We here at PD, are happy to announce the start a new series of discussions here on Project Diaspora. PD:FEW stands for ‘Project Diaspora Presents: Focused Engagement Week.’ Every once in a while we will tackle a particular topic that we think is worthy of a wider discussion. One of the main tenets here at PD is to get as many African voices—both within and without Africa—in on the conversation about Africa’s development. The advent of social media connectivity tools like Twitter, Facebook, email and blogging platforms have empowered many Africans and to raise to prominence on the global stage. While many conversations are had, many are never focused or engage a wider audience. A few stand out as exceptions.

Dambisa Moyo attempted to wrestle the microphone away from the Western academics with her critiques of aid efforts in Africa with her book, Dead Aid. The focused attention on the book brought much needed debate to this topic, and for many of us in the diaspora was it as opportunity to discuss the issue and lend our voices—both learned and anecdotal—to the conversation. Similar, though much smaller conversations were had here on PD regarding mosquito nets, 1 million t-shirts, and OLPC. In light of that, and as an extension of some email conversations on the subject, I thought it a good idea to invite some key people to weigh in on the state of education in Africa.

This past weekend I was honored to speak at TEDxKigali. The premise of my talk was that Africa’s flawed education system is one obstacle we can’t leap frog. In light of crumbling schools, underpaid and undertrained teachers, outdated curriculums, etc., technology can not be used to replace these missing pillars to a nations education system. My talk (as usual) was fiery and alarmist, but I think it was warranted. I’ll concede that laying the blame solely at government’s door step doesn’t tell the whole story, but it is hard not to in light of President Kagame’s focused push to reform education in Rwanda. Governments need and must set the agenda and tone for education reform. The private sector will seize on this push and fill the gaps or partner with government to help realize the mandates of reform.

I won’t steal the thunder from my guest columnists, who all are weighing in on the issue from very diverse perspectives. A new headline column will be published (above this entry) each day this whole week. PD:FEW picks up where the 1 million t-shirt discussion left off and will then venture deeper into the state of education in Africa; Without further ado, I’d like to introduce today’s entry.

Paul Asiimwe: Improving IP Education in Uganda, prospects and challenges »
by Paul Asiimwe
May 27, 2010

Going it alone: Mama Lucy’s education reform in Tanzania »
by Mama Lucy Kamptoni
May 26, 2010

Apolo Ndyabahika: What Africa Needs »
by Apolo Ndyabahika
USA via Uganda
May 25, 2010

Is aid central to development »
by Iyinoluwa “E” Aboyeji
Canada via Nigeria
May 24, 2010

Women of Kireka: School Fees Fundraiser

Project Diaspora is in the middle of raising funds to help keep 58 kids in school as part of our Women of Kireka project in Kireka, Uganda. This year’s remaining budget is $4,000 to pay for second and third terms of 2010. You can donate by clicking the Paypal donate button in the sidebar

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