A Better World Canada aims to have 75,000 children enrolled by 2030 within its schools in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Afghanistan and other countries it’s involved in.
This new target is part of the Central Alberta-based international development organization’s efforts to tackle poverty head-on.
“This is the best way to break the cycle of poverty – put as many children as we can into schools,” says Eric Rajah, co-founder of ABW.
The 2020 to 2030 Education program calls for a three-pronged approach — build classrooms, water wells and health clinics. Rajah says the United Nations also focuses on these three areas to end poverty.
“Just by putting kids in school doesn’t get people out of the cycle of poverty,” says Rajah. “We need to ensure they have health care and it helps the whole community.”
Water wells will be built on either school property or in the community where the water is then pumped back to the school.
Stu MacPhail, director of water projects for ABW, said that mainly deep bore-hole wells will be constructed and will serve populations around 5,000. Each one is equipped with solar pumping to provide about 23,000 litres of water per day.
ABW already has 49,570 children in classrooms they have built, so Rajah believes the 10-year goal is achievable.
MacPhail is feeling confident too, based on ABW’s past accomplishments. Plus, key donors are showing a lot of enthusiasm and support.
“So if we’ve got the track record and the capability and we’ve got investors who are prepared to support it, then you’ve got to feel pretty good about it,” MacPhail said.
This 10-year goal is about what ABW will measure going forward.
ABW could not find a specific measure to evaluate poverty levels in the communities where it works.
ABW’s first strategic goal was set up in 2012. These were broadly-based targets looking at the delivery of health, water, education, income-generation and food security.
“It was the first attempt to say ‘let’s get clear on what we’re going to do and not do,’” says MacPhail. “So this is really the next step.”
ABW aims in 2020 to have 52,000 children in class; 1,155 classrooms; 16 health clinics; and 30 water projects.
In 2025 — 63,570 schoolchildren; 1,405 classrooms; 21 health clinics; and 35 water projects. In 2030 — 1,650 classrooms; and 25 health clinics serving a population of 125,000; and 40 water projects serving a population of 200,000.
ABW will need to raise at least $5 million for new classrooms and another $5 million for health and water projects.
“We’re going to be sharing our vision with people,” Rajah said.
Relationship-building is key, something that ABW successfully does already.
“It’s not necessarily by doing anything hugely different,” MacPhail said. “We just need to do it more.”
Local governments will need to be strong partners, too. Among their responsibilities is issuing building permits and hiring teachers.
MacPhail emphasizes this 10-year focus will help on so many fronts.
“It brings a really, good focus for the organization and clarity for all the folks involved… whether you’re an investor or a volunteer.”
For more information on the 2020 to 2030 Education Program, go online at abwcanada.ca
For interviews, call Eric Rajah at 403-872-4938.
For further information regarding this news release, contact Laura Tester at 587-439-2663.