Our (not unambitious) goal is to transform the prospects of sub-Saharan Africa in a generation – by showing nursery school teachers the power of play, how to organise their classrooms and how to make educational games out of recyclable material.
The challenges that Africa faces – poor governance, lack of investment, abuse of resources – can be attributed in part to weaknesses in education. With better education people would choose better leaders, attract more investment and husband resources more wisely.
One of the reasons that education has struggled, in our view, is that children don’t have their brains “turned on” adequately in their formative first seven years. That’s because nursery school teachers are invariably untrained and under-resourced.
Our programme addresses this at very low cost (about USD 3 per child per year); is highly scaleable; and seems to work.
The training courses we provide run over two years. We undertake monthly class room visits throughout the programme and then, at a reduced level, indefinitely.
The teachers welcome our involvement because it doesn’t cost them anything, unlocks their creativity, clearly benefits the children and makes them feel valued and value-adding.
We collect and process substantial amounts of data on the nursery schools and on the journeys of the children over the medium term – so as to measure our impact as well as to provide insights into what is really happening in this highly fragmented, unsupervised but vitally important space.
We have reached 5,500 nursery school teachers in the past five years which equates to about 150,000 children. Our aim is to reach the 120,000 nursery school teachers that we calculate exist across the four countries we target. This would equate to about 3.5 million children.
Our success will depend on the success or otherwise of our sister initiative Perivoli Innovations www.perivoliinnovations.com which invests in early stage life science, medical, digital and other new technologies, the profits from which it is hoped will fund the nursery school teacher training programme long term.