The WISE Awards

The Educate! Experience

Activity: Teaching secondary school youth the skills to start their own businesses, improve their livelihoods, and develop their communities

Name of the Organization: Educate!

Headquarter: USA

Geographical reach: Uganda

Number of beneficiaries: Over 90,000 secondary school youth

Project Representative: Mr. Boris Bulayev


2015 WISE Awards - Educate! lesson at Kampala High School

About the Project

Educate! partners with secondary schools across Uganda to deliver an innovative, impactful, and cost-effective model of education that is practical, relevant, and student-centered. Throughout the last five years, they have provided secondary school students in Uganda with the 21st century skills needed to take leadership initiatives, create their own small businesses, and improve their livelihoods. By impacting youth directly, building teachers’ capacity to deliver student-centered learning, and advocating for system-wide adoption of their model, Educate! aims at transforming secondary education in Africa.
Context and Issue

Globally, 311 million young people are unemployed, largely due to the mismatch between education and the world of work. This problem is most acute in Africa. With a lack of formal jobs, 90 percent of African youth will work in the informal sector. Secondary education offers a huge opportunity to capitalize on a largely untapped resource for change.
The Solution and Impact

Educate! is transforming secondary education in Africa to bring youth out of poverty and develop the leaders and entrepreneurs necessary to drive development. Educate!'s model is based on three main pillars: 
  • A cost-effective, replicable, and scalable model. Educate! is one of the few social enterprises in the youth space in Sub-Saharan Africa working to create a massively repeatable and cost-effective secondary education solution for African youth. The organization’s aim is to impact one million youth annually at 1/6th of the cost of a year of secondary school. 
  • Sustainability. In addition to implementing a cost-sharing model with schools in the short and medium term, Educate! has successfully integrated much of their curriculum into Uganda's national entrepreneurship curriculum and in the long term the project seeks systems-level adoption of their model in countries across Africa. 
  • Measurable impacts. Educate! has created a model of education that is directly accountable for life outcomes investing heavily in measuring and managing the impact. Educate! created their own evaluation tools, including a multi-dimensional youth poverty tool and the Secondary Skills Assessment Tool, and they have partnered with Innovations for Poverty Action to conduct the first randomized controlled trial of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Outputs are monitored through 19 performance indicators and the program is evaluated based on four outcomes they target for youth: 1) Improved livelihoods, 2) Increased Business and Job Creation, 3) Improved Community Participation, and 4) Improved 21st Century Skills.

Educate!'s internal evaluation has shown the impact on the first two classes: Graduates earned 160 percent more than students just entering the program and 94 percent of graduates from now run a business, hold a job or attend university. Educate! Scholars overall earn double the income of their peers, are 64 percent more likely to own their own businesses, and are 123 percent more likely to have led a community project. Forty-four percent of Educate! Graduates with a business employ at least one other person.

Future Developments

Educate!’s ten year expansion plans aim to create systemic change by working at the policy level in six African countries, to advocate for more experience-based and skills-based education, and at the school level in three new countries.

In the short- and medium-term, Educate! seeks to scale directly in schools by a combination of:

  • Revenue: each partner school contributes $200/year
  • The benefits of economies of scale, which will drive costs down substantially
  • Funding from large institutional donors