If all students in low income countries left school with basic reading skills 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty (UNESCO 2010). But the sad truth is that many rural secondary schools in East Africa don't have sufficient resources to enable teachers to teach effectively, and struggle to provide an environment that enables students to acquire knowledge and skills, enjoy learning and and feel empowered.
These students have vast potential and our work supports schools to provide them with the education to realise it.
The poor, rural communities in which EPAfrica works face many challenges. Providing a quality education for their young people is only one. When working with our partner schools, we must be conscious of this wider context and the complex challenges that are faced outside of education.
Access and equality
Secondary education has recently been made free in Kenya and Uganda, a major step forward in ensuring access for all young people. But enrolment rates are still disappointingly low and barriers to access and equity still remain – particular for girls, orphans and those with disabilities.
Lack of resources
Many of our partner schools in East Africa are lacking basic resources, such as textbooks and science equipment, preventing teachers from teaching effectively. Access to clean water and electricity is often a major issue, impacting on students' safety and health.
Keeping students in school
For our rural schools in East Africa, just keeping students in school until completion is an ongoing challenge. Many students have long distances to walk and work long hours at home. Health issues also play a big role, and girls often miss school when they are on their period, or drop out early due to pregnancy.
Access to information about post-secondary opportunities
Many students don’t have access to quality information regarding post-secondary opportunities and as a result cannot make informed plans for their future. Many students are unaware of what subjects and experience they need to achieve their ambitions.
How We Work
EPAfrica invests in partner schools both financially and through hours of volunteer time. Our programmes are delivered by our highly-trained Project Workers working in collaboration with the management, teachers, students and communities of our partner schools. We don't teach. We invest.
We believe that delivering good education is not possible without basic resources such as books to read or equipment to carry out simple experiments. But a good school offers much more than just good resources, and we appreciate that a holistic approach is essential. As such, our Goals encompass initiatives as diverse as improving access to extra-curricular activities, setting up a newly stocked school library, or ensuring students have access to key health information. We draw on the knowledge and expertise of the school management, staff, students and the wider community to make sure that we focus on what is really needed and that our interventions are sustainable. We have five clearly defined Goals that set out what we strive to achieve.
"When you [EPAfrica] came, we had a building. Now, we have a library and a lab. Actually, some parents who came to the school appreciate it and say they'll send their children here next year."
Partner School Headteacher
"The school's MSS (the average measure of students' performance in their final KCSE exams) had doubled since I had last been there, and had held steady at that level for the last 3 years."
EPAfrica Volunteer on revisiting their partner school 7 years later
"I am now able to work after dark, and this will help me get the grade that I want!"
Female student at one of our partner schools
"The installation of water has been something that we have been wanting for a long time, but couldn't afford. Water shortage has been a problem for a while with the number of boarders we have."
Partner School Headteacher
"Volunteering with EPAfrica has given me huge amounts of confidence. I was amazed at the level of responsibility I was given as a Project Worker."
"My experience with EPAfrica forms a critical part of my resume and directly helped me secure a job at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office."
"The personal development opportunities are vast and it can be a really informative and life-changing experience."
82% of our alumni agreed that their experience with EPAfrica has helped them to reach life or careers goals
Volunteering with EPAfrica has helped 59% of our volunteers go on to get a specific job!
Where We Work
In the UK
We recruit students and young people from the Cambridge, London, Oxford, and Warwick regions.