Newsletter April 2011

Welcome to the April edition of the Teach A Man To Fish quarterly e-bulletin!

From student salesmen in Paraguay to the value of vision in Uganda - welcome to another edition of the Teach A Man To Fish quarterly newsletter!

A Lesson in Sales: Door to Door in Paraguay 

Now in its ninth year, the San Francisco Agricultural School in Cerrito, Paraguay has achieved remarkable success in transforming the life prospects of hundreds of students from poor farming backgrounds, while at the same time generating an impressive $300,000 a year in sales from its school enterprises to fund this work.
Ever innovative, however, the Fundacion Paraguaya school always has an eye open for how it can increase learning, bring tangible benefits to its students and strengthen the school’s own financial sustainability.
The school’s new Direct Sales course is a perfect example. Students gain first hand sales experience, earn income for themselves in commissions, and the school, by selling directly to the final consumer, cuts out the middle-man, meaning a higher profit margin on its products.
So how does it work?  First students are trained in sales skills in a marketing class.  This includes "role play" in a range of common sales techniques, memorizing sales scripts, practicing how to get beyond an initial "no", and how to handle rejection.  They then go to town with a basket containing $100 worth of school products and start selling door-to-door, direct to the customer.  After each sales mission there is a debrief session, where students consolidate their learning though sharing their experiences, both good and bad. 
The average student able is to make around US$130 during the year in this way. This might not sound like much at first - that is until you realize it’s similar in size to the loans many of their parents take out from microfinance institutions to finance their businesses. Used wisely, this money represents a valuable source of funds for school graduates to pursue opportunities they would otherwise not have.
Learning to sell is tough whatever your background. But for kids from the poorest families it’s a skill that means they’ll never have to face the same hardships their parents did – a common goal we all strive for in our work.

Education That Pays For Itself 2010: Welcome to Africa!

Over 120 delegates from 30 countries came together at the ADEM KKT Centre in Bagamoyo Tanzania for the fourth international Education That Pays For Itself conference.
From grass-roots organizations run by a handful of volunteers, to some of the largest non-profits in the world, the diversity and depth of experience present was only matched by the strength of their shared passion – developing relevant & sustainable education programs as a tool for fighting poverty.
But don’t worry if you missed out. In the near future we’ll be releasing a summary of the sessions and conversations that took place. We’re also close to announcing details of Education That Pays For Itself 2011*, expected to take place in Central America in early November.
Finally if you’ve three minutes to spare, take a look at this short video on Education That Pays For Itself featuring some of the many organizations that attended the conference
Read the Conference Diary
Join the Education That Pays For Itself Facebook group
*NB: Members of the Teach A Man To Fish Network receive advance news and priority registration for all Education That Pays For Itself conferences. To join the network, click here.

Uganda Rural Development Trust: A Positive Agenda

With so many new organizations coming fresh to the ideas of relevant & sustainable education that underpin our work, it’s always wonderful to come across an organization that’s been following such an approach for years.
Uganda Rural Development Trust (URDT) – a star turn of Education That Pays For Itself 2010 – bring a valuable & positive perspective to a debate that often focuses on the negatives.
Through their Girls' School co-curriculum program, URDT encourages the students – and their families – to develop a clear vision of their desired future and then to take specific action steps to achieve that vision.  This positive vision then becomes the compelling force for development, a powerful alternative to the more common focus on eradicating that ever-present negative - poverty.
In addition to teaching subjects required by the National Curriculum the URDT Girls' School offers its students an intensive co-curriculum program that provides hands-on experience in rural development, leadership and income generation. Programs are structured to actively engage the students in the subject matter as creators, teachers and leaders, including:
·          Back-Home Projects – Students play the role of change agents/extension providers to facilitate positive change in their homes.
·          Community Projects – Students help raise consciousness in the community through music, dance, drama, radio programs and debates with other schools.
·          Parents Workshops – Students facilitate end-of-term workshops for their parents/guardians on development topics.
Developing young people with a positive vision as agents of change & equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed – it’s an approach we believe every school should strive for!
News In Brief

School Enterprise Challenge: Can You Rise To The Challenge?

Launching in April, the School Enterprise Challenge 2011,is a unique competition for schools across the developing world to set up profit-making sustainable businesses, develop their students’ skills & generate funds for education.
We believe that any school anywhere no matter how poor can start a school enterprise if it has the creativity and passion. You might start with a few seeds & grow your business organically, recycle refuse into products, or put on a music show - it’s not about starting big, it’s about getting started!
If you’re an entrepreneurial institution now’s the time to get your thinking cap on– full details to be announced within the next few weeks!

Nicaraguan School’s Eco-Lodge Wins National Prizes

To win one prize is great, to win two is spectacular! Congratulations must go to Teach A Man To Fish partner, FEER and the La Bastilla Eco-lodge they created - which not only scooped the national tourism industry El Guegense prize for Corporate Social Responsibility, but also the overall Excellence in Business prize.
Set on a shade-grown coffee estate within a cloud-forest reserve, the lodge serves both as a training centre and as a source of income for the La Bastilla Technical High School. With comfortable accommodation & a wide range of activities on offer, you’d better reserve your place now – I hear it’s filling up fast!
For more details visit the La Bastilla Ecolodge website

Chirpy Tweets!

If you’re on the more privileged side of the digital divide there’s really no escaping Twitter these days - the perfect way to share ideas & links in 141 characters or less.
For folk interested in the world of education, entrepreneurship and sustainable schools, come join the tribe and follow the Twitter face of Teach A Man To Fish - @Nik_Kafka

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