Areas of Focus: Education

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EMpower’s work with young people embraces the power of education. Among the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Education is Goal #4, one that many would argue is a “root goal,” essential to a better future.

Education has been proven to have effects on reducing poverty and violence, and improving health outcomes for mothers and children. It has been shown to contribute to individual happiness, feelings of self-worth and resiliency. If that’s not enough, many draw a link between education and a nation’s economic growth.

Specifically, the link is to quality of education. The World Bank concludes that “educational quality – particularly in assessing policies related to developing countries – is THE key issue.”

Our work closely aligns with two of the targets associated with SDG #4: By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education, and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations. Around the globe, approximately 200 million 12-17 year-olds are not in school. Our efforts seek to reduce and eliminate barriers to attending school with practical interventions such as subsidizing school fees or uniforms.

For youth who are out of school, we support “second chance” programs that provide basic numeracy and literacy through complementary or remedial education. Young people then can be mainstreamed into a school or achieve fundamental skills outside of the school setting.

The quality of education is uneven in the EM countries where EMpower works. Often classrooms are overcrowded, teachers are poorly trained or absent and the curriculum does not prepare youth for the real world. Despite their regular attendance at school, many youth lack reading, writing and math skills. To strengthen quality for each and every student, EMpower supports after-school, weekend and holiday tutoring or coaching that fills the gaps. Some programs directly target improving teacher skills.

EMpower works with local grantee partners that use relevant, practical approaches that will prepare students for real life in their specific settings, such as agricultural-focused skills for future livelihoods in rural communities.

Our work in educating at-risk youth focuses on:
  • Improving the quality and relevance of education
  • Building in 21st century skills needed to survive, much less thrive, in EM economies and societies
  • Closing the gender gap in education, especially on secondary school completion for girls
  • Boosting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills, especially for girls
  • Facilitating 2nd Chance education for those who never got to school or had to drop-out

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela


Our Grantee Partners’ Work in Education

Ikamva Youth, South Africa

EMpower grantee partner IkamvaYouth offers free after-school tutoring and career counseling in South Africa’s townships, where many schools lack access to electricity, water and sanitation, and many don’t have enough qualified teachers. Nationally, only 4% of township students enter college.
Ikamva Youth’s model is transforming this statistic – and young people’s lives! By connecting youths for peer-to-peer tutoring and offering opportunities to excel, 69% of Ikamva learners have enrolled in college since 2005. As an Ikamva Learner said, “A dream or a talent, no matter how brilliant it is, it will die if it does not meet opportunity.”

Check out this video describing their amazing work.

Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.