Project Background:

Education Bridge seeks to create flourishing South Sudanese communities through education and peacebuilding. As part of this mission, Education Bridge opened its first school, Greenbelt Academy, in Bor, South Sudan in February 2017. Led by South Sudanese Notre Dame graduate Majak Anyieth ’17, the Greenbelt Academy currently serves over 400 students in grades 9-11, with plans to double the school population and have grades 9-12 over the next years. The Greenbelt Academy seeks to provide quality secondary education as well as to develop a generation of South Sudanese who are not only well prepared academically, but who also see themselves as peacemakers and transformational leaders.

Definition of Opportunity:

Education Bridge has worked with Notre Dame DAT teams over multiple semesters on projects related to developing a peacebuilding curriculum, building enhanced opportunities for girls, contributing to organizational sustainability, and international partnerships. For example, this past year’s DAT resulted in Education Bridge high school students attending Notre Dame’s Pre-College Program (on ND scholarships), as well as a similar program at Yale. Education Bridge now wants to explore the possibility of continuing to build networks internationally in the service of its students and teachers that expand opportunities, as well as formalize relationships that support the development of the overall organizational culture of Education Bridge.

Initial Ideas:

Education Bridge will work with a team of ND students to research how other non-profit organizations, especially those running educational and/or child development programs in the international context, have effectively built mission-driven international networks. We would like to focus on students' opportunities and/or faculty/staff professional development opportunities.

How can we connect our students with a wider set of global possibilities, whether through technology or by travel, that will help expand their understanding of the world and their possibility to make a transformational change? We believe we can draw lessons from the African Leadership Academy and other institutions, and want to explore student exchange, model UN, leadership development and the like. How can we build on the success this past semester with the partnerships with Notre Dame and Yale? We might like a usable database of summer educational programs in the US students can explore (ND Pre-College might be very valuable for acquiring information).

One key question is how to make our students and faculty competitive especially through the university application process. A big part of our international partnership model is related to universities and we need to understand what universities look for in these kinds of candidates and partnerships. A good model for partnering will help us build lasting relationships with universities that will go a long way.

How can we find relevant development opportunities in support of teachers and administrators? We could also imagine a “Greenbelt Fellowship” that might draw talented educators and professionals to work with the Greenbelt Academy to help develop and train current teachers, develop new curricular and extracurricular activities, and more generally expose the school to more innovative pedagogy and technology.

What does success look like?

The development of a number of good models and concrete contacts and ideas for building networks and sustainable partnerships will be relevant for Education Bridge students and teachers, as well as concrete proposals that Education Bridge can utilize and implement as part of its strategic planning process to become a more dynamic and sustainable organization.

Contact Persons: Majak Anyieth, Founder and President of Education Bridge. Majak is a 2018 graduate of the University of Notre Dame. He is also a Dalai Lama Fellow, an Echoing Green Social Entrepreneurship Fellow, and a StartingBloc Fellow. The team will also have access to talk with Education Bridge board members and supporters, most of whom are in South Bend IN.

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