What an amazing few months we’ve had at Link. At the beginning of the year we travelled to Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda and brought together our programme leads from Ghana, Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda, who joined Sam and Fiona from the Edinburgh team.
The purpose of all of us coming together like this was to share the knowledge and best practice from our rural education projects and agree Link’s strategic priorities for the next three years.
As always, the main focus of our discussions was ensuring that our projects continue to improve the learning of tens of thousands of children and young people across the world. We looked at our core model and concluded that our strengths lie in school improvement, gender equality, literacy, teacher development and school leadership. Evidence brought forward from the teams shows that by strengthening these areas children’s learning will improve long-term – and this is the key to allowing communities to lift themselves out of poverty.
We chose to gather in Kigali because we have been exploring the potential to work in Rwanda for many years. Like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Rwanda faces severe challenges in delivering quality education and there is a clear need for our specialist work. Link Rwanda will be the first new Link office to open in a decade – a truly exciting milestone for us in 2017.
Whilst in Kigali the team met with Health Poverty Action, a charity specialising in combating health issues which strike in impoverished areas. We’ve partnered with them to deliver a new girls’ education project, which we were able to start work on in April. Our role has been to set up study clubs in communities, which are run by secondary school leavers. These clubs support children who have missed lessons, need a place to catch up on homework or have had trouble understanding certain things in class – further strengthening their education. Older children are also able to mentor younger ones and share their knowledge. To make this a success, we’ve also helped to produce learning aids to be used in the study clubs, made from locally available resources such as rice sacks, cardboard and bottle tops.
Bringing together our programme leaders allowed us to share and discuss insights from all of our projects across the world. We’re now using that knowledge to improve the effectiveness of our work and continue to make an incredible difference to those impoverished communities.
Fiona Greig is Chief Executive of Link Community Development
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