Archive for March, 2012

March 29, 2012

A Message from AIA’s President!

Hey everyone – this is Brendan, Achieve in Africa’s President.  It’s been three years since I co-founded AIA.  Over that time, we’ve been able to raise $67,500 for our past projects and worked to build our organizational capacity to take on large projects.  By rebuilding two classrooms and renovating seven more at the Olasiti Primary School, we’ve improved the learning environment for over 100 students and improved the student-teacher ratio and decreased the number of students per classroom by twelve.  Not only do the 100 students benefit from the new classrooms, but so do their peers in other classrooms that are now smaller in size.

Here’s a video of the primary school teachers talking about the work that AIA has done.

AIA is currently working to provide enough secondary school classrooms and desks to accommodate a new grade level of students each year.  So far, we have worked with the village government and partners to build five classrooms and ten bathrooms, enough to accommodate the first grade level of students.

While we’ve been incredibly successful so far, we have so much more to do.  To help us build more classrooms for our secondary school, we need your support.  Here are some ways to help:

–       Donate

–       Become an Ambassador

–       Share your connections

–       Like on Facebook, Follow on Twitter
Asanteni sana rafikis (thank you my friends)

Pamoja, tutafaula (together, we will achieve)


March 21, 2012

Thoughts on Education from AIA team member David Fefferman!

This week we are introducing a new AIA team member — David Fefferman! 

David is our Online Strategy Director and a valuable member of the AIA team!  Below are his perspective on educaton and the importance of sharing that privilege with others:

” I was never really a fan of formal education — with all of its homework, studying, paper fudging and snooze-inducing classes. School sucked. Don’t get me wrong, I played the game and did pretty well for myself, but the class subjects always felt trivial and the concepts too theoretical.

…And then I graduated college.

It’s funny looking back on the days of my education and realizing, now, with that stereotypical 20/20 vision, just how great I had it and how incredibly privileged I was. There’s so much to extract from an education beyond the drudgery I often found myself moping about.

I learned not only things, but how to learn things. I learned to navigate obstacles and keep focused on an end goal. I was enlightened to the fact that I can be wrong (go figure) and learn from being wrong. And, in my eyes, the most important opportunity afforded me by formal education was the environment — comprised of the people who I’ve grown up with and still learn from.  They are people I probably would have never met had it not been for the academic environment that forced us to make initial contact and interact. Heck, I met the individuals who I started my first serious businesses with, GrubUp and CloudChow. Back in my high school days, I even met Brendan Callahan of Achieve In Africa.

What’s kind-of strange is that I think I knew how privileged I was all along – even as the horrifying midterms and arduous reports consumed my weekends. I knew that one day I would look back on my academic years and realize how lucky I was and how silly it was of me to even consider taking the precious gift of an education for granted. There are so, so many less fortunate than me, with less opportunities than me, and no reason for anyone to force them to finish their homework every night.

And that’s why I got involved in Achieve In Africa.”

March 15, 2012

Facts and Stats on Education in Africa (Part 2)

I can’t believe it was three yeas ago that I posted the first post of interesting facts I’ve come across on education in Africa. Brought back by popular demand, here are some more interesting facts and stats on education in Africa. Special thanks to Kristin for compiling most of these 🙂

Facts on Girls’ Education in Africa

  • A girl who finishes basic education is 3 times less likely to contract HIV/AIDS. (USAID)
  • If all women in sub-Saharan Africa finished secondary education, 1.8 million lives could be saved annually. (USAID)
  • Nearly half (47%) of primary school aged girls are not attending school. (Nation Master)
  • For every year that a girl remains in school beyond 4th grade, their wages increase 20%. (USAID)
  • Between 2004 and 2010, pregnancy among Tanzanian girls aged 15 to 19 years fell by about 12%. Still, more than 40% of young women begin having children by age 18, and the country has one of the highest adolescent pregnancy rates in the world. (UNICEF)
  • In 2010, a survey showed that at least 93% of girls from the wealthiest households completed primary education, as compared to only 54% from the poorest families. (The Citizen)
  • Girls in urban areas of Tanzania were eight times more likely to finish secondary education than girls in rural areas. (The Citizen)
  • In Tanzania, 49% of girls among the wealthiest households compared with only 9% from the poorest families complete secondary education. (The Citizen)

School Enrollment in Africa

  • Globally, 69 million school-age children are not currently attending school. (The New York Times)
  • Currently, Tanzanian children are expected to receive 5.3 years of schooling in their lifetimes. (UN)
  • About 58% of 5-to- 6-year-olds in Tanzania do not attend pre-primary schools, which serves as a foundation for better educational outcomes. (The Citizen)
  • There are 604,378 primary-school aged children who do not currently attend school. (Nation Master)
  • Only 72% of students complete primary school. (Nation Master)
  • The student-teacher ratio in Tanzanian primary schools is 55.86 students per teacher. (Nation Master)
  • Two thirds of Tanzanian children do not go on to secondary school. (UNICEF)
  • Only 0.7% of students enroll in tertiary education. (Nation Master)

Poverty and Education

  • Many of the 7.6 million young Tanzanian children today are living in poverty.  (The Citizen)
  • Typically, poor countries devote budgets for education disproportionately to universities and higher education, because urban, middle-class students and their families have political clout. Consequently, primary schools in rural areas and urban slums are widely neglected. (The New York Times)
  • 88% of Tanzania schoolchildren in urban areas were attending primary school, as compared with 78% in rural schools. (The Citizen)
  • For each year of school completed, an individual’s earnings increase by 10%. (USAID)
  • On average, Tanzanian adults have had 5.1 years of schooling. (UN)

Literacy in Africa

  • Less than three-quarters (73%) of Tanzanian adults are literate. (World Bank)
  • Among Tanzanians aged 15 to 24 years, 79% of males and 76% or females are literate. (World Bank)
March 9, 2012

Updates from the field!

We have exciting updates from the field this week!  Olasiti’s Secondary School has officially opened for the first grade level of students!  Below are several pictures that show the progress we have been making on the school construction.

We are in the process of constructing desks for each classroom.  50 desks are required for each classroom, and each desk can be constructed through a donation of $44.

The stand-alone structure featured below holds bathrooms for the first grade level of students coming into the secondary school.  The last picture shows the bathroom on far left with the five new classrooms that make up the beginning of our school.

We have five classrooms already and we plan to build 19 additional classrooms so that the school can accommodate 6 grade levels (at four classrooms per grade level).  This is a cost of $10,000 per classroom.  Our goal is ambitious, but with your support it is definitely attainable.  Please consider getting involved in one of three ways: donate, become an Ambassador, or bring us your connections.

Thank you!

March 7, 2012

Meet AIA team member Katrina!

Hello friends!  This week we are continuing with our efforts to help you get to know the AIA team better by introducing you to Katrina Schweithelm.  Katrina is our Graphic Design Volunteer and is a great asset to our team!  Please read Katrina’s words below to learn more about her and why she is dedicated to the work of Achieve in Africa!

“I was born in Indonesia, and also lived in a few other third world countries as a child.  My dad’s job, which brought us to these places, allowed me to go to great international schools.  My classmates were from all over the world,  and our teachers always made a point to celebrate all of our nationalities and customs.

However, close by, there were other children who lived in extreme poverty.  Education was a luxury for those kids,  because learning how to spell could not feed the family, and often everyone had work and pitch in.

Making education accessible and universal is a necessity for alleviating poverty and disease worldwide. Schools, like the ones being built in Olasiti, will fortify the next generations to be successful individuals and leaders of their community.

I volunteer with Achieve in Africa because I believe that literacy and comprehension give people the freedom to ‘paddle there own canoe.’  I hope that my small contributions can make a difference for one child, or an entire village.

Knowledge is an exponential resource, and I believe that we must help it develop in any way that we can.”

Please continue to check out our future posts to learn more about the AIA team and visit our website to stay up-to-date on our current projects!