Notes from Emily…
The reason I value education so much in the “war on poverty” is that knowledge increases potential and opportunities. Uganda looks to be the most promising nation (out of South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania) in terms of economic development.
One of the things Uganda has done well since the Millennium Development Goals were set is provide access to primary school education. Most children in the past two decades go to and complete primary school. Unfortunately, less than 1 in 5 are able to further their education (it’s too expensive). But at least that means the primary skills, such as simple math, basic English, reading, and writing are now the norm, giving people and communities something to work with.
If someone doesn’t even have basic math, how can they budget for a business? If a Ugandan only knows their tribal language, how can they travel to another district? At school they learn some English, which is the Ugandan national language, and also Swahili, which is the East African language (they call it the trade language).
So, even without learning a specific trade, education sets a person up to manage their assets, possibly create a small business, and have mobility within the country.
Uganda Orphans Fund’s goal is to educate kids to point where they can start life with a certified skill. This puts them in competition with the wealthier sector, which is good for their work opportunities and it produces equality economically and socially. There are definitely things I would change to help Uganda make better use of its resources. But maybe, just maybe, the kids in our care will be the ones to raise the benchmark for character, initiative, and creative ideas.