The EXCEL Education Program

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The EXCEL Education Program

Sierra Leone
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

About You
Project Street Address

9 Dillet Street

Project City
Project Province/State
Project Postal/Zip Code
Project Country
Your idea
Country your work focuses on:

Sierra Leone, West Africa

What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1-5 years

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What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?


Describe your idea in fewer than 50 words.

The EXCEL Education Program provides senior secondary school students and teachers with supplementary education activities, programs and support services. Our goal is achieved through our program model, which develops three key areas: Academic Innovations, Leadership and Community Development and College and Career Programs, alongside a normal academic schedule.

What makes your idea unique?

There are many places that offer “lessons” on academic subjects through rote learning and chalk and talk. At EXCEL we arm students with the Skills, Attitudes and Knowledge and Understanding it takes to build a sustainable future. The EXCEL Education promotes learning through, critical thinking, rigor, life skills, leadership, and community development. Students develop skills by engaging in reading, collaborative groups, inquiry, writing and technology. Our goal of education, excellence, community, empowerment and enrichment (EXCEL) is achieved through teaching young people how to take an active role in developing their futures.

EXCEL seeks to transform education in Sierra Leone by developing and supporting future generations of leaders that will enter institutions of higher education, become entrepreneurs, managers, and or executives, hence contributing to the growth and development of Sierra Leone.

We realize that change must happen both inside and outside of the classroom.

What is your area of work? (Please check as many as apply.)

At risk youth , Education , Education reform , Girls' development , Mentorship , Youth development , Youth leadership , Community development .

What impact have you had?

EXCEL has offered services to 300 secondary school students in the year and a half of operation in Sierra Leone. EXCEL beneficiaries have moved on to be accepted to African Leadership Academy in South Africa and enter universities in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Russia. EXCEL participants have set a positive presence in the community through community service activities, public speaking engagements and radio talk shows. EXCEL has turned under motivated students with potential, into true ambassadors of education and motivated global citizens.

Describe the primary problem(s) that your project is addressing.

Sierra Leone, West Africa is recovering from an 11-year civil war, with 2009 marking the seventh anniversary of the end of hostilities. According to the UN Human Development Index 2007, Sierra Leone ranked 177 out of 177 countries, making it the most undeveloped country in the world. Specific to education, Sierra Leone has a low enrollment rate in secondary and post-secondary education, 65% national illiteracy rate, and in 2008 the lowest exams national exam scores. The influx in the demand of education has caused an alarming amount of untrained, unskilled and unqualified teachers.

The goal of the EXCEL Program is to provide students and teachers with the Skills, Attitudes and Knowledge and Understanding, necessary for creating a foundation for a thriving college going culture and citizens that will help build the nation.

Describe the steps that your organization is taking to make your project successful.

• Providing alternatives to rote learning by offering modern and innovative programming (student-centered, inquiry based) through supplemental education services that addresses the country’s educational inequities, while also developing the youth to contribute to the reconstruction and growth of the country.

• Raising awareness about college going culture through newspaper articles, radio programs and public speaking engagements.

• Building computer literacy by engaging participants through the EXCEL website and online network.

• Conducting EXCEL Outreach programs at schools all over the country.

• Providing participants with a safe, progressive, positive learning environment, away from the streets and negative behavior. Furnishing scholarships and keeping the costs lows so services can be accessible for all students.
• Providing teachers with training on relevant and up to date teaching methods
• Creating relationships/partnerships with necessary stakeholders in education.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Success in Year 1:

We will need to secure program funding through fundraising, grants and other in-kind gifts. Provide high quality supplemental education services both in class and through online network. We will raise awareness about benefits of college graduates contributing to nation building by enrolling target number of students into the program and demonstrate student progress through program evaluation.

Success in Year 2:

The EXCEL Program will have to move into a larger space that can accommodate a larger number of participants, and room to offer more services. (resource center with, more classrooms, larger computer lab and expanded library) We also need to demonstrate student progress through increasing student pass rate on public exams, and students admitted to college as continuous program evaluation is necessary.

Success in Year 3:

EXCEL will need to continue to build and expand program services, as well as continue to secure program funding. We will need to demonstrate positive student out comes through data and evidence. This would be a good time to replicate program model in provinces of Sierra Leone.

Do you have a business plan or strategic plan? (yes/no)


What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 1:

Continue to offer quality education services to participants and demonstrate benefits of participants.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 2:

Secure program funding to keep program costs low, offer services to more participants and involve necessary stakeholders.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 3:

Continue to raise awareness of the benefits of college a college education to parents, students and community members, and continuous professional development for teachers.

Describe the expected results of these actions.

EXCEL will succeed in creating a thriving college going culture in Sierra Leone, by increasing the amount of college entrants who are prepared, critical thinkers, who in turn become prepared contributing citizens. We will also eliminating the culture of rote learning a replacing it with innovation and up to date teaching techniques that will benefit students, teachers and the community at large.

What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

As a result of the war, it is estimated that there are over 700,000 internally displaced children and youth. Coming back to visit Sierra Leone and seeing the effects of the war and promise of our future leaders made me passionate about doing something. I realized that many educated young people do not see the worth of staying in Sierra Leone. Their hope is to find solace in another country, most popularly being America or Europe, resulting in significant brain drain.
I made a conscious decision to turn “brain drain” into “brain gain” by being an example and encouraging young people to build their skills and in turn contribute to the development of Sierra Leone.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Yeniva Sisay-Sogeh has over thirteen years of experience in education. In 2007 she decided to move to her ancestral home of Sierra Leone, West Africa to contribute to nation building through building her passion-education.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Email from friends

What would prevent your project from being a success?

EXCEL needs proper funding in order to be successful

Financing source


If yes, provide organization name.

Sierra Visions Inc

How long has this organization been operating? (i.e. less than a year; 1-5 years; more than 5 years)

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Advisory Board

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs? (yes/no)


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses? (yes/no)


The Story
Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government? (yes/no)


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.
How many people will your project serve annually?


What is the total number of employees and total number of volunteers at your organization?

6 employees and 3 volunteers

What is your organization's business classification?


Have you received funding from any of the following groups? (Please check as many as apply.)