iServe Volunteer

Impacting Education in Low-Income Countries – by Pearl Kasirye

Educators like Dr. Gillian Kabatereine believe that education is the key to developing young minds and helping them improve their economic circumstances. Dr. Gillian got her PhD in education and curriculum design at Columbia University in New York and returned to East Africa to use her knowledge and skills to make a difference in the education sector.
She founded Friends International Christian Academy which has two campuses in Uganda and the iServe Volunteer Programs which are designed to impact skills development in young people. Her story started out in a small town in Kabale, western Uganda, where teenage pregnancy was high and poverty was the norm. Her education is what helped her become ambitious, dream bigger, plan better, and create better economic opportunities for herself and her family. 

If it wasn’t for her strong educational background and training, who knows where she would be today. There are millions of young people in East Africa with potential and limited access to high-quality education. The economic trajectory of nations like Uganda could drastically change through improving access to good education. 

Educating a generation can have a lasting impact resulting in: 

  1. Economic stability 
  2. Community wellbeing 
  3. Higher employment rates & opportunities 
  4. Lower teen pregnancy rates
  5. Innovation 

The list goes on…but it is clear that education is an important element to transforming a country’s future generation and economic progress. According to the Habitat for Humanity, the education sector is grossly underfunded with only 2% of funds being allocated to improve education. 

This is worse with low-income countries like Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania where children are less likely to complete a full secondary education and continue to higher education. 

iServe volunteer

In low-income countries, about 69% of the population will struggle to get basic primary level skills and education. This trend only makes the economic progress of these countries worse because the general population doesn’t have the skills and education to develop the economy or create innovative solutions to solve societal problems. 

What the iServe Volunteer Program Does

Dr. Gillian and her team have developed a program that aims to give skills and education to young people in Uganda that will help them stand out and have better economic opportunities in the future. With this program, highly skilled volunteers from high-income countries are able to become a part of the education revolution happening in East Africa. 

Dr. Gillian states, “The lack of skills in East Africa and the abundance of skills in the West is rather daunting. Though Western countries donate money and build schools here, iServe is focusing on getting volunteers to share skills that will make a bigger impact on our communities long-term.”

The program welcomes professionals who have knowledge that they want to impart on young people to develop their critical thinking skills and education in general. I’m a part of this program myself. By teaching and tutoring writing skills, I’m helping young people develop a powerful tool that can be used to take them further in life. 

The iServe Volunteer Program is one-of-a-kind since it doesn’t charge volunteers hundreds of dollars to participate. The team provides accommodation, hosts trips, organizes airport pick-ups, and supports volunteers who are passionate about providing inclusive education in low-income countries. 

If you would like to know more about how you can become a part of this education revolution in East Africa, visit the iServe Volunteer Program page to make a real lasting impact.

Pearl M. Kasirye

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