Working toward a quality education for all.


So You Want To…Intern with a UN Agency: Elke’s Experience

by Elke-Esmeralda Dikoume, 

Following my experience at the training, I have been blessed with beginning my Master’s program in Fall 2014, and starting my internship here at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!  I figured I would share a bit about my experience, so that those interested in International development or working for international organizations (namely the UN), can get a little bit of insight into how to start!

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Jeremy Hobbs: If Every Child Could go to School

September 13, 2010

What would the world look like if every child could go to school?

Imagine a world where new HIV infections are a rarity. Where children have clean water and adequate food. New mothers survive childbirth and go on to raise the next generation, and vulnerable communities cope with climate-related disasters and economic shocks. The poorest countries receive $80 billion each year for development, and parents earn enough to feed their families, build assets and save for the future.

Although it seems a pipe dream, this vision is possible through education.  If every child could go to school, our world would be a dramatically changed place. In fact, the second Millennium Development Goal, universal primary education, is the key to achieving all of the MDGs.

The evidence shows that basic education is one of the most cost-effective development interventions and that its impact extends well beyond transforming the lives of individual children. It leads to measurable improvements in economic growth, HIV prevention, nutrition, child and maternal health, and conflict prevention.  Consider:

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We need Global Fund for Education

September 15, 2010

Source: Deseret News

By Vanessa Johnson

This past spring, I had the rare opportunity to travel to Nairobi, Kenya, with Dr. Scott Leckman, another Utah native, for the Africa and Middle East Regional Microcredit Summit. The meeting was part of an ongoing movement to bring small loans to poor entrepreneurs throughout the world so they can start a business that can lift their families out of poverty. While in Kenya, we visited Jamii Bora, a microfinance organization working in Kenya. They have helped thousands of families lift themselves out of poverty.

Jami Bora is centered in the Kibera section of Nairobi. Kibera is the largest slum in Africa. I saw children running around with no shoes over mounds of garbage and tin shacks for homes. The deeper into the slum we went, the stronger the smell of human and animal waste became. I remember two little boys in particular. Their clothes were tattered, and they were covered in dust. Garbage was piled all around them. Shoeless, they walked beside what looked like a stream. They had sticks and were poking at the plastic bottles gathered in this small bed of water. Watching them, I hoped that there was a safe water sources somewhere in the slum. However, after much searching, I did not see any water sources other than this putrid little stream.

Despite these conditions, my hopes began to rise when I saw a large school within the slum. I thought to myself, that regardless of income, these children at least had access to a school. And with this education comes the hope that they can one day leave Kibera and create a better life for themselves and their families.

Believe it or not, the children of Kenya are relatively lucky compared to those living in many poor nations in Africa, where school fees pose an extreme barrier for children living in poverty. Kenya eliminated such fees in 2003, and in the weeks following the announcement, 1.3 million additional children showed up to school. The conditions may not be ideal with overcrowded classrooms, lack of supplies and few teachers, but the optimism is spreading to other countries where school fees are being lifted and access to education has become more attainable.

Still, an estimated 72 million children do not have access to school. And even in nations where fees have been lifted, the quality of education is extremely low. To break the cycle of poverty and help these nations reach the first rung of the ladder of economic opportunity, they need resources to build new classrooms, train more teachers, and buy more books.

That's why the world needs a Global Fund for Education that can distribute the resources necessary to give every child a quality education. President Barack Obama proposed such a fund during his campaign two years ago, but we've heard little about it since then. That's disappointing, because a similar mechanism — the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria (GFATM) — has enjoyed tremendous success since its inception, saving 5.7 million lives from three of the world's deadliest diseases. Modeled after the GFATM, a Global Fund for Education could enjoy similar success and help achieve the Millennium Development Goal of providing universal access to education for all children by 2015.

Some might say that creating a Global Fund for Education would be costly, and we need to spend our money elsewhere. The reality, however, is that the U.S. spends little more than 1 percent of its budget on all foreign aid. Money spent on education is an investment that will pay off big by building more stable societies and preventing nations from becoming the kind of failed states where we are compelled to intervene militarily.

Although millions of children remain out of school, I feel hopeful that one day soon they will all have access to an education, helping to make this world a safer and better place.

Vanessa Johnson is a recent University of Utah graduate in International Studies and group leader of the local RESULTS chapter.

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Education: Progress Before Partisanship

May 21, 2010

Source: The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)

By Stacy Carkonen, Sumner, WA

Re: "Education and access needed" (letter, 5-20).

I couldn’t agree more with this letter about global education. The good news is there is a lot happening right now.

While members of Congress dig their heels in on the media-grabbing issues of the day and seemingly refuse to see eye to eye on anything, quietly, behind not-so-closed doors, members of Congress are working together and making progress.

This past month, two Washington state members of Congress did the impossible by not only supporting, but leading on the global Education for All Act of 2010 – Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn) as the lead Republican sponsor and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Tacoma, as an original co-sponsoring Democrat.

Both of these congressmen understand that the key to the long-term security and economic progress of the U.S. is indeed directly tied to the education level and economic well-being of countries worldwide.

Failed states, refugees from civil conflicts and bad governance all have implications on our many national interests around the world. This is not simply altruism it is pragmatism about the future of our own security and progress here at home. Education is not just the key to a brighter future for our children; it is the key to a brighter future for all children and all countries.

I applaud our congressmen for putting progress ahead of partisanship.

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