This January, students at the Center for Social Entrepreneurship had the pleasure of interviewing Middlebury alumna Angelica Towne, the Country Director and Co-Founder of Educate!, also recently named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list of Social Entrepreneurs. We were thrilled to speak with her and are excited to share our reflections on her work with Educate!.
Educate! is single-handedly spreading social entrepreneurship throughout Uganda, equipping students with the tools and resources to succeed as leaders in their communities. Educate! provides Ugandan youth from ages sixteen to twenty with “a leadership and entrepreneurship course, interactive teaching, intensive mentorship, experiences starting an enterprise, and access to out-of-school networks and resources.” Educate! has highlighted the lack of utility that a traditional Ugandan education of repetition and memorization represents and strives to provide its students with practical skills that will truly improve their lives.
Educate! believes that the best means of creating a generation of leaders and entrepreneurs is through existing education systems and is currently working with the Ugandan government to integrate its program into the national curriculum. In 2012, Uganda adopted a piece of Educate!’s model into its curriculum, allowing Educate! to extend its reach to 25,000 students per year. Educate! works directly supports 4,912 scholars its main program.
Educate!’s model is innovative and practical and has been replicated in over forty different countries. Educate! has embraced social entrepreneurship to the fullest and is harnessing education to generate ever-expanding positive change. Every student that Educate! reaches has the potential to impact his or her whole community, generating a positive ripple effect.
So far, Educate! has partnered with 56 schools in 10 Ugandan districts. 56 percent of Educate! graduates run a small business, and those who do earn an average of $40 USD per month compared to an average salary of $9 per month earned by non-Educate! participants.
81 percent of graduates have volunteered in their community, and students have created 632 social entrepreneurship or service projects to “address community issues of poverty, disease, violence, lack of education, and/or environmental degradation.”
We believe that Educate! is doing social entrepreneurship right. Educate!’s leaders are young and are dedicated to learning as they go along, to thinking critically about their work, and to constantly revising their plans to best serve Ugandan youth. We hope that they’re successful in their work to fully integrate their program into the Ugandan curriculum, and we look forward to hearing about their expansion to other Sub-Saharan African countries in the next few years!