Education & Outreach
We see every challenge as an opportunity, and this initiative helps us ensure that our partners are better prepared to manage the unique situations they find themselves in. We are invested in an innovative approach that empowers our community and delivers the support they need, when they need it.
Many African communities continue to be plagued by the problem of illiteracy, which is not only undermining the development efforts of government but also increasing conflicts between governments and people, between peoples, and between communities. Yet, education is universally idealized as a springboard to opportunity. In some communities, the illiteracy rates are as high as 90 percent, resulting in the inability of millions of people to compete favorably in a fast changing world. Because the world has become more complex, there is great need for our communities and peoples to match this complexity by gaining the required skills to compete favorably with their peers.
Most of the problem with education in Africa is institutional, based on the structural inadequacies of systems to provide the needed platform for people to develop their potentials to the highest levels possible. Our foundation focuses on the core of these institutional challenges beyond supporting campaigns to liberalize education, including helping to create the appropriate processes to improve learning. Some of the problems involve funding – to provide more qualified teachers, more appropriate classrooms, and to provide resources such as functional libraries and sports facilities to engage the creative energies of young people. However, some of the more direct challenges involve a personal nature – the inability of parents to provide tuition, uniforms, and books for their children.
The combination of the above factors means that the stakes for educating our communities are very high. Limited opportunities and inadequate resources can dramatically lower the ability of millions of young people on the continent to support themselves and their community tomorrow. Not only will this create pressure for governments by driving the cost of government up, it will also create large scale social instability when many of the affected people grow up to have no skills, no jobs, and no opportunities for escaping poverty.
By focusing on the needs of communities, especially the common goal of improving access to education for people who live below poverty lines, we can help to increase awareness about the plight of indigent students and provide support to increase access.
The Okonofua Foundation is committed to increasing access to education – at all levels – for communities, especially underserved communities, in Africa. We have developed two main lines of efforts to increase students’ access to education. Our scholarship program offers education scholarship at all levels to students in dire need but possessing the ability to maintain solid studentship. In other words, we will give time-based scholarships (that do not run over year by year) to deserving students at all levels or phases of the education process. Our facility improvement program offers support to improve educational facilities, including the provision of desks and chairs, books, computers and library resources, teaching aids, and sports equipment. Each program is designed in an effort to improve the connection between students and communities, bearing in mind that the students will use the education they acquire to improve the conditions of the communities.