Academic journal article Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin

Schools for Africa: Transforming Lives through Education

Academic journal article Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin

Schools for Africa: Transforming Lives through Education

Article excerpt

Schools for Africa (SFA), Delta Kappa Gammas first international project, provides an opportunity for members to educate children in the global village. Monetary donations to SFA made through the U.S. Fund for UNICEF reach children who are deprived of an education in 11 of the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This article examines the history, focus, goals, and current status of SFA, including DKG's role in the project, to help readers better understand the critical need for all members of the Society to embrace this project.

Schools for Africa History

Per Engebak, UNICEF Regional Director, Eastern and Southern Africa, expressed the basic reasoning behind Schools for Africa (SFA) when he stated, "No other investment has such a lasting effect as the education of children. Children who go to school are healthier, more self-assured and can more easily assume a profession. And education is the only effective vaccine against HIV/AIDS" (UNICEF, 2007). UNICEF, partnering with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Hamburg Society, now known as Peter Krämer Stiftung, joined forces on December 6, 2004 in Cape Town, South Africa to form SFA. The campaigns mission addressed access to quality basic education for children, focusing on girls, orphans, and other vulnerable youngsters. The idea was the brainchild of German shipping magnate Peter Krämer, who personally donated EUR 3.8 million (around U.S. $ 5.0 million) to SFA. Since its inception, the campaign has amassed contributions from corporate, state, and individual donors.

Initially, SFA supported education in six countries: Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. These countries displayed the greatest need for UNICEF's holistic, child-friendly schools programs. During Phase 1 (2005-2009), SFA reached its initial target of U.S. $50 million for the education of 4 million children a year before schedule. SFA launched Phase 2 (2009-2013) in September 2009 and added five more countries to receive services: Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ethiopia, and Madagascar. Phase 2 has a monetary goal of $70 million to benefit 8 million more children in 11 countries.

UNICEF works with governments, local leaders, communities, and other partners within the context of SFA to attract children to school, keep them in school, and provide a safe environment for learning and playing. Villagers, partnered with UNICEF workers, build the schools and then take on the responsibility of running and maintaining them. Simultaneously, UNICEF helps national agencies institutionalize and build upon the SFA approach and structure, so that successes in one locality may be replicated in others (UNICEF, 2007).

SFA Focus and Goals

The founding goals of SFA focused on the concept of Child- Friendly Schools (CFS). Later, SFA found itself folded with the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) first established in 2000, specifically under MDGs 2 and 3. These two MDGs called for full primary enrollment as well as gender parity and equality in education by 2015 (UN, 2000). Appropriate strategies have been implemented annually based on circumstances in each of the SFA countries. To that end, the goals for SFA Phase 2 included providing

* improved classroom buildings and equipment,

* safe water and improved sanitation facilities for girls and boys,

* other facilities (e.g. play areas, libraries, gardens, etc.),

* life-skills education (including but not limited to HIV prevention, health, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, etc.),

* teaching and learning materials,

* community participation in school management,

* trained teachers/facilitators/heads (inservice and preservice training) to provide children with quality education and basic life skills,

* other interventions (including but not limited to health check-ups and immunization, scholarships, etc.),

* a stimulating start in life to children below age five, and

* policy work to scale up CFS programs in all schools within the nation. …

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