most untapped resource for development across the continent and we aim to catalyze its transformation. Through advocacy, practical training for teachers, and direct service in schools, we are working to make this practical, skills-based model part of African education systems, starting with Uganda and Rwanda. Educate!’s flagship program, reaches Ugandan youth by sending a Mentor—a carefully selected and trained team member—into partner schools to work with selected students, called Educate! Scholars, for a year and a half, teaching them a course in entrepreneurship, leadership, and workforce readiness, which includes practical experience in starting a business or community project. It also involves mentoring youth on their businesses and challenges students to start business clubs that allow youth to have practical experience implementing the skills that they learn.
Educate! is most proud of our model’s impact, especially given our cost-effectiveness. Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) in Uganda show that Scholars who completed our program earned more than twice as much as their peers (an average of $338/year compared to $165/year) and the effect on girls was even larger: a $200 and 120% income increase over the control group. The RCT also showed that Graduates are 64% more likely to start businesses as the result of our program, compared to a control group. Girls again showed an even greater effect—our female Graduates were 152% more likely than girls in the control group to own a business.The RCT also showed a 123% percent increase in leadership initiative (208% for girls). Our cost is now $125 per student, just 1/5th of the cost of a year of secondary education. Already, at current costs, we get a 5.5x return on investment in just four years, or a 6.4x return for investment in girls.
Today, Educate! is scaling its solution in Uganda, working intensively with over 14,000 youth annually across 350 schools, and preparing to replicate across Africa. In 2016 we served as a technical advisor to the national Entrepreneurship Subject curriculum reform and launched in Rwanda to support the rollout of their new curriculum, which will reach every upper secondary student. We see our work in Rwanda as a research & development opportunity to learn about wide scale education system reform. Educate!’s long-term goal is to fully incorporate our experience-based education model into national education systems.