Supporting Education in Africa (Enterprise Academies):
In response to an invitation, a few years of preparation, fund raising and visits we built a small two classroom school in Butale, Uganda which opened in 2007. Others are now developing the project further. Following the success of this project we decided to set up a longer term work with a broader team and resource base.
Whilst Inergy Systems provides professional tuition and training services in the UK our emerging relationships in Africa have given us the opportunity to build more schools. Through Inergy I personally provide tutoring in Maths and Sciences to GCSE & IGCSE and Chemistry to A’ level. I’ve also provided training courses in thermal imaging with diagnostic analysis for industrial clients. With a broad background in education and industry this has given me further insight into the way education and training prepares young people for gainful and productive employment. This has helped bring to birth the vision outlined below.
There is a strong link between education that draws on the potential of the prevailing environment and successful agricultural enterprise.
Whilst having built the school in Uganda we became aware that there were many young people who had left their schools and were unemployed, vulnerable to obvious damaging influences in their communities. Whilst in Kampala I saw crowds of unemployed young people wandering aimlessly on dusty roads and abandoned ‘brown field’ sites. It’s clear that primary and secondary education is essential but what is needed is productive skills and local income generating enterprises that will engage them.
Associated enterprise is what we’ve had in mind for sustainable vocational schools – Enterprise Academies. This will include agricultural and related manufacturing initiatives. When I was in Uganda I noticed the soil was rich – excellent for commercial farming. This is a typical feature of many African nations. Everything grows so quickly. Aloe Vera grows like weeds do over here in the UK. The issue is often that land isn’t worked. There is often a need for start-up resources. Gainful employment helps restore a sense of individual value and personal dignity.
In addition to academic teaching, Enterprise Academies will include the provision of enterprise skills training using resources available locally. This particularly applies in developing nations where the sustainability of a vocational school and it’s local community depends more on local income generation.
In order to build vocational schools with associated enterprises there is a need for land or property with buildings – officially designated for the purpose of teaching, training and sustaining enterprise. We aim to initially set up a charitable trust in Sierra Leone to begin to build our first vocational school in Sierra Leone funded by an associated income-generating enterprise on the same land in 2018. We have been offered some land in Sierra Leone for the charitable purpose for permanent dedication and use by the charity. This use will be exclusively for the Enterprise Academy. The produce of this land will help fund the building of the school. Selected Agricultural Enterprises will include the following: harvesting palm oil, growing Aloe Vera, making soap from palm oil and potash (lye), making paper, growing roses, growing spices. Income will come from local sales and in due time export. The school will cater for an agreed age range of children according to local need, then it will be developed to cater for vocational training. We’re aware that the Sierra Leone government are looking at new sustainable initiatives that help their communities. This initiative is long term and will be secure from termination ensuring its continuity through legal agreement, protected by relevant authorities. This model is built on permaculture principles supporting sustainable development with its manifold benefits both socially and environmentally.
Once operating successfully the aim is to replicate the Enterprise Academy model in other areas of Africa.
If this is of interest please feel free to contact us