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Education Bridge

Building International Partnerships for Students and Teachers - Education Bridge (Fall 2019)

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Building International Partnerships for Students and Teachers - Education Bridge (Fall 2019)

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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Building International Partnerships - Education Bridge, South Sudan (Fall 2018)

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Building International Partnerships - Education Bridge, South Sudan (Fall 2018)

Client Profile

Education Bridge seeks to create flourishing South Sudanese communities through education and peace building.  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 200 students in grades 9-10, with plans to double the school population and have grades 9-12 over the next two 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 peace building curriculum, building enhanced opportunities for girls, and contributing to organizational sustainability. Education Bridge now wants to explore the possibility of building networks internationally in 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 looks forward to working with a team of Notre Dame students to research how other non-profit organizations, especially those running educational and/or child development programs in the international context, have effectively build international networks in service of their mission.

  • How do the best non-profit educational organizations think about building high functioning networks in service of their mission?

  • 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 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.

  • In support of teachers and administrators, how can we find relevant development opportunities for them?  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.

Definiton of Success

The development of a number of good models of 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.

 

Meet the Team

Education Bridge Biographies.png

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Developing Support & Organizational Stability - EDUCATION BRIDGE (FALL 2017)

Developing Support & Organizational Stability - EDUCATION BRIDGE (FALL 2017)

Client Profile

Education Bridge seeks to create flourishing South Sudanese communities through education and peace-building.  As part of this mission, Education Bridge opened its first school, Greenbelt Academy, in Bor, South Sudan, in February 2017. Led by Notre Dame student Majak Anyieth, the Greenbelt Academy currently serves 240 students from Grades 9-10, with plans to double the school population and have grades 9-12 over the next two years. Greenbelt Academy seeks to provide quality secondary education as well as to develop a generation of South Sudanese peacemakers and transformational leaders.

Definition of Opportunity

In order to maintain and develop its services, Education Bridge must develop a sustainable business plan that includes student tuition and fees, as well as raising funds each year to cover its the remainder of its operating and investment costs.  However, because many of Greenbelt Academy students come from extremely low-income backgrounds, there is only a minimal tuition to remove financial barriers to education for students.  Education Bridge needs to develop additional revenue streams, including fundraising is through private donations and institutional grants.

Our challenge currently is that we have an ambitious set of goals, with limited funds and a relatively small support base for donations and grants. We would like to explore how to most efficiently increase our support base for donors and grants.

Initial Ideas & Options

We look forward to working with a team of Notre Dame students to research how other nonprofit organizations, especially those running educational and/or child development programs in the international context, understand and utilize different business and financial sustainability models.

1.     How do the best non-profit organizations engage and retain donors in ways are satisfying for the donor, and time and cost efficient for the organization?

2.     How do they most effectively tell their story and build partnerships with donors and organizations on an active basis that leads to regular donations/investments?

3.     How can Education Bridge draw lessons from these successful organizations, and build a  business model(s) to become more sustainable as an organization? Can Education Bridge collaborate with other partners in South Sudan, the U.S., or other countries?

Definition of Success

The development of a number of good models of sustainable organizations in the educational sector that will be relevant for Education Bridge, and proposals of concrete ideas that Education Bridge can utilize in the coming year as part of its strategic planning process to become a dynamic and sustainable organization.

Development Advisory Team

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Girls’ Education: Attracting, Engaging, and Building Capacity - Education Bridge (Fall 2016)

Girls’ Education: Attracting, Engaging, and Building Capacity - Education Bridge (Fall 2016)

Client Profile

Education Bridge seeks to create sustainable South Sudanese communities through education and peace building. We believe that education is a reliable bridge to prosperity and autonomy, both for oneself and the community at large. Unfortunately, girls’ education is disfavored in many communities in South Sudan due to cultural perceptions. Without education, girls often end up in poverty and perpetual dependency. In addition, the community is robbed of the skills and talents these girls would have contributed. Beside this problem, education is not affordable for many families, mainly due to poverty. Currently, 51% of the population lives below the poverty line (2016). The organization is committed to promoting education in South Sudan and providing educational opportunities for all, including girls and economically disadvantaged children. 

Definition of Problem

To help further this mission, the organization has built a secondary school in Bor, South Sudan. Greenbelt Academy opens in January 2017. The school will serve grades 9-12. One of the primary areas of focus at the school is to promote girls’ education. Girls’ literacy is alarmingly low in the country, merely at 16%. There are many reasons for these staggering numbers, including:

  • Cultures that undermine the importance of girls’ education

  • Conflict and civil war in the country

  • Perceptions of gender roles among girls and in the general community

  • Poverty

  • Lack of girls’ necessities, such as sanitary pads, in schools

  • Forced child marriage

Keeping these challenges in mind, Education Bridge would like a team of ND students to "look into how we can best succeed in attracting, maintaining & engaging high school-age girls in our school."

Initial Steps and Options

  • Talk to Ngor Majak, founder of Education Bridge in South Sudan and Gracie Watkins, a Education Bridge Advisory member (and former DAT student) to understand more about the problem and explore the context that could help address the issues, including to design a culturally relevant seminar that could be used with girls in South Sudan.

  • We recommend that students start by reviewing challenges to education in general, and especially girls’ education. Then it would be useful to put this research in the context of South Sudan. With that knowledge, the team can then research bright spots and best practices from other communities that have had similar challenges and from what they did to successfully address those challenges.

Definition of Success

In the end, we would like contextualized recommendations on how Greenbelt Academy can attract, maintain and successfully engage girls’ students in line with best practices globally.

 

 Development Advisory Team

Final Report

 

 

Program for conflict resolution - Education Bridge (Fall 2015)

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Program for conflict resolution - Education Bridge (Fall 2015)

Client Profile

Some pastoral communities in South Sudan have for a long time encouraged cultures of violence. These cultures are problematic as they incite youth to engage in violent activities that disturb communal peace and interfere with development in these communities. Education Bridge believes using educational seminars and workshops that introduce youth to non-violent means of conflict resolution and negotiation is one of the ways to break these destructive practices and encourage positive community engagement.

Definition of Problem

Education Bridge would like a DAT team to help look at other successful conflict resolution and negotiation programs in other countries and design a weeklong seminar that incorporates some of the best practices for use by Education Bridge.

Initial Steps and Options

  • Talk to Ngor Majak (a junior at ND who is helping build a school in South Sudan) and one of Education Bridge officials to understand more about the problem and explore many questions that could help you design a culturally relevant seminar.
  • Research and evaluate four or five successful conflict resolution and/or negotiation programs (ideally targeting young people). Study their practices in depth and determine how elements from a few of them could be best incorporated in the Education Bridge Seminar, keeping cultural relevance in mind.
  • If you incorporate games, try them out and have fun!
  • Help put together a curriculum that a team could really use.

Definition of Success

Help build an excellent program and teaching materials that would serve for a weeklong seminar that both uses existing materials from other organizations and develops/refines them in a culturally sensitive package relevant for South Sudan. 

Education Bridge hopes to incorporate some of the best practices and methods for conflict resolution and negotiation globally and make them available for students ages 14-20 in ways that both influence their thinking about violence and conflict, as well as help change behaviors.

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Executive Summary

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Background Materials

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