It’s not just that Africa is important, it has always been important, what I want to say is that Africa is a critical part of our future as Americans. In the next ten to twenty years, the maturing second generation of leaders of these new democracy leaning countries (remember most African countries did not gain independence until the 1960s and 70s) will drive significant political and economic changes in the continent. Africa will be the the planet’s most populous continent in the next 30 years. It is also much larger and diverse geographically than most of us realize. Africa is rich in resources, intelligent educated citizens and talent. In addition Africans are highly motivated to move past the old politics to establish truly representative governments. Already these countries have more women in leadership roles, and Kenya has a written a new constitution.
What is important here is the large population of youth. In some cases it is 60% of the country. The youth bubble challenged governments to build enough classrooms and train enough teachers.to meet the education needs for the 21st century. Kenya’s current president ran on a platform that featured not just education, but technology for education. He has been in power almost 4 years, and just now the technology is arriving in schools for the 6 year-olds. Teacher salaries have increased, as well as investments in creating a digital curriculum. A large percentage of schools in Kenya now have electricity. This is not true in many other African nations, but what they do all have is some access to cell phone and the internet. Another cultural factor is that African countries do tend to work collaborate regionally. East Africa has open borders among 5 countries, so that goods, people, jobs and educations cross borders.
Efforts such as those of a small organization like are able to bring rural communities out of isolation, assist them in using their technology in schools, not just to learn math, reading and science, but to benefit the community through project based learning initiatives. Bonaventure has led our students to become community workers to eliminate Jiggers infections, to educate girls about their reproductive health, to develop girls into leaders, to assist in the healing and education for HIV affected families and have assisted orphans develop skills and find sponsors for their continued education.
Listen to this Video by one our young female teachers: https://youtu.be/TtFLD16zHaU
What Africa doesn’t have is the capital investment. Our students may graduate for secondary school to a country that has no jobs for them, no career opportunities. So how do we prepare them. Through the project based learning, they are able to develop the vision of their capacity to be innovators and leaders. We are pleased to have worked with George Newman at One Planet Education who has taught them about effective advocacy, and research. They have learned how to speak out, how to collaborate with their peers in Asia, the US and the Middle East. Surely such efforts will bring positive outcomes and new opportunities for our 21st century.
Watch this video created by one of the orphans supported by our center’s leaders. https://youtu.be/nlGeywKnEfY