NEWTON, MA | October 21, 2010
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), has been awarded $25 million over the next five years to offer basic education and training to youth ages 14–25 in the West African nation of Mali. The Mali Out-of-School Youth Project is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of the portfolio of youth livelihoods and workforce development projects known as EQUIP3.
Mali’s population is one of the fastest growing in the world, with roughly 50 percent under the age of 18. Only about 30 percent of adults can read and write, and more than a third of children ages 7-12 do not attend school. To reach the large population of out-of-school youth, EDC will collaborate with communities and youth associations to meet youth needs for basic education, workforce readiness skills, and practical work experience. The project will combine active learning, practical experience, and community involvement.
“Accelerating basic education—including numeracy, literacy, and job skills for youth and adults—is critically important for advancing economic security and the overall well-being of Malian families and communities,” said EDC Chief of Party Scott Isbrandt. “Our goal is to increase self-reliance and empowerment among Malian youth so they can create economically productive lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.”
The project will involve youth living outside urban centers and in rural areas and, consequently, will have a strong focus on agro-enterprise opportunities. EDC will also promote the use of mobile technologies. For example, EDC will offer basic education lessons via mobile phones to supplement classroom learning as well as offer youth involved in agricultural activities the ability to use SMS text messaging to research local and regional market prices.
EDC manages the EQUIP3 program, which is designed to improve earning, learning, and skills development opportunities for youth in over 10 developing countries, including Kenya, Somalia, Bangladesh, Honduras, and Yemen. For more information, visit http://www.equip123.net/equip3/index_new.html.
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), is a global nonprofit organization that develops, delivers, and evaluates innovative programs to address some of the world’s most urgent challenges in education, health, and economic development. Visit www.edc.org. EQUIP3 is designed to engage and prepare out-of-school youth for their roles within the world of work, civil society, and family life. Funded by USAID, it is implemented by EDC and a consortium of organizations with diverse areas of expertise.