‘Transforming educational outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa’
Education Sub-Saharan Africa was founded in 2016 to join up, inform, inspire, focus and increase impact for everyone investing in education in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Driven by sole desire to improve educational outcomes”
Being a proactive connector
ESSA is engaged in thinking about education as a whole. The relationships ESSA has developed across many different communities enable us to not only see useful connections but to make them. For example, ESSA has connected the Association of African Universities (AAU) and Ghana’s National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) with the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), one of the globally leading demographic institutions, and the MASTERCARD FOUNDATION to conduct pioneering work on the demographics of faculty.
Inspiring and leading capacity and capability transformations
Demographics, changes in technology and ever-increasing expectations have dramatic implications for everyone involved in delivering high quality education which are both exciting and daunting. In this way ESSA will contribute to the significant priority of building both capacity and capability.
Building on effective existing programmes and creating new programmes requires significant effort and investment. ESSA will play a role in this through inspiring and connecting those who can provide highly effective solutions and resources with those who need them.
Our principlesIn order to achieve maximum impact our approach is based on the following principles:
Important work is being done by many to achieve the SDGs, with some major successes such as increased access to education. Unfortunately, this work is not always joined up. ESSA’s approach of proactively connecting those with the most relevant expertise, knowledge and relationships is already bringing value to the work of our partners. An example is our multi-faceted partnership with the Association of African Universities (AAU).
Our starting point has been to listen to learners, teachers, communities, governments, businesses, academics, NGOs, philanthropists and others in and outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Through focusing on the outcomes they want to achieve, supporting their work and adding to it we are already building strong communities of interest across these groups. From student and teacher workshops in deprived and rural schools as well as in Higher Education institutions to contributing at major strategic gatherings.
Step by Step mentality
We have built momentum and relationships quickly through an early emphasis on Higher Education and a focus on capacity and capability development. The range of partnerships built has been critical in assembling the funding, resources and credibility to create the conditions for sustainable impact.
We chose the Higher Education sector as a first step because successful Higher Education institutions are powerful drivers of local and national economic development as well as innovation hubs, they develop and train educators across the educational spectrum and are also gateways into the educational ecosystems of countries.
Africans at the heart of all we do
Our partners on the continent include leading organisations such as the Association of African Universities (AAU), Ghana’s National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and the African Leadership University (ALU). We also aim to have a majority African board and team, and in appointing Joel Kibazo as our first African trustee we have started the process.
“ We love the idea that ESSA has been born out of teaching learners and training teachers in schools like ours. The idea that something so bold has been sparked and shaped by our views and those of the learners is inspiring. When the ESSA team says it puts Africans at the heart of all it does it really means it.”
Magdalene Mtwele - Mafiga Teacher School, Morogoro Tanzania
High impact, cost effective mindset
Our supporters, partners and funders have enabled us to keep costs low through secondments, pro-bono contributions and in other ways.
ESSA’s fundamental aim is to contribute to transforming educational outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa. Given the nature and variety of our work and the range of timescales involved, there is no one simple impact measure or set of metrics that will neatly summarise our contribution. However, every project or activity we undertake has clear goals and individual measures of success.
Through our website and from next year’s annual impact report we will summarise our impact in aggregate as well as in detail for each project or activity.