Providing youth with opportunities to learn and cultivate skills is a key factor in lifting people out of poverty. Planet Aid funds school-centered initiatives, as well as educational institutions for young adults who can learn valuable skills and then invest their expertise and knowledge back into their own communities.
Nikhalamo - Girl Stays in School
In many developing countries, a gender imbalance persists in school enrollment and completion. Research shows that educated women are less likely to marry early, more likely to have healthy babies, and are more likely to send their own children to school.
Nikhalamo - Girl Stays in School (GSS) is a Planet Aid-supported initiative implemented in Mozambique by ADPP Mozambique and sponsored by USAID. GSS aims to reduce obstacles that prevent girls from transitioning from upper primary school (6th and 7th grade) to secondary school.
Based in the Namacurra district, the the project works with 18 primary schools and 3 secondary schools. Some project activities include community awareness campaigns; intra-school science, mathematics, and technology competitions; the distribution of school materials; training of mentors for vulnerable girls; and gender-focused school committee training.
When implementing development projects, it's crucial that local voices and perspectives are part of the process. Including expertise from members of the community itself is a critical part of any development initiative's success.
Frontline Institute is a network of schools that trains local people to work on the frontline of development and fight against poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease. Trainees are placed in teams and given the skills and conceptual thinking to lead projects and mobilize their communities. The teams work on development projects, agricultural production, and community campaigns.
The program requires six months of classroom and practical experience. After successfully completing the program, the large majority of the students are employed by Humana People to People to implement what they have learned about global development. Planet Aid funds the Frontline Institute in Zimbabwe.
One World University
Higher education offers young people in the developing world the opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty. Graduates in the fields of education and community development are especially valuable, as they are able to use their skills to better their own communities.
One World University (OWU) was established in Mozambique in 1998 with the aim of strengthening the nation’s educational system. The university offers two baccalaureate degrees: one in education and another in community development.
Graduates of the education program are qualified to teach primary education at the college level. Mozambique has been struggling to meet the demand for qualified primary school teachers, with student-teacher ratios often exceeding 70:1, particularly in rural areas. OWU is helping to meet the critical need for new teachers, by supplying the instructors who can train new primary school student teachers at the nation’s teacher training colleges.
Photos 1-5: Constructing OWU; Photo 6-7: OWU inauguration with Mozambican President Armando Emilio Guebuza; Photo 8-9: Students participating in a seminar and graduation.
Combining classroom instruction with independent study and high-levels of hands-on teaching experience, OWU inspires its students to learn all that they can. In the process, they discover first hand that learning must be made relevant and enjoyable, so that children feel positive about coming—and remaining—In school. Graduates also understand the importance of involving parents and the community, and how to foster a positive environment that places a high value on obtaining an education.
The second degree program in community development was added in 2009. This new degree was inspired by Mozambican President Armando Emilio Guebuza, who said, “I would like you to make a course for fighting poverty. This is what we need. People who work in the districts and with the people. You should graduate bachelors in the fight against poverty.” We agreed. In honor of the President and his leadership, the new community development program was named, “Fighting with the Poor.”
The new OWU campus in Changalane, 80 kilometers from the capital Maputo, was built with the assistance of Planet Aid and with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, EDULINK, and the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The campus is set back from the main road, surrounded by acres of land, and close to the Pequenos Libombos mountains near Swaziland. OWU uses a part of the land as a model farm, feeding students and producing a surplus of products that are sold locally. The Changalane community is also involved in Farmers’ Clubs activities and other training programs to help improve livelihoods. Read more about OWU on the university website.