Educating Leaders

Educating Leaders

Kampala, Uganda
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Scaling
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Our idea is to create real change. We believe training leaders in underserved communities is the most efficient way to promote development and help Africa solve its own problems.

L.E.A.D Uganda (LOCATE, EDUCATE, ACHIEVE, DREAM) is an educational leadership program for children affected by AIDS, war, and poverty. We locate the brightest children living on the edges of society — AIDS orphans, former child soldiers, abducted girls, and child laborers. We give them a family so they heal. We educate them at the best schools and mentor them so they gain the entrepreneurial skills they need to achieve their dreams and help their communities.

The holistic approach that L.E.A.D takes to catapult poor children at the bottom of society into leaders is based on two fundamental needs: FAMILY and EDUCATION.

FAMILY: The glue of African society is the clan, which has been decimated by the conflict in northern Uganda and the AIDS epidemic. L.E.A.D is a family, the clan these children have lost. L.E.A.D’s Ugandan staff, acting as aunts and uncles, heals these broken children with love, discipline, and counseling; and makes them whole again.

EDUCATION: L.E.A.D's children are placed in the top schools in Uganda where they excel academically and gain leadership skills. Their peers, who are the sons and daughters of cabinet ministers, lawyers, doctors, and business executives, elect L.E.A.D students to leadership positions. L.E.A.D students receive scholarships to top universities in Uganda, India, and the United States.

We believe it is possible to end poverty in Africa and create a safer world by raising up today's generation of forgotten African children. Our vision: solutions to Africa’s problems exist in the hearts and minds of the continent's neglected children. They can do the job if given the education and skills.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The problem is lack of opportunity for millions of children living in poverty. The problem is most acute for girls, children affected by war and AIDS orphans. Uganda has the highest school dropout rate in East Africa. According to UNESCO only 20 per cent of pupils end up completing 7th grade. Schools in villages and slum areas are dismal. Often 100 children sit on the floor with no desks, books, pencils, or paper.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

L.E.A.D Uganda is an educational leadership program that transforms traumatized children living on the edges of society - AIDS orphans, former child soldiers, abducted girls, child laborers - into leaders. We locate bright and motivated children who have the raw materials to succeed but lack opportunity. We give our broken children a disciplined, loving family, so they heal. We treat the children like we care for our own children. Our teens have created a positive peer culture. Older students guide and tutor their younger "siblings". We give our traumatized scholars an excellent education at the best boarding schools—where the elite send their offspring—so they gain the skills to become leaders. We furnish them with everything they need to excel: books, academic tutoring, clothing, medical care, leadership training, and discipline. Our students function at a high level. In the past three years, six of our high school graduates earned university scholarships. No other NGO in Uganda specializing in education has accomplished this. Two years ago, one of our students was the first poor orphan ever elected Head Boy at the elite primary school attended by 90% of Uganda's elite. This year one of our girls was elected Head Girl. Our work is innovative because we are not about incremental change. We transform youth that society sees as "helpless victims" into entrepreneurial leaders.We discover extraordinary minds at the bottom of society and transform their world view so they "fly." This is the profile of many innovators who changed society, such as Steven Jobs.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Sanyu was a 10-year-old AIDS orphan living in squalor in a rural village. She was taking care of her younger brother, Joseph, and baby sister, Sarah. They were close to starvation. Sanyu dug in people’s gardens and washed clothes to get money. Her baby sister got sick and almost died. “We didn't have money to buy food. It is horrible to go to school on an empty stomach. At ten, I was like a mother, looking after my sister and brother. I was stuck in the village fetching water, digging for food, and collecting firewood. I would have had to get married at 12, like so many others in my village.” We enrolled Sanyu in the top primary school in the country, along with her siblings. We gave her everything she needed to succeed in school including intensive mentoring, and a family, which helped her heal and gain confidence. Today Sanyu is a feisty, charismatic 16-year-old who attends Seeta High School, one of the top high school in Uganda where she has been the best student for three straight terms. This past term she had a perfect 20 in 20 grade (A+ in all subjects) Sanyu was elected to student government. Sanyu has traveled to the US to help with fundraising. CNN's Inside Africa did a segment on her. UNICEF Radio featured her. When Sanyu returns to her village, the village elders call her the “hope of the village.” She promised them she will build a clinic to treat the sick in her community. Moving one girl from charity case to leader who will help hundreds in her village and tens of thousands in her country is the difference our leadership approach makes.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Most of our competitors enroll children in village schools. 80% drop out by 7th grade. A few put children in better schools, but most do not provide them with the level of care they need to excel. The Head Mistress of a primary school where we and 5 other NGOs have children said, “For them, it’s just about paying school fees. They don’t see how their children are doing.” We do whatever it takes. Our children excel academically. Last year Amos Omoya was the top student in his district (state) on his national 7th grade exam. This term, 8 of our high school students received perfect (A-plus) grades. This year our students were elected student body president at both primary schools where we have the most students. The challenge is to get out of the numbers game and focus on quality.
About You
Organization:
L.E.A.D Uganda
About You
First Name

Stephen

Last Name

Shames

Your role in education

Other.

About Your Organization
Organization Name

L.E.A.D Uganda

Organization Country

, KMP, Kampala

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

References - Please provide two references with a two-sentence biography, email address, and phone number for each

Dr. John Muyingo, jcmuyingo@gmail.com +256 414 273 671. Dr. John Muyingo is Uganda's State Minister for Higher Education and Sports. He is a prominent educator in Uganda, who started a number of elite schools.

John Nagenda jnagenda@iwayafrica.com +256 752 770 600. Mr. Nagenda is Senior Advisor, Media and Public Relations, for Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni. He is a businessman and writes a column for Uganda's biggest newspaper.

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Innovation
How long have you been in operation?

Operating for more than 5 years