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Policy advocacy and partnerships for children's rights

A new chapter of the Schools for Africa initiative offers new possibilties for the continent's children

The 'Schools for Africa' initiative launches its third phase at UNICEF headquarters in New York.


By Malli Kamimura

NEW YORK, United States of America, 21 June 2013 – The third phase of the Schools for Africa partnership launched on Monday at UNICEF headquarters in New York. UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Peter Krämer Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding to expand the initiative and provide more girls and boys with a chance for a better future.

Education is the key to a better world, says Christian Krämer of the Peter Krämer Foundation, discussing the Schools for Africa Initiative.  Watch in RealPlayer


The new phase aims to raise US$80 million between 2014 and 2017 to help the most vulnerable children in Angola, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The programme began in 2004 supporting six countries and expanded to 11 countries in 2009. This recent launch adds Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone, making a total of 13 countries.

In her opening remarks, UNICEF Director of Private Fundraising and Partnerships Leila Pakkala described the expansion of the programme as “a new chapter of even better things that are going to come to the children of Africa”.

According to UNICEF Director of Programmes Dr. Nicholas Alipui, the Schools for Africa initiative is “the spirit of partnership and synergy that lies at the very heart of the initiative”. It has so far benefited more than 21 million children.

Christian Krämer, son of co-founder Peter Krämer and a recent member of the Peter Krämer Foundation, spoke on his father’s behalf and expressed his gratitude to Nelson Mandela and to UNICEF for “building the schools and ensuring that children are receiving a good education”.

Education is a critical pillar of Nelson Mandela’s legacy, says Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation Sello Hatang, talking about the success of the Schools for Africa Initiative.  Watch in RealPlayer


Education: Equity, learning and innovation

“To say that education is one Madiba’s passions would risk one being accused of not exaggerating enough,” said Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang, who conveyed Mr. Mandela’s passion of giving every child a quality education. Quoting Mr. Mandela during the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union Congress in 2001, Mr. Hatang said, “Our continent is unfortunately still too much plagued by wars, violent conflicts and instability. In these conditions of instability, ordinary citizens, who have no desire for or part in these conflicts, are the ones that suffer most. Most of them only ask for the opportunity to lead lives of dignity and decency, the central part of which is to provide education for their children.”

Speakers noted the ability of the partnership to move beyond focusing only on school construction to identifying communities’ need for access to quality education. The evolution of child-friendly schools and current efforts in assessing learning outcomes were highlighted as good practice. In addition, early childhood education, education in emergencies and innovative approaches have allowed for better quality education and learning.

© UNICEF NYHQ/2013/Markisz
Acting Regional Director, West and Central Africa Regional Office, Manuel Fontaine; Managing Director, Peter Krämer Foundation, Tilo Braune; Ms. Pakkala; Mr. Hatang; UNICEF Representative, Rwanda, Noala Skinner; Dr. Alipui.

Partners unite

Participants from the private sector, including Gucci, the IKEA Foundation, Montblanc, Starwood Hotels, along with UNICEF National Committee colleagues, shared their thoughts on what motivated them to support the Schools for Africa partnership.  Their experiences echoed the success of the partnership and highlighted the importance of sustainable solutions and continued support for the best possible outcomes for children. 

The meeting concluded on a positive note and was best captured by the words of Peter Krämer through his son, Christian. “We want to urge the United Nations and the individual governments of each country to fulfill the firm promise from August 2000 that every child in the world has the right and the possibility to go to school,” said Christian Krämer.  And to the young people around the globe, he promised, “We have to help and…to serve you, because you, the young people, are the future not only of your continent, but of our entire world.”



UNICEF Photography: Seeking an education

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