Schools for Africa
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
— Nelson Mandela
Mandela’s Vision: Education Can Change the World
The most powerful weapon for changing the world is not a gun or a sword. It is, according to the late Nelson Mandela, an education.
Mandela believed that education is the key to everything: dignity, prosperity, health and democracy. The former South African President died on December 5th, 2013, but his vision continues to drive the Schools for Africa initiative, which was founded in 2004 by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Hamburg Society (now the Peter Kramer Foundation) and UNICEF. This critical campaign promotes education for all, with a special emphasis on girls, orphans, children living in extreme poverty and other vulnerable children.
It has raised more than $164 million and benefited more than 21 million children in 11 African countries (Angola, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe). In 2014, the program will expand to 13 countries with the addition of Guinea Bissau & Sierra Leone.
Sub-Saharan African Children Kept Out of School
Despite this wonderful progress, much more needs to be done. Of the more than 57 million children around the world out of school, more than half live in sub-Saharan Africa. They may be kept out because of conflict, discrimination or poverty. Or for even simpler reasons: There are not enough schools or not enough teachers.
Through Schools for Africa, UNICEF works closely with governments, communities and other partners to:
- build, repair and furnish schools;
- provide access to clean water and separate latrines for boys and girls;
- improve education by training teachers;
- supply students with school materials and recreation equipment.
A New Phase for Education in Africa
Schools for Africa recently launched a new phase of the campaign and an $80 million fundraising drive. The aim is to reach the most vulnerable children in Angola, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Education gives children confidence and empowerment. An educated child is less likely to be a victim of violence or exploitation and more likely to invest in his or her community and the welfare of the next generation of children.
The K.I.N.D. Fund for Kids In Need of Desks
In late 2010, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF teamed up with MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell to launch a unique donation campaign. Kids in Need of Desks aims to provide a first step toward creating high-quality, inclusive schools in Malawi, where only 1 in 5 school children can sit at a proper desk.
Since then, the K.I.N.D Fund has raised more than $5.6 million. By the end of 2013, the program will have enabled UNICEF to reach a total of 221,596 students.