Click on menu to see more
Click on menu to see more
Uganda is a country with a very high population of young people. 78% of the country’s huge population is below the age of 25 years making Uganda the youngest country in the world. Even more crucially for our purpose, 55% of the country’s population is below 18 years.
Uganda faces many social challenges today: namely poverty, gender inequality, overpopulation, vulnerable children and poorly educated teachers and students in the development of 21st century skills.
To address these problems, Ugandans can build a better future by improving youth education.
Ventures For Good offers a solution: Through the creation of a social educational enterprise, we can establish a sustainable secondary school for science and technology. Rather than relying on foreign assistance, Ugandans can build their own infrastructure. Our proposed plan will create a change from within by educating young people on modern agricultural methods, business development, technological advances and energy production. We will especially target the education of vulnerable children and young girls, who have been extremely and adversely impacted by the CoVid 19 pandemic. Cases of abuse, early marriage and early pregnancies have soared and the effects of this will likely affect the Ugandan schools well into the future. The time to act is now!
The secondary school will be vocational as well as academic, to prepare young people for the prevalent opportunities
and as well as challenges of this increasingly globalized 21st century.
The program will seek to engage the local community around the school as first beneficiaries and stakeholders. We shall also succeed at making the school gradually self-reliant. We can provide opportunities for business establishments as well as social benefits such that corporate sponsors, teachers, volunteers and international partners can work together to empower a new generation of competent, employable workers and/or entrepreneurs.
We will identify like-minded local and international partners for collaborative purposes. These may be schools, non-governmental organizations, government bodies, funding institutions, impact investors and so forth. We shall seek to build synergies with them in areas like education for learners, staff professional development, scholarship funding, business enterprises, etc. A seven-year approach allows us to raise funds slowly but impact-fully. In the first year, $150,000 will purchase 49% ownership of the land our Ugandan partners and future directors currently own, as well as build our first flagship building to train teachers and provide community resources. This flagship building will be a community hub where lectures will be given, workshops will be held, art and film will be showcased both to enhance and educate the community and to enlist support. Also, if funds allow, in this initial year, our first school building will be built in anticipation of student enrollment in year 2. In each of the subsequent 6 years, we will build another building for 100 students. Each year, we will need $100,000 and this will be raised by impact investors and the various enterprises on campus, such as a farm produce stand, a beanery, a piggery, a bakery , consulting and training services for the community, and other fund-raising initiatives.
Tuition fees will also be added to these funds, as 50% of students will pay, while 50% of deserving and vulnerable children will receive a scholarship. The school will also have an international reach, as it will receive the support of a charity organization in the United States and a social cooperative in Italy. In addition, at the end of the 7 years, we will create a co-op with students graduating from the school,forming mentorships, thus creating new job opportunities for the locals in about ten years.
With this project, the conditions of the local population and more generally of the country can therefore be improved through the collaboration of all participants and donors: the social impact of each action will certainly be high both in Uganda (students, teachers, families and population (local and abroad,). Our mission is to create a new generation of young Ugandans, trained and ready to participate in the 21st century world of work.
History, mission and purpose of our organization
Ventures For Good Foundation was established in 2012 in response to a few years of grass-roots volunteering in Uganda. It has continued to this day as a small non-profit whose mission is to serve under-served populations in the US and Africa. Each year we bring lessons and low-cost technology and related 21st century skills to the sub-Saharan region of Africa. Most of the work has been done in Uganda where the collaboration of American educators with African educators has ensured pedagogically sound, technology integrated lessons to teachers and students at 6 primary schools and one community hospital center. Another major focus has been on project based learning whereby teachers have engaged students in small projects as subjects for constructionist lessons, for example, brick making, bench making, sewing reusable menstrual pads, baking and bee-keeping such that skills as well as theory are taught.
Our mission is to serve the under-served, regardless of religion, race, abilities, or sexual orientation, but especially youth and young girls. We’ve established the Kabagezi Center in Jinja where many of the lessons are provided. While working in separate locations allows us to spread our lessons to a wider group of teachers and students, we also realize that conservation of resources, while expanding our services, is also important. In order for these primary students to succeed in sustainable careers, we must further their education. To this end, we are planning a secondary school for Science and Technology that will revolutionize the current curriculum by infusing employable skills and hands on training. Building on our history of project based learning, we will create a ground-breaking, academic and skills-based enhanced curriculum that will motivate, inspire and empower the youth to achieve success for themselves, the community and the country.
Market, culture and policy analysis of the targeted place
Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the world. According to my colleague who is the curricular writer for lower secondary, it is the 3rd poorest. According to statistics found at UNESCO, the GDP in thousands is 2,033 while the US is 62,641. There is a very large population, of which 40% is under the age of 14. Currently, out of a population of 42,729 (in thousands), 8, 862 are 15-24 years old while 20,053 are under 14. This is going to impact greatly on the availability of secondary schools in the not so distant future. With widespread corruption being almost a national culture, how will all these people stay healthy and be fed? Further research into level of educational attainment shows only Uganda data only going up to 2012 (a problem in itself): Uganda shows 2.7 % males and .8 % females attaining upper secondary completion. To compare for a similar period, in 2012, the US shows 47.1% males and 46.9% females completing upper secondary education. Of course, only people 25 and older were surveyed so we must assume things have gotten better. But offset that with a burgeoning population in the foreseeable future, we cannot guarantee things will not get worse. Also notice the gender disparity. According to the World bank, "decline in adolescent fertility is strongly associated with an increase in secondary school enrollment of girls. In regions with higher rates of adolescent fertility in 1990, such as Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, this relationship is even more pronounced."
Firstly, there is inadequate access to any secondary education, but especially that which is innovative, robust, fully engages communities for lasting transformation and promotes entrepreneurial skills to produce a better economy, sustainable health and combat corruption. Secondly, overcoming the gender disparity of secondary education in Uganda is essential to developing thriving communities. Educating a young girl will help stem the population growth as well as provide family stability, sustenance and role models for future generations. No longer should young women and children be abandoned to living in poverty.
Not only is the absence of secondary schooling a very concerning problem regarding Uganda's education system, but there is also the quality of the existing primary schools to consider. Primary schools are mandated but accomplishments are not. As more students strive to attend future secondary schools, primary schools will become more competitive and of better quality. In speaking about secondary schools, it's important to focus on the preparation for the workforce to reduce poverty, develop entrepreneurial skills, and/or focus on the pursuit of further education.
Working backwards, a solid secondary education, attended by students who have been adequately prepared in primary school, is necessary to set the path for most youth.
Therefore, Ventures Secondary School Project has as it’s target audience, the youth who have completed primary school, who have worked hard and shown promise. This school/business is aimed at teenagers, particularly, vulnerable children to include girls and orphans, who have little hope of attaining quality education to secure a future for themselves. This school will boast a 21st century educational plan. In this way, young Ugandans could acquire skills that they can use to find work at home or abroad or create their own businesses,
teaching them how to be self-sustainable and successful.
Value Proposition, products and services to be provided, relationship to the Millenium Development Goals.
We believe that we can achieve a self-sustaining, eco-friendly secondary school which will provide opportunities for skill-development by enabling the development of profitable enterprises on campus throughout the six-year program of education. By providing an environment rich with skill development such as pig and cattle raising, farming, energy production (windmills, solar power), scientific research, technology, and business formation, we can change the outcomes for these students and improve their living conditions in the short run, while positioning Uganda in the global economy in the long run. In order to be self-sustainable, some students will pay a tuition fee, while others, with fewer economic resources, will be given scholarships.
Because we intend to promote this educational system far and wide, it is essential that we begin with that end in mind, that is widespread recognition. Therefore, our first initiative will be to encourage community buy-in through community development efforts. Therefore, our first building, a flagship building, will not only train teachers but serve as a community hub. We will host dignitaries as well as farmers. Films, videos, and expert speakers will address public needs with inspirational talks and proven methodologies while providing a forum for discussions on farming, technological innovations, investment opportunities and energy solutions.
Ventures Secondary School will be a social enterprise, part for-profit and part non-profit. Our profitable side will host small businesses, housed on campus, and our non-profit side will provide an extraordinary education, with specializations in agricultural entrepreneurship, science and technology.
Millenium Development Goals
Because our school will enroll young girls at the rate of 50%, we will address the goal to promote gender equality and empower women. We will ensure that these girls develop a business mindset, promote a delay of pregnancy and learn the importance of child and community welfare. Our curriculum will then also address the next two millennial goals of 1. Reducing child mortality and 2. Improving maternal health. Early intervention will promote later improvements.
The next two millennial goals of combating disease and ensuring environmental sustainability are part and parcel of our regular curriculum, because we will focus on good and sustainable agricultural methods and scientific research and its applications.
Finally, because we are an international group from the US, Italy and Uganda, we can encourage even further global partnerships to provide instruction as well as internships and employment for our students.
We intend to cultivate young people who are equipped with the much desired competencies of today and tomorrow. In this way, the average standard of living in Uganda will be increased with better training for tomorrow's Ugandans.
Ventures Secondary School will differentiate itself: first, we train our own teachers in 21st century methodologies and skills. We will utilize the global network to infuse modern technologies and skills. We will become self-sustaining due to the products we produce and sell, and the skills we utilize to improve the surrounding communities. We will add internship opportunities, which may be basic like helping farmers produce better crops or raise animals but could also be internships at local or international businesses.
We have a practical plan in order to develop our project: we want to grow our school organically, one year at a time, being flexible enough as we build it to incorporate talents and developments from our ever changing world. Our plan is a 7 year build cycle unless funds are raised sooner. In the first year, as stated above we will erect a community hub, a flagship building, that will provide for community development as well as for training our first set of teachers. The Ugandan curriculum will be our mainstay, but because we are adding a multitude of skill development projects, we believe giving teachers time to become comfortable and knowledgeable in these newer methodologies is essential. These first recruits will therefore be very carefully chosen. They must be educated in the Ugandan curriculum but be willing to work at setting up the agricultural side of campus, do research into energy needs, set up the technology infrastructure and participate in decision making.It is important to retool teachers from the ground up in practical, engaging and learner-driven activities.
The main room in our flagship building will host events and will be surrounded by 8 rooms: 3 classrooms, 1 library, 2 dormitory rooms with bathrooms, 1 cafeteria. 1 kitchen. While this is functioning in year 1 as a teacher training facility and community hub, the second building will be built in anticipation of student enrollment, and in year 2, the newly trained teachers will work with 100 students in this second building while a new cohort of teachers will be trained in the hub building. This will continue until there are 6 additional buildings, 60 teachers, 600 students for a program totalling 7 years.
Barriers and competitor analysis
We were able to clearly identify our barriers, which are listed below. Identifying them will make it easier to defeat them or challenge us to improve our delivery. In particular:
· ill prepared leadership to lead the transformation
· lack of a well grounded team of champions and trained teachers in science, mathematics and technology
· poor attitude towards work and agriculture as an applied science by ugandans of all walks of life
· political interference mainly from those intending to pick low hanging fruits from projects or foreign investors
· corruption and poverty which manifests itself in many forms of public, private and personal activities in uganda
· funding to develop a stimulating learning environment
· securing 30 -100 acres of land in a prime location
· inadequate quality of secondary school teacher training. This in particular is a recurring issue, as our Ugandan colleagues attest.
It is not very hard to see that there are NOT many schools in the country that can provide this kind of skill building education; therefore, there are not many competitors in the country.
Because parents cannot afford schooling or youth are needed at home, many children who graduate from primary schools do not attend secondary school According to statistics from 2012, only 2.7 % males and .8 % females attaining upper secondary completion. While these are old statistics, these are the only currently available ones. There are more opportunities 8 years later but the general global comparison remains deficient. Although the country is not currently able to offer high-level education, we want to try to create a school that provides quality and advanced skills to Ugandan young people. we therefore evaluated other private schools, similar to our project.
In part, we could compare our project to the Musana.org project. This is a similar initiative to the one we propose and they have begun a vocational high school in 2017, currently in 4th year. They provide mostly blue collar skills such as mechanical and carpentry. However they are on schedule to be self-sustaining, just as our model proposes. They accede that they cannot be everywhere with their model so although we compete, there is more than enough room in the market. Also, we propose to provide more white collar skills such as technology training, energy resources and business enterprises on campus. We will also be secular.
There is also Kisubi school nearby- for affluent youth, which provides academic skills, and is college preparatory in nature. This model does not draw a large majority of students due to cost and may not provide the kind of employment skills necessary to help Uganda rise in the global economy.
In part, we could also compare our project to International schools. These provide a more holistic education, which is necessary to succeed but again is too expensive for the many, and is not self-sustaining.
All other schools are competitors as they strive, especially more recently to teach critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, information literacy and so forth. They struggle to be self-sustaining and often cannot teach employable skills due to lack of land and other resources. One typically lacking resource is the retraining of teachers.
Because of the sheer volume of students who need a secondary education, competition is not a real issue. Rather, collaboration or cooperation is a better approach to take. We believe we can provide a quality education that starts first with training teachers, then provides a curriculum which encourages critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and information literacy. We will add to that opportunities for skill building, first in agriculture (the backbone of the country) but also in technology and business development (entrepreneurship, internships) and energy study. We will be secular but provide time for reflection. We will prioritize being self-sustaining as we develop enterprises on campus.
Beneficiaries and Impact: improvements for Beneficiaries
Engaging the learners in practical and entrepreneurial skills in Agriculture which is the main economic base in Uganda and Science and Technology are necessary to achieve change from within the country instead of relying on foreign aid.
We can provide a better secondary school education that not only teaches practical skills in agriculture, which occupies almost two-thirds of the population, but technology, energy sources, and business skills such as entrepreneurship, marketing, importing, exporting, trade and other skills to enhance other sectors of the economy, such as roads and other infrastructure needs.
Who are the beneficiaries:
60 teachers to be trained
100 students per year for 6 years 600 students
Families of 600 students
Local community in general
Our successors who replicate our model
Care comes from contact, from connectedness and not isolation. Social enterprises are a good way to make a living, make a profit but also make a difference. The young have energy, idealism, and a future. As adults, we need to facilitate the travel of youth from 1st world countries to developing ones. And for those of us in a position to share, we should enable the youth in the developing countries to learn about science (agriculture) technology, sustainable energy, entrepreneurship and government responsibilities. Cross educational experiences will be facilitated. We will enlist students as well as faculty to travel to Uganda to initiate and participate in educational endeavors.
For profit businesses should enable business development in developing countries. firstly, because it will raise their level of consciousness and conscience-ness and secondly, to build their own businesses. Enabling youth world wide to make a difference benefits the planet. Corporate entities should take on corporate responsibility at the top level. Investors would respect more companies who contribute to the world's well-being.
Theory of change
The main change will be in the minds and hearts of those involved. People will see Uganda as a contributor to world welfare, not as a poor country in constant need of aid. Those who help to create the change will see themselves as enablers rather than donors and be proud of their efforts. They will also benefit financially and the world can benefit from a better infrastructure that curbs corruption and pollution and increases self-sustainability. Change from within.
Organizational Structure includes staffing needs
Our business structures will be a social enterprise. It will be run in 3 parts: an NGO in Uganda, supported by a social cooperative in Italy and a public charity in the US. In particular, in Italy, social cooperative belongs to the genre of social enterprises which includes private entities and companies that carry out, on a permanent and principal basis, a business activity of general interest, both non-profit and for civic solidarity and social utility (including precisely the education of minors and the inclusion of work of disadvantaged people, as regulated by Legislative Decree 112/2017).
In Uganda, forming an NGO is a good option. We could still raise money through business activities that benefit the school to share between the owners, stakeholders, and the school building and maintenance. Social impact organizations can still donate
to us. Governance is by the members. In the US, we would continue the existence of a public charity to solicit donations. These three entities would be aligned and in compliance with their local regulations.
So in terms of the secondary school, Dr. Emma Naluyima and Washington Mugerwa, our Ugandan partners and directors of the primary school, could operate another piggery within a new "social enterprise" structure, and we could set up some of the other "businesses" to also provide money to build and operate the school. We will develop these as we go along. Currently, there are many enterprises that could succeed: a bakery or a café, a farm stand, a beanery producing coffee, tea, vanilla or cocoa, and technology products and services.
As a true social enterprise, we will be building business enterprises to finance our secondary school for Science and Technology in Uganda. Fundraising is under way to raise $150,000 for our first phase which will include buying part ownership of land in Uganda and simultaneously start a farm for produce, a piggery, a beanery, possibly a bakery in Uganda which will contribute funds when complete. A flagship building will be designed and erected as a school and community hub. A smaller school building will also be erected for approximately $40,000. A charity in the US and a social cooperative in Italy will also raise funds through donations and investors. It will take 7 phases over 7 years. Each year after the first, we hope to raise $100,000 to build an additional building with enhancements, and to have students occupy the building after each year's teachers are trained in the flagship building. In total, we will have a flagship hub, 6 classroom buildings, a farm and a few enterprises to help sustain the school. We expect to collect tuition from students who can afford to pay and offer scholarships to vulnerable children (orphans and girls, especially).
We would like to train school groups in technological skills to advance the country's economic level. Furthermore, it is possible in any case to request an equity or association participation (within the board of the social enterprise) in which the persons to participate must contribute the payment of the capital, in order to provide the company (and therefore the school) with a capital to invest."
Partnerships-other charities, schools or corporations (such as Richard Fienland who can provide land, labor or services.
Social Impact Investors: we will attract investors who may be able to earn money. Doing well by doing good. It helps their reputation but it will also open markets with enhanced employees.
Volunteers- perhaps local builders and parents who could help in the building process under the guidance of an expert
Consumers- those who purchase some of our initial products. For example, if we invest in cattle and breed them, they can be sold for income. Also-companies (and farmers) who will benefit from student internships.
Beneficiaries- students and parents (some paying tuition- and some on scholarship). Beneficiaries could be a source of income as students would have to pay tuition, when economically feasible. In addition, teachers may also be asked to pay a participatory amount, guaranteeing them better training through foreign teachers who provide on-site courses to improve their skills. Other beneficiaries include young girls: "(to date less than 20% currently have secondary education, which leads to a lack of specific work skills that can improve living conditions. In particular, according to recent studies, girls are even more disadvantaged than the cost that their families have to bear: they are the ones who carry out tasks of great importance for families, such as going to get water or wood, taking care of younger siblings or older relatives or household chores. Still, if all girls had a chance to complete primary school, early marriages would drop by 14%. A percentage that rises to 64% if they complete secondary school. If all girls completed secondary school, 59% fewer pregnancies than girls under the age of 17 would result. And again, if all girls completed primary school, maternal mortality would drop by 70%. If in the next 10 years, all girls could complete upper secondary school, in sub-Saharan Africa there would be about 3 million fewer children dead by 2050. If all mothers could successfully complete secondary school, there would be around 12 million fewer children with growth disorders. An educated woman is also more aware of the actions to be taken to ask for lifesaving medical help, pregnancy care and newborn childcare. The higher the level of education, the greater their awareness of the importance of nutrition and health aspects). "
In addition, we simply cannot ignore the effects of the CoVid pandemic:
With over 15 million children and youths at home following nationwide school closure to control spread of COVID19, many children have suddenly been left vulnerable to social upheavals like defilement, child Labour and different forms of domestic violence. Parents have suddenly found themselves incapacitated for a new role of a teacher at home to manage the much needed learning of their children. Schools have become bankrupt and failed to adequately continue supporting parents and their pupils with home learning. The teachers themselves have been left without jobs, demoralized and turning in droves to do other things for their personal sustenance. The end result is appalling: over 2000 cases of pregnancy have been recorded. Early marriage is also on the rise, among other unfortunate incidents in families and communities. These all are a pointer to the fact schools have generally never built a robust system to ensure that communities are totally transformed socially and economically.
Surplus use and income:
While surplus is not anticipated for quite some time, it is still useful to maintain a target constraint for any surplus, perhaps 50% to be reinvested in the school and 50% to be divided among all the shareholders.
Once we offer better education for teachers, we will attract these under-educated ones to build their capacities. Once we convince the government that our model is a good one, more government officials will support our efforts and change their perceptions of a "foreigner" providing education. Once we show it can be done profitably, more companies will become involved.