Every country needs leaders who are equipped with the tools, knowledge and confidence to build a solid foundation for development. To improve the quality of education, AKFC supports programs which ensure better care and learning environments for the next generation, by investing in education systems and the training of teachers across the spectrum of learning - from early childhood to primary, secondary, and advanced education – and increasing community involvement in the planning and administration of schools and education.
There are four tall trophies on Yadah Mouzamin’s desk at Nyai Primary School. They are a dull gold and have masking tape labels, the one I can see reading “U14 Boys 2016 Champions.” I wonder what sport, and what the other three say, and whether any were awarded to girls.
We all have a favourite teacher from when we went to school. They inspired in us a sense of boundless wonder, and motivated us to reach new heights. By engaging with us, we engaged more deeply with our studies. And with their guidance, we learned to believe in ourselves. We learned how to learn.
On February 22 of this year, I woke up like every other day. I had a coffee, took a shower, and ate breakfast. Except that day I drove five hours to a small rural town in Tanzania called Kilwa to see how Canadians are improving the quality of education for children in East Africa.
It might look like a plain white metal cabinet. But for children living in this rural village in Kenya, it is a window to the world.
The cabinet is filled with storybooks.
Recycled wood, a handful of screws, and a few tools – sometimes, it doesn’t take much to transform a father’s relationship with his child. In his rural home in the Kyrgyz Republic, Kurbanaliev Abutalip crouches in front of a makeshift work bench and spreads out his materials: scraps of wood, empty plastic bottles, nails, hammers, screwdrivers, and a saw.
Every child is born with potential. But high rates of poverty, a lack of learning opportunities, poor health, and malnutrition are major barriers to children reaching their full potential. Together, we can build a strong foundation for the next generation by investing in education.
Schooling for girls is vital to the future of Afghanistan, which ranks near the bottom of the Human Development Index. Investments in education have been shown to improve development outcomes, while raising women’s income and self-esteem. Despite recent gains, Afghanistan has one of the world’s lowest school attendance and retention rates.
In Pakistan, one in three children do not complete their primary education. AKFC works with communities, institutions, and the government to improve education in Pakistan, for both students and teachers. This work is supported by Global Affairs Canada, and is part of the Aga Khan Development Network’s broader work to improve global education.
According to UNICEF, more than 90 per cent of children in Uganda are now enrolled in primary school, and enrollment rates are similar in neighbouring countries like Kenya and Tanzania. While Acidiri and his Grade 2 classmates have watched their older siblings graduate from seven years at Mvara Primary School barely able to read or do simple arithmetic, Acidiri’s classroom has been transformed through a program to improve education in the region, supported by Aga Khan Foundation Canada.
Primary school enrollment in East Africa has improved significantly, but the number of children in class only tells part of the story. For students to get the most out of school, they need a quality education system with well-trained teachers and staff. AKFC is investing in strengthening school systems in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, with the support of Global Affairs Canada.
In Afghanistan’s rural northern provinces, the barriers to educating girls are diverse and always changing – but often, the solutions are simple. The Flexible Response Fund is a pilot program to support these solutions, by empowering communities to identify roadblocks to girls’ education and develop proposals to tackle the challenge. The fund finances these community-led initiatives, often working in tandem with local education officials.
AKFC works with partners in Bangladesh to improve access to quality early childhood care in some of the country’s most vulnerable communities. This work is supported by Global Affairs Canada, and is part of a broader initiative of the Aga Khan Development Network to invest in global early childhood development.
The first years of a child’s life lay the foundation for their future. With the right support, a child’s mind and body will develop to their full potential. But around the world, more than 200 million children do not have the support they need to reach their best. High rates of poverty, a lack of learning opportunities, poor health, and malnutrition are major barriers to children’s development in their early years. Learn how investing in early childhood development helps break the cycle of poverty.