Education in many precolonial African states was in the form of apprenticeship, which was a form of informal education, where children and or younger members of each household mostly learned from older members of their household, and community. In most cases, each household member learned more than one skills in addition to learning the values, socialization, and norms of the community/tribe/household. Some of the common skills that people in precolonial Africa had to learn include, dancing, farming, wine making, cooking (mostly the females), and in some cases selected people learn how to practice herbal medicine, how to carve stools, how to carve masks and other furniture.

The onset of the colonial period in the 19th century marked the beginning of the end for traditional African education as the primary method of instruction. European military forces, missionaries, and colonists all came ready and willing to change existing traditions to meet their own needs and ambitions.

Since the introduction of formal education to Africa by European colonists, African education, particularly in West and Central Africa, is characterised by both traditional African teachings and European-style schooling systems. The state of education reflects not only the effects of colonialism, but instability resulting from and exacerbated by armed conflicts in many regions of Africa as well as fallout from humanitarian crises such as famine, lack of drinking water, and outbreaks of diseases such as malaria and Ebola, among others. Although the quality of education and the quantity of well-equipped schools and teachers has steadily increased since the onset of the colonial period, there are still numerous inequalities evident in the existing educational systems based on region, economic status, and gender.

Between the 1950s and 1990s, African countries finally regained their independence. With this recovered freedom, they began to rebuild their traditional forms of education. What had inevitably evolved, however, was a hybrid of the two models. With the collaboration of donor agencies and Western demand, pushes for development of African education and the building of human capital dominated global conversation. Namely, the 1960s were known as the First Development Decade by the UN. Policymakers prioritized secondary and tertiary education before also setting their sights for universal primary education around 1980. This set the precedent for educational planning. Although children and adults may learn from their families and community, a sense of individuality has also developed that today both drives ingenuity and creates separation between groups and cultural tradition. African education programs have developed that involve both groups; an HIV/AIDS awareness program, for example, may involve members coming into communities and sharing their knowledge. Although this is a direct, cognitive approach, they also try to involve all members of the community, allowing for the creation of ownership and cultural acceptance.

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Mobilizing local resources from local people to solve local problems facing local people

Local communities understand their own needs, challenges, and strengths better than external organizations. When communities are actively involved in planning, development and implementation of initiatives as well as contributing resources, they feel a sense of ownership and pride in the initiatives and programs being supported. This increases their engagement and commitment to the success of these endeavors. Mobilizing resources locally allows for the development of solutions that are culturally relevant and tailored to the specific context of the community. This is the heart of Education in Crisis’ founding.

With the founding principle of mobilizing local resources from local people to solve local problems facing local people in Africa, EIC through this experience continues to mobilize youth, organizations, governments, policymakers, and communities to invest in the right to education of every child and youth as a long term investment in sustainably solving their poverty crises.

EIC, acronym for the Education in Crisis, is a youth-led multilateral fund that was founded by university students in 2019. Based in Africa’s Tanzania, EIC is committed to mobilizing local resources from within local communities to address the pressing issues that affect everyday people in the local contexts. With a focus on inclusive, equitable, and quality education, EIC is dedicated to poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

EIC recognizes that local problems require local solutions, and this is the driving force behind their mission. By empowering communities to take charge of their own development, EIC is paving the way for a brighter future for all. Through their work, EIC is creating opportunities for young people to thrive, and for communities to come together in pursuit of a common goal.

One of the key strengths of EIC is their ability to tap into the resources that already exist within local communities. By working with local people, EIC can identify the unique needs of each community and develop tailored solutions that are effective and sustainable. This approach has enabled EIC to make a real difference in the lives of countless individuals, and to create lasting change that benefits everyone.

From facing challenges accessing university or college education in 2019, George Omer Nalo approached his colleagues at different universities about the idea of giving back to their community in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. Those that bought the idea were originally about 42 but when they started to monthly contribute equivalent to $3, they were left only two contributing with Isaac Abdu Bringi.

After the formal registration by the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (SRRA), two school-drop-out girls (Chichi Simon and Martha Khamis (R.I.P, May 2023)) in the Nuba Mountains, Sudan became the first foundational scholars to be given scholarship after the school head teacher availed their names and school reports cards. Considering the situation in the region already marginalized for more than 20 years although the girls were among the top performing students in class, due to financial difficulties, their education was critically in crisis and so their dreams put on hold. With the help of the school, the two girls were traced and brought them back to class.

This was the birth of the Foundational Scholars Program.

By establishing a Foundational Scholar’s Program with the aim of supporting 100 children who would eventually become donors was not just a brilliant initiative with the potential for significant long-term impact but a mindset change journey EIC embarked on to foster a culture of philanthropy, empowering underserved communities through education, and creating a cycle of giving back throughout the areas of operation in the future.

To effect this, EIC shall establish a strong alumni network to provide ongoing support and mentorship to scholars as they transition into adulthood. Encourage alumni to give back to the program through donations, volunteering, or serving as Learner Guides or mentors. As the scholars participate in the program, EIC through partners shall occasionally incorporate activities such as workshops or fellowships and curriculum components that promote the values of generosity, empathy, and social responsibility. Encourage scholars to volunteer in their communities and participate in fundraising initiatives to support the next generation of indigenous donors. Our goal in 20 years to have at least 1,000 donors who are former program beneficiaries supporting the program through their financial and expertise contributions.


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