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Pitch Day and Graduation

After four weeks of intensive training, our Education Changemakers put their newly acquired knowledge, tools and skills to the test. In three minutes, the Leaders pitched projects designed to improve educational outcomes in their schools and communities, followed by two minutes of follow up questions by the esteemed panel of judges. They scored the pitches in four areas: Value Proposition, Financial Model, Beneficiary and Client Knowledge, and Presentation Skills. The top 10 presentations were eligible for an implementation grant.

Overall, the panellists were extremely impressed by the Leaders’ passion, creativity, and innovation. Ideas ranged from a mobile app to confidentially report bullying, to infusing geography with music to improve learning outcomes, to a handbook to increase awareness of LGBTI concepts in schools, to a mobile science lab kit with a train the trainer model.

Thank you to our Panelists:

  • Laura Parker: Executive Director, Boys and Girls Club South Africa;
  • Itumeleg Dhlamini: Programme Manager, British Council South Africa;
  • Evans Chinembiri: Trade and Investment Specialist, USAID; and
  • Shalane Yuen: Executive Director, Trevor Noah Foundation.

The following day, on 6 March 2020, we honoured the diverse group at a certification ceremony to celebrate their completion of the programme. Several key stakeholders and sponsors attended the ceremony to wish our Leaders’ good luck and share advice as they go back home to continue the next stage of their leadership journey.

Education Changemakers as YALI participants are encouraged to network and collaborate which Rebecca Krzywda, Deputy Mission Director, USAID Southern Africa reminded participants to do. She acknowledged how difficult it is to be a teacher but reminded them to rely on each other and the YALI Network for support when implementing their learnings. She encouraged them to keep in touch and stay connected. Professor Miriam Chitiga from Fayetteville State University who walked the four-week journey alongside the Changemakers echoed Ms Krzywda’s sentiments. “I am the change I want to see, and I will find a network of likeminded (people) to help implement change”, she advised the graduates to take that with them as they return home.

Our Executive Director, Shalane Yuen, remarked that teachers play a critical role in the success of a young person’s life and that they need as much support as the learners because they have to carry the weight of the learners’ trauma. Ms Yuen ended by reminding the Education Changemakers that “your voice, your creativity and your achievements are validated.”

In her vote of thanks, Khanyisile Masikane, an Education Changemaker from South Africa, expressed gratitude on behalf of the 44 leaders to the partners for the skills and development opportunity afforded to them. She further challenged her fellow Education Changemakers to be brave in resolving the education challenges which have in the past proven to be complicated.

The ceremony concluded with an exclusive video from our Founder, Trevor Noah. He proudly congratulated the Education Changemakers on the successful completion of the training and expressed how excited he is to see what they accomplish next. “So as all of you apply what you’ve learned over the next months, just know how proud I am of you, and that I’ll be watching your progress from afar,” says Trevor. “And I mean ‘watching’. I’ve got surveillance drones.”

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