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Education: 2019 WISE Awards – Three African projects make final cut

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Education: 2019 WISE Awards – Three African projects make final cut

Three projects based in Africa, one in Rwanda and two from Kenya, are among 15 finalists selected for the 2019 WISE 2019 Awards. Report by reGina Jane Jere

The World Innovation Summit for Education Awards, have been held since 2009 and each year they recognise and promote six successful innovative projects that are addressing global educational challenges. This year, Kenya’s Stawisha Leadership Institute by Dignitas, Moringa School and Rwandan based Akilah institute, made the final cut from 482 submissions, and they will be hoping to be among the six top winners who will announced in July 2019, and celebrated later in the year, at the World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha, Qatar between the 19-21 November.

The World Innovation Summit for Education was established by Qatar Foundation in 2009 under the leadership of its Chairperson, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. This year’s Global WISE Summit will be held under the theme “UnLearn, ReLearn: What it means to be Human”.

The 2019 WISE 2019 Awards Projects

The projects, selected by a pre-Jury of international experts, tackle a number of pressing educational issues including: early childhood education; girls’ education; coding and digital skills; innovative higher educational models; providing education to marginalized population; education in emergencies; career counselling; stimulating critical thinking and creativity and children personal safety.

“Each of the 2019 WISE Awards finalists has built an effective, tested solution to a global educational challenge. Whether ensuring access to fundamental early childhood education or preparing children for the 21st Century workplace, each project is already transforming children’s lives, and provides an inspirational model for others to adopt. This is vital to our mission at WISE, which centres around celebrating and enabling innovation in education,” explains Stavros Yiannouka, CEO of WISE.

In addition to publicity and networking opportunities, each winning project, initiative will receive $20,000 (US).

Moringa School is a workforce development platform that offer full-time 5 month course, aligned with the current market demand for computer science graduates. Through its fundamental and advanced programming classes that results in a 89% job placement rate, Moringa builds the current and future workforce of Africa.

Audrey Chang, Co-Founder and CEO of Moringa School, said: “I feel honored that Moringa is nominated as a WISE 2019 Awards finalist and hope this is an opportunity to highlight our work and how we are shifting the skills and education landscape across Africa with our market-aligned and quality-first approach.

I am so proud of the work we do at Moringa School, from the impact we have on the technology sector and employment ecosystem in Africa by skilling high-potential youth into paying jobs.”

Positive impact

GRADUATES FROM AKILAH INSTITUTE IN KIGALI – RWANDA (Credit Akilah Institute Blog)

For Deborah Kimathi, Executive Director of Dignitas Project, making it to the final selection is a n honour: “We are delighted to see our Stawisha Leadership institute nominated for a WISE Award! As a result of Stawisha, we have seen partner schools become vibrant places where all children can gain the skills and strength of character they need to thrive and succeed.”

The Stawisha Leadership Institute offers innovative training and coaching in order to empower educators in marginalized communities to transform students’ opportunities. Through a focus on instructional leadership, classroom culture and learner’s engagement, the program transforms teachers and school leaders’ mindsets, techniques and pedagogy, positively impacting the students’ performance at school. To date, Dignitas has empowered 613 school leaders and benefitted 23,000 students.

Lens of opportunity and sustainability

Founded and Headquartered in the Rwandan capital Kigali, the Akila Institute is a women’s college, which has built a reputation for delivering high-quality, market-relevant education for women in Rwanda. Its focus is on preparing its students to solve challenges “through a lens of opportunity and sustainability.”

Since its founding in 2010, the institute, has seen over 900 students pursuing diplomas in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Information Systems, and Business and Entrepreneurship and over 500 graduates earning, on average, 12 times the national median income; 90% of graduates launch their careers within six months of graduation.

“When we opened our doors to the first class of Akilah Institute students, we had only 50 students and two classrooms, but our goal was clear: to educate women and equip them with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to build fulfilling careers. Since then we have been single-minded in our focus on our mission of educating future leaders on how to solve the world’s most pressing problems through a lens of opportunity and sustainability,” says Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes, Akilah Institute CEO and Co-Founder.

And at least 80% of young women attending Akila, are the first in their family to attain higher education, and more than 50% come from rural areas.


For more on WISE and to see the full list of the finalists click here

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Written by Regina Jane Jere

reGina Jane Jere is a Zambian-born London-based journalist and founding Editor of the New African Woman magazine the sister-publication of the New African magazine of which she was the Deputy Editor for over a decade. The mother of two juggles a wide-range of editorial and managerial duties, but she has particular passion on women’s health, education, rights and empowerment. She is also a former Zambian correspondent for Agence France Presse, and a former Africa Researcher at Index on Censorship. She writes extensively on a wide range of issues, from politics to women’s rights, media and free speech to beauty and fashion.

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