12 Dec, 2022

Season's greetings and thank you from ESSA

Dear Friends,  

As we come to the end of 2022, I wanted to take the chance to thank you for your support and partnership over the last year. It has been a busy one for the ESSA team with much to celebrate. The highlight for me was completing our registration in Ghana, an important step in strengthening our ability to achieve impact for young people in Africa. The launch brought together policymakers, educators, students, and funders, all critical for improving education. One of ESSA’s values is ‘strengthening trust’ and so deliberately joining up the sector and building relationships is one of the most important things we do.  

Another of our values is to be ‘always learning’ and so if you have a spare moment before you finish for the year, please take a moment to complete our Annual Survey. Share with us what you like and where we could do better to increase our impact in 2023. 

Here are my other highlights of 2022 that I will be reflecting on: 

  • Getting back into in-person meetings and events to share our ongoing research projects and learn from others. We enjoyed taking part in conversations at the ADEA Triennale in Mauritius, the IUCEA’s Stakeholder engagement forum in Uganda, Ghana’s National Evidence Week, Innovations for Poverty Action’s matchmaking workshop in Nairobi and the BAICE conference at the University of Edinburgh. 

  • Bringing together over 70 employers at an Industry Roundtable in Ghana to engage employers on improving career service outcomes.  

  • Seeing the huge rise in publications from African researchers we updated the African Education Research Database in partnership with the REAL Centre at the University of Cambridge. You can read more analysis of the now 5,000+ publications in this blog

  • Deepening our work with the REAL Centre to support researchers in Africa through two new partnerships. With support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, we are raising the profile of researchers working in Early Childhood DevelopmentWith the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation we are focusing on researchers specialising in foundational literacy and numeracy. We are excited to start bringing a greater emphasis to francophone researchers in 2023 through this partnership. 

  • Signing a Memorandum of Understanding with PASGR and going on to hold two successful webinars on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education in sub-Saharan Africa. 

  • Continuing to use virtual platforms to connect with partners across Africa, co-hosting a webinar with NORRAG and UNHCR on advancing refugee education as well as a webinar with IAU and EWORA to mark International Women's Day, sharing evidence and data insights from our State of Women Leading Report.  

  • Researching alongside IUCEAAAU and PRB to address faculty challenges in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, supported by funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. 

  • Commissioning a ‘faculty planning tool’ in partnership with GTEC to improve faculty planning in the tertiary sector. 

  • Using evidence to highlight the challenges facing higher education in Africa in an article in Times Higher Education

Thank you once again for walking this journey with us, we could not have achieved any of this alone. I am sure you will join me in also appreciating our committed team and board who do so much to make our vision a reality. Through new and existing partnerships, we will continue this work into 2023, using data and evidence to drive improved education in universities and colleges in Africa and further increase the visibility of African research.  

I hope you all get some time to rest and recharge over the coming weeks and wishing you and your families a safe, healthy, and happy end to the year. 


Lucy Heady


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