Africa will be 40% of the world by 2100—its population is expected to grow from 1.2 to 4 billion and the continent could have more youth at that time than the total population of the United States. As many as 90% of African youth are projected to work in the informal sector. These demographics, along with a scarcity of jobs, have led to dramatic rates of youth unemployment. Education systems in Africa already face challenges meeting young people’s needs–current curricula and teaching methods don’t consistently prepare students for what’s to come following graduation. Despite an eagerness and commitment to learn, even students who finish secondary school often find themselves lacking the skills needed for the few available jobs, leading to unemployment and underemployment.
Educate! believes that by transforming post-primary education we can equip youth with the skills to disrupt this systemic problem of youth unemployment. Educate! works in three ways: (1) directly delivering skills-based education in secondary schools in East Africa, (2) integrating skills-based education into national education systems, and (3) building a new educational solution to impact out-of-school youth.
Educate!’s flagship model in Uganda teaches transferable/soft skills demanded most by both employers and students themselves, such as teamwork, public speaking, networking, critical thinking, self-confidence, and creativity. On top of those foundational soft skills, we layer the hard skills of business including planning, budgeting, savings, and market research.
Two rigorous external evaluations, including a randomized controlled trial (RCT), found that towards the end of secondary school, participants of our flagship model earn nearly DOUBLE the income of their peers and are 44% more likely to launch a business. A follow-up RCT found that four years later, our graduates demonstrate large and durable shifts in skills, coupled with significant improvements in education and gender equity-related outcomes. Girls achieve even greater results.
At the start of 2020, Educate! was working with a total of 46,000+ youth across over 1,000 schools across East Africa. In 2020, we also built upon the lessons learned from our 10+ years of work in order to design and implement remote education solutions. We’ve created a product to deliver key components of our proven in-school model — skills lessons, practical experience and mentorship, and assessments — directly to youth through low-tech, accessible mediums, like radio, SMS, and phone calls.