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Celebrating Africa Day with APN Members across the continent

 

Celebrating Africa Day with APN Members across the continent

 In celebration of Africa Day, APN members shared insightful reflections about the significance of the Africa month. Rouguiétou Khady SOW from TrustAfrica advocated for unity, stating, “Let us embrace the spirit of ubuntu and mbolo (togetherness) recognizing that our interconnectedness is our strength.” Jonathan Kifunda from Thubutu Africa Initiatives emphasized the protection of Africa, urging, “We have only one Africa, let’s protect it, cherish it, and make it great again.” Charles Kojo Vandyck from West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) highlighted philanthropy’s role in education, noting, “Through strategic investments, philanthropists can support initiatives aimed at fostering innovative teaching methods and enhancing infrastructure.”

Below is the full interview transcript:

 Q1. What is the significance of Africa Day to you?

 Rouguiétou:  This is a day of reflection and celebration of the continent’s unity, diversity, and rich cultural heritage. It symbolizes the progress we have made in our quest for independence, self-determination, and socio-economic development. It is also a reminder of the ongoing struggles and the collective responsibility we must work towards notably for a more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable future for all Africans. The Africa Day is also a day of self-assessment and question for the African Union as an institution and for African countries individually, in relation to their state of progress and improvement, their construction and maturity at several level, in terms of growth at the economic, democratic, political and financial level.

Charles:  Africa Day is a moment for us to pause, celebrate our rich cultural heritage, and renew our commitment to forging a prosperous and harmonious Africa.

 Jonathan:   I see the African continent being a basket of food to people who are hungry. I see yams and maize, cassava and millet, I see fish in water bodies, I see natural resources and all potential climatic condition for food production. I see everything! However, my heart cries when I turn on the other side seeing our brothers and sisters in some African counties fighting, some are dying from hunger. I see the drought which is exacerbated by climate change coming with grooming face. I see miserable deaths which are caused by undefined diseases such as HIV/AIDS, COVID 19, and EBOLA etc. And above all I see some of African leaders who are living luxurious and expensive life while the land in their countries is covered by blood!

Q2. How do you see philanthropy contributing to educating an African fit for the 21st Century and building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning in Africa? 

Rouguiétou:  Philanthropy has always played a crucial role in advancing education by providing much-needed resources. Today, in the context of a global shift, philanthropy is faced with a need to adapt and inflect its contribution to the education sector as a driving force in creating robust education systems that not only responds to social contexts but also provides access to education and ensure that learning is inclusive, lifelong, high-quality, and pertinent to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Philanthropic contributions can fund innovative educational programs that contextualizes and address the diverse needs of African students, including marginalized and underserved communities. Philanthropy can also support the development of infrastructures, such as equipped schools, scientific laboratories, and digital learning platforms, crucial for quality education.

Furthermore, philanthropy can leverage the educational system level by collaborating with governments authorities by funding programs such as trainings, capacity strengthening, exchange or immersion programs, for teachers to ensure educators are equipped with necessary skills to deliver 21st – century adapted education.

Charles: One pivotal force in shaping the direction of education across the continent is philanthropy. Through strategic investments, philanthropists can support various initiatives aimed at fostering innovative teaching methods, enhancing infrastructure, and widening access to educational resources. For instance, initiatives like the provision of scholarships, building schools in underserved areas, or implementing technology-driven learning platforms can greatly impact educational outcomes. Philanthropy empowers individuals and communities throughout Africa to thrive in the complexities of the 21st century by advocating for inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning experiences.

Jonathan: Philanthropy is crucial in transforming African education systems to be inclusive, resilient, and capable of providing lifelong, quality learning. Through strategic investments in infrastructure, teacher training, curriculum development, and innovative solutions, philanthropic efforts contribute significantly to preparing Africans for the 21st century and beyond. Collaboration between philanthropic organizations, governments, and local communities is essential to sustain and amplify these impacts. Philanthropic organizations often fund the construction and renovation of schools, especially in underserved and rural areas. This helps bridge the gap in educational access. It sometimes works to support students from poor countries to access education. School feeding programs in rural schools in Tanzania is an example of how philanthropy works to support education transformation. Indigenous education which is provided by knowledgably elders in Africa plays a great role in leadership inheritance. Indigenous weather forecast still plays a significant role to farmers in remote areas and who are still unable to access modern weather forecast. This shows how the modern curricula if integrated by indigenous curricular can transform the African continent

Q3. How can technology be harnessed to enhance education in Africa and ensure inclusivity and relevance in learning? 

Rouguiétou:  Technology can be a powerful tool to enhance education in Africa by providing access to quality educational resources and personalized learning experiences. E-learning platforms and digital classrooms can reach remote and underserved communities, ensuring that all students have access to education. Technology can also facilitate teacher training and professional development, allowing educators to improve their skills and methodologies. Additionally, integrating technology into the curriculum can help students develop critical digital literacy skills, preparing them for the future job market. To ensure inclusivity and relevance, it is essential to address the digital divide by investing in infrastructure, affordable internet access, and locally relevant content.

Charles: In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, there exists immense potential to revolutionize education in Africa, ensuring its inclusivity and relevance. Digital tools and platforms offer unprecedented opportunities to democratize access to education, transcend geographical barriers, and provide interactive and engaging learning experiences. For instance, the introduction of online learning platforms, educational apps, and virtual classrooms can reach students in remote areas where traditional educational resources are scarce. Embracing such technological innovations is essential for bridging the digital divide and equipping learners with the necessary skills to navigate an increasingly digital world.

Jonathan: Digital platforms can provide access to quality education materials and courses, especially in remote and underserved areas. Given the widespread use of mobile phones in Africa, mobile learning apps can deliver educational content directly to students. Apps like Ubongo leverage SMS and mobile internet to provide lessons and interactive quizzes.

Q4. If you could leave your fellow Africans with one message to reflect on this Africa Day, what would it be? 

Rouguiétou: As we celebrate Africa Day, my message is one of progress, and education is the cornerstone of progress. By prioritizing inclusive and quality education, we equip our youth with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate and contribute to a dynamic global landscape. We must harness the power of technology to bridge educational gaps, ensuring that every African has access to lifelong learning opportunities. This not only fosters personal growth but also drives societal advancement.

As we face the challenges of our time, from economic uncertainties to health crises, we must draw on our rich traditions of community solidarity and innovation. Let us embrace the spirit of ubuntu and “mbolo” (togetherness), recognizing that our interconnectedness is our strength. By working together, we can build resilient systems that not only withstand global disruptions but also thrive amid them. Furthermore, it is crucial to stay informed and engaged with global developments. The shifts in the global economy, the rise of new technologies, and the ongoing fight for social justice all impact our continent. We must be proactive in shaping our responses to these changes, ensuring that they align with our goals for sustainable development and equitable growth.

Jonathan: We have only one Africa, lets protect it, cherish it and make it Great again as it was during the Mansa Musa, Kwame Nkrumah Julius Nyerere etc. Let us embrace Unity and Diversity for the betterment of our mother land Africa.

Charles: Urgent investment in the education of future generations is paramount, as it nurtures their talents and unlocks their potential to drive Africa’s development forward. Together, we can create a continent where opportunities abound for all, and where every individual can contribute to Africa’s prosperity and success.

 

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