Sub-Saharan Africa, East and Southeast Asia had some of the worst toilet and hand washing facilities and drinking water for children in schools, according to a report released today by the World Health Organisation and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The report found that nearly half the world’s schools lack the facilities, putting millions of children at risk of disease.
Almost 900 million children have to contend with a lack of basic hygiene facilities during their education, putting their health at risk and meaning some have to miss school.
“You can’t have a quality learning environment without these basics,” said Dr Rick Johnston of the World Health Organisation, a lead researcher on the project.
“Children may not come to school at all if there’s no toilets … Then, when they are at school, they are not going to at their very best if they are not able to use a decent toilet or if they are not properly hydrated.”
World leaders have signed up to global pledges to provide safe water and hygiene facilities for all and ensure every child gets a comprehensive education by 2030 under the UN’s sustainable development goals.
A lack of safe water and sanitation facilities can cause dehydration, illness, and even death.
But many children are forced to risk their health to take part in classes, according to the report produced jointly by UNICEF and the WHO, the first to look specifically at provision in schools.
It found nearly a third of primary and secondary schools lacked a safe and reliable drinking water supply, affecting nearly 570 million children. Nearly 20 percent of schools had no safe drinking water at all.
Just over a third of schools lacked adequate toilet facilities, affecting more than 620 million children. Almost one in five primary schools and one in eight secondary schools were considered to have no sanitation.
Nearly half lacked proper handwashing facilities, essential for helping prevent the spread of infections and disease. Nearly 900 million children were affected, the report found.
“It’s deeply shocking,” Tim Wainwright, the chief executive of charity WaterAid, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“The consequences are very broad in terms of children’s access to education, general health and state of nutrition.”
Adolescent girls in particular are often forced to miss classes when they are on their periods if there are no proper cleaning and sanitation facilities, he said.
More than a third of girls in South Asia miss school during their periods, often because they lack access to toilets or pads, according to a WaterAid and UNICEF study earlier this year.
The World Bank last year warned countries needed to quadruple spending to $150 billion a year to deliver universal safe water and sanitation.
However, experts say they are optimistic the situation can be quickly improved if leaders treat water, sanitation and hygiene as a priority.
“With political will, it really is possible to deliver good quality services,” said Johnston.
Zimbabwean AI expert and entrepreneur William Sachiti invents open-sourced technology to improve access to education in Africa
William Sachit taking a class under a tree(Source: Academy of Robotics)
LONDON, United Kingdom, January 31, 2020- Zimbabwean AI expert William Sachiti, CEO of UK-based start-up Academy of Robotics has today published an open-source technology known as ‘Trees of Knowledge‘ to improve access to education through smartphones in Africa. This free-to-develop technology enables a tree or rural landmark to broadcast a wifi connection providing access to a pre-loaded package of educational content. The wifi connection and content comes from a micro-computer moulded into the landmark to protect it from theft or damage.
A community-driven, secure and cost-free solution
Anyone within a roughly 100m radius can then access the content on any mobile device free of charge. Users can also charge their phone by plugging it into the accompanying solar-powered battery charging station. The micro-computers will run on the power equivalent of a small rechargeable battery and can run for years without maintenance. All the user needs is a wifi-enabled device such as a phone, tablet, laptop or computer. There is no need for the phone to be connected to a carrier or any network provider, removing the issue of expensive data charges.
The technology uses a basic computer like the Raspberry Pi computers which have been used in refugee camps in Lebanon by UNICEF as part of its Raspberry Pi for Learning initiative.
A global crisis in education
Globally there are 258 million children out of school and UNESCO‘s new report Education Progress highlights that the problem is particularly acute in Sub-Saharan Africa where the population of primary-school aged children has doubled since 1990 and 1 in 5 children of primary school age are out of school. However, this is also a region witnessing rapid growth in smartphone adoption. Already more than 23% of people in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to a smartphone – a number which the GSMA estimates will rise to 39% in the next five years.
Also Read: How Tech Is Enhancing Recruitment: An Interview With Sandy Simagwali, Co-Founder Of Graft Africa
AI expert and serial entrepreneur, William Sachiti, who was educated in Zimbabwe before moving to the UK where he started his first technology company at 19 years old highlights the challenges:
“One of the challenges in providing education through smartphones is that, while many people have access to a basic smartphone of some description, in many areas 3G coverage is still patchy. The data costs are high for most people and in rural areas keeping the phones charged is a problem when there is limited or no electricity. Trees of Knowledge aims to address all these challenges.”
“Every day millions of children walk for hours to get to school in the hope – often a vain hope – that they will find a teacher present at their school. In other cases, children are unable to attend school because they need to take care of the family’s cattle or support their families in other ways.
There is an urgent need to improve access to education for these children. For many children their classes are taught gathered under the shade of a large tree, so ‘Trees of Knowledge’ seemed a natural technical extension of this existing system.”
Last week, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay noted, “Rethinking tomorrow’s education must be done collectively,”
Sachiti believes that Africa’s burgeoning tech ecosystem can play a vital role in this collective effort commenting:
“While many programmes already exist to fix this problem, it is still not enough. With the growth of the developer community in Africa, I believe we have the opportunity to simply release the technology and let local communities build it themselves. If this technology reaches one or two more children, then I feel it would be a success.”
The pre-loaded educational content is likely to be largely video-based and would be free to access by anyone at any time. Whilst the system can work with existing educational content packages, ultimately Sachiti hopes that content can also come from local educators.
Further information and instructions for building Trees of Knowledge are available here
EdTech Entrepreneurs: Reasons You Should Apply for Injini’s Cohort 4
Do you have a technology-driven or technology-enabled innovation that could improve educational outcomes in Africa? Are you looking to take your early-stage startup to the next level?
Injini is now accepting applications for our next cohort of EdTech changemakers in Africa. If you are one of the selected Cohort 4 startups, you will participate in a five-month incubation programme that will take place both in Cape Town, South Africa and in your home market, where the team will support you remotely.
During this time, you’ll get an opportunity to work with subject matter experts in education, business, technology and entrepreneurship. But that’s not all, just for participating in the programme, you’ll receive a grant of R100,000 to spend on your business. Finally, if we’re impressed with your performance and trajectory once you’ve joined our alumni startups, Injini may offer an investment of up to R1 million for equity in your business!
Applications for Cohort 4 are now open! Click HERE and apply today!
Injini: Africa’s First EdTech Incubator
Injini is the first educational technology (EdTech) incubator or accelerator on the African continent. Based in South Africa, Injini invests in promising African EdTech startups and works closely with them to ultimately achieve their goal of positively impacting educational outcomes on the continent. The Injini incubation and investment programme was officially launched in August 2017 and has involved incubating and investing in the most promising early-stage startups from Africa and holding ecosystem development events across the continent to encourage broader innovation and evidence-driven EdTech solutions.
Injini has already incubated 24 EdTech startups from eight different African countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Nigeria. Injini has extensive reach on the African continent and has received over 1,200 applications from startups from more than 35 African countries. The team has also run ecosystem building activities in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.
More about the Cohort 4 Incubation Programme:
The Cohort 4 Incubation Programme will be made up of three phases.
Phase 1 is set to begin in mid-March 2020 and will take place in Cape Town, South Africa. 1–2 decision-making members of your startup’s founding team will join us for an expenses-paid* stay in the Mother City for a period of six weeks. You’ll be expected to attend a number of business training workshops, engage with industry experts in 1:1 sessions and build a relationship with your mentor, who will support you through the duration of the programme.
Phase 2 will begin the moment you leave Cape Town and head back to your home market. During this 12-week period, you’ll be expected to apply the learnings from Phase 1 to your business on-the-ground, while the Injini team supports you remotely — we may even pop in to visit some of you on your home turf!
Phase 3 will commence back in Cape Town in July 2020, marking the final leg of the incubation programme. This four-week stretch will give us the chance to tie up loose ends and make sure your EdTech startup is ready for post-programme growth and possible investment.
* Injini covers the cost of international and domestic return flights to Cape Town, accommodation for the duration of Phase 1 and 2 and extends basic living stipends to subsidise the higher cost of living in Cape Town compared to other African cities. These expenses are only covered for founders who are not already based in Cape Town. All entrepreneurs are expected to cover their own food and in-country transportation costs, although Injini will occasionally sponsor group meals and social events.
Injini is looking for EdTech startups that meet the following criteria to join us for our Cohort 4 programme:
- Your EdTech startup is based in Africa and focused on improving educational outcomes somewhere on the continent.
- Your solution is aiming to address a key problem related to education in Africa.
- Your solution is evidence-based — meaning, you can point to research that backs up your methods or hypothesis.
- Your company is registered and a certificate of incorporation can be shared with the Injini team upon request.
- Your startup has (at least) a minimum viable product or prototype.
- Your startup has (at least) one full-time founder.
- One or more decision-making members of your startup’s founding team are able to travel to Cape Town during Phases 1 and 3 of the incubation programme.
- Participating founders from outside of South Africa must have a valid passport and eligibility to apply for a South African visa.
- Participating founders must be fluent in English.
Applications for Cohort 4 are now open! Click HERE and apply today!
The Application Process
- First-round applications opened on Monday, 14 October 2019 and will remain open until 10 December 2019. We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis, so it is in your best interest to apply early— promising applicants will be invited to participate in the second-round application process.
- If we’re impressed by your first-round application, we’ll ask you to record a 2-minute video pitch and to complete another form that will dive a bit deeper into your solution, giving you the chance to convince us that you’re the best pick for Cohort 4. Note:the earlier you submit your first-round application, the more time you give yourself to complete the second-round process (if selected), which will close on 5 January 2020.
- From this point, we’ll select our top 20 applicants and schedule remote interviews between each founder and the Injini team. These calls will take place between 13–24 January 2020.
- Finally, we’ll invite the top 12 applicants to pitch to a panel of judges at the end of January 2020 in Cape Town (either remotely or in-person) to compete for entry into Injini’s Cohort 4.
At Injini, we believe African innovation will help to solve our continent’s most dire challenges in education. We can’t wait to read your application and, hopefully, welcome you to Cohort 4!
Don’t risk missing out on the latest news about Cohort 4 applications — sign up for our mailing list on our website.
Mauritius set to turn into Africa’s Education Hub
Nicolas Goldstein, Co-founder of Talenteum.Africa
Mauritius will soon be the top destination in Africa for ready to work graduates.
As interest for quality advanced education in Africa rises, the expression “advanced education center point” has been tossed around, searching for takers over the landmass. The island of Mauritius is, for some, the leader. Mauritius has reliably been attempting to position itself all things considered a “center”: a junction for tertiary training, drawing in both excellent worldwide scholastic establishments and top-level understudies from everywhere throughout the world. Instruction is as of now a top government need in Mauritius, and the island positions first in UNESCO’s rundown of African nations for tertiary training enrollment.
Add to that it’s a land area only a couple of miles off the east shore of Madagascar, and the island’s social and chronicled connections to Asia and Europe, and Mauritius appears the undeniable decision to play host to another brand of worldwide, moderate, world-class advanced education for the landmass.
Developing quantities of potential understudies on the African mainland are another motivation to support the Mauritian advanced education venture. The interest in quality training in African nations has shot up in the course of recent years, generally attributable to the way that the African working class has significantly increased in size over this time. Spectators have particularly noticed a checked ascent in advanced education action in sub-Saharan Africa, with SADC understudies being the most portable on the planet.
Albeit about portion of these understudies goes to South Africa for studies, the draw of Mauritius has been difficult to disregard throughout the most recent five years. As of now, foundations like Middlesex University, the University of Aberystwyth, and the University of Wolverhampton in the UK have set up Mauritian branch grounds. Their point: offer quality UK degrees to understudies on the African market at reasonable costs. All the more as of late, Uniciti education Hub, the education arm of the Medine Group, has made a space for European organizations to set up in Mauritius. These incorporate the Vatel International Business School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Ecole Centrale de Nantes and SUPInfo International University.
Mauritian foundations have likewise cooperated with global granting bodies to convey European degrees: the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Business School offers projects granted by the Institutd’Administration des Entreprises de Poitiers, and the Analysis Institute of Management offers an Executive MBA granted by the Universite Paris Dauphine and IAE Paris 1Panthéon-Sorbonne. Nearby understudies at these foundations still far dwarf internationals. The story, however, is diverse for the most up to date player on the Mauritian tertiary instruction scene. African Leadership university (ALU), situated in Beau Plan, has just pulled in 180 understudies from 30 African nations for its first partner.
ALU and other global tertiary instruction establishments in Mauritius have a reasonable order: supply the provincial market with very talented youthful people with transferable skills, energy for business enterprise and a capacity to adjust to the quickly changing requests of the African market. Extreme interest projects incorporate courses in the executives, business, and IT, and pathways to the contracted callings (lawful, bookkeeping and designing). Drug and dentistry projects are presently picking up prominence while projects, for example, cordiality and the travel industry are long-lasting high rankers on the rundown of expert preparing alternatives.
In any case, the rivalry is unpleasant for the heaven island. With different nations competing for the position, Mauritius isn’t an obvious choice for Africa’s driving advanced education goal. With more prominent receptiveness with respect to some African nations, there is developing enthusiasm with respect to global easily recognized names to set up on the landmass, like Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh whose College of Engineering as of late set up its first abroad area in Kigali, Rwanda.
Mauritius’ agreeable financial rankings in African lists and the cosmopolitanism of its general public which appears to easily mix African in with Asian and European, are a portion of its key selling focuses. Political security, a populace bilingual in English and French, and its engaging quality to remote speculators still work to support its. At last, be that as it may, what will genuinely decide understudies’ decision of an advanced education goal stays quality. And keeping in mind that banding together with a portion of the huge names on the universal scholarly scene surely increases the value of projects, the substantial characteristic of value that understudies seek to is employability.
Considerably more than having the extravagant degree from the world-presumed college, understudies will in general pick the projects with solid connect to industry and enterprising chance – those which make them the most appealing and valuable hands-on market. What’s more, this is the bearing where all potential advanced education center points, including Mauritius, should now begin outfitting themselves.
Mauritius becoming a top destination in Africa as an Education Hub is one of the many reasons why Talenteum set its headquarters in Mauritius. At Talenteum we source and recruit the most Talented youth on the continent and have them work remotely for European Companies.
By Nicolas Goldstein, Co-founder of Talenteum.Africa