Newsletter February 2007

Belated Season’s Greetings, and welcome to another edition of the Teach A Man To Fish quarterly newsletter.

From heliciculture and UN conferences, to volunteering and chewing gum art, there really is something for everyone – read on!

  • Entrepreneurial Schools – Standing out from the Competition
  • Teach A Man To Fish goes to Asia
  • Film Star Partners
  • Volunteering on the Gold Coast
  • Studio Schools - Innovation for the 21st century
  • News in Brief
  • And Finally... Street Artist Supports Teach A Man To Fish

Entrepreneurial Schools – Standing out from the Competition

Teach A Man To Fish announces the eleven winners of our $50,000 Schools for Rural Entrepreneurs competition

Having been overwhelmed by the quality and diversity of entries in the first rounds, narrowing the field down to such a small number of winners was always going to be difficult to, but finally we did it. Orphans beneficiaries of VODA project

The successful entrants span four continents and a host of agricultural activities ranging from the traditional, such as bee-keeping, to niche specialities like heliciculture (that’s snail farming to you and me). 

Despite their great diversity, a common theme unites all these proposals - a clear focus on teaching students useful livelihood & entrepreneurial skills through projects which will bring their schools extra income.

What difference will it really make? Here’s one example. The school which competition winner MRDA works with in Southern Sudan serves 170 students, and yet survives on a budget of around $11,700 per year – the overwhelming share of which is raised through fees.

Every $600 they earn in income from selling crops would allow 10 students to attend for free – and they’re aiming to generate several thousand dollars each year.

But it’s not all about the school covering costs. By combining practical lessons on agriculture, entrepreneurship education, and first hand experience within a real business, students will leave school well prepared to make a good living even in the difficult environment in which they live.

The winning project proposals are:

  • Africa Now, Kenya

Bee keeping

  • ASAP Africa, Zimbabwe

Rabbits & poultry

  • ASCA, Nigeria

Multi-crop & snail farming

  • Development Principles, Armenia

Worm compost

  • Eco-Finder, Kenya

Poultry, horticulture & tree nursery

  • Fair River International, Ghana

Snail farming

  • MRDA, Sudan


  • Nepal Polytechnic, Nepal


  • Nova Selva, Peru

Tree & plant nursery

  • PINE Tree, Philippines


  • VODA, Uganda

Pig keeping

More details on these projects will be available on the website shortly – and of course we’ll keep you informed in future newsletters of how they get on.

Teach A Man To Fish goes to Asia

UNESCO invites Teach A Man To Fish to present the Self-Sufficient School model at Asia-Pacific conference

Unless you’ve been paying close attention you might not be aware that the UN has declared 2005-2015 the ‘Decade of Education for Sustainable Development’. Teach A Man To Fish at UNESCO APEID Conference 2006
Although it’s important that young people around the world should be taught about sustainable development, the reality is that many still don’t have a chance to attend school in the first place.

The model Teach A Man To Fish is developing allows schools to become more financially sustainable. As schools start to generate more of their own income, resources increase within the education system as a whole - so that more young people can get the education they deserve.

Transforming subsidy- and fee-dependent schools into financially independent schools is not without challenges. Nonetheless, as our paper highlights, the successful examples that exist show that it can be done – and that the rewards are worth it.

Ultimately the more students who go to school, the more that can be taught about sustainable development.

Sustainable schools teaching sustainable development – now that’s really a goal worth aiming for!

For a copy of the full paper presented at the conference click here

Film Star Partners

Short video about the work of Teach A Man To Fish partner now online.

The Fundación Paraguaya in Paraguay, South America, runs a school that teaches the students of poor farmers how to make money out of farming.

But that’s not all – they also cover more than two thirds of their operating costs from the income from school businesses.

A five minute film showing just how they’re doing this is now up on the Teach A Man To Fish website.

Volunteering on the Gold Coast

Teach A Man To Fish launches a new volunteer program with Ghanaian partner

Making donations to support worthy causes is a great way to make a difference*, but there are still a huge number of people who want to get that bit more involved – to go out there and actually ‘do’ something.Volunteer on Teach A Man To Fish partner project

Teach A Man To Fish, as ever, is here to help.

Ghana in West Africa is a stable democracy, with golden beaches, lush tropical forests, and a vibrant local culture. It is a country of great possibilities; and yet extreme poverty is still widespread.

The Gate of Hope Foundation, one of Teach A Man To Fish‘s local partners, is working to change this. Its educational programs aim to support local livelihoods while conserving the environment.

This 4 – 20 week volunteer program offers a great chance to get hands-on experience in international development and support their work.

For more information, click here.

*and much appreciated!

Studio Schools - Innovation for the 21st century

It’s less about generating income, but teaching relevant skills means there are still good reasons to put commercially run businesses into schools – even in the UK

article by Ian Casswell

The British education system has seen significant increases in funding in recent years – yet much has been directed to overhaul outdated infrastructure rather than to introduce innovation into the needed field of practical based learning.

Studio SchoolsThe UK’s two tiered system continues to stigmatize vocational based education – severely hampering our young people and society. The strong economy often hides the country’s crucial lack of skills, having severe implications for Britain’s prospects in the 21st century.

Facing this challenge the Young Foundation is developing an innovative approach to combine practical learning in a real-world context. As our young people strive for greater independence and authority, Studio Schools seek to address this challenge by raising the profile and impact of vocational based learning.

They will create a network of new small schools for 14-19 year olds that teach employability and enterprise skills, having at their centre a business that the students spend some time working in.

These entrepreneurial schools will house real, commercially viable businesses – stimulating greater student engagement. Building on this involvement, students will complete a broad and varied curriculum that embraces vocational courses, as well as the softer non-cognitive skills so desperately craved by 21st century employers.
Running a sustainable business will compel these schools to proactively engage with the community, integrating themselves within the locality’s consciousness and providing an environment for our much maligned young people to thrive and prosper. Studio Schools will provide an avenue for the aspirational, distinct from existing approaches that curb creativity.

News in Brief:

First International Conference on Self-Sufficient Schools planned
Teach A Man To Fish is currently working on plans to hold the first ever international conference on Self-Sufficient Schools. Expressions of interest are sought from all individuals and organizations interested in taking part in this conference. Email conference@teachamantofish.org.uk  for more info.

More for our members
Over the coming months we’ll be introducing a range of new services exclusively for members, increasing and improving the information we provide, and offering new ways to get in touch with others working in similar areas. With membership of Teach A Man To Fish now spanning over 350 individuals and organizations in over 60 countries,  isn’t it time you joined up? Join here.

On board with BOND
BOND is the UK's broadest network of voluntary organizations working in international development. BOND has demonstrated global leadership in facilitating campaigns such as MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY, inspiring the respect of international policymakers & the UK government. We’re therefore delighted that last November Teach A Man To Fish director Nik Kafka was elected to BOND’s board of trustees. To find out more about BOND, click here.

And Finally… Street Artist Supports Teach A Man To Fish

Chewing Gum Art

Teach A Man To Fish has a very small piece of art dedicated to it on the streets of London

Some art is made to be hung in galleries for the appreciation of connoisseurs... and some for the sheer pleasure of it and the enjoyment of the man in the street.

Ben Wilson is an artist with a difference. Instead of using pristine canvases, he paints in miniature on the chewing gum splats which line the streets of London – and fortunately for him there’s no shortage of these ugly black blotches.

So when he wanted to thank a member of the Teach A Man To Fish board for her help, what better way than to dedicate a tiny work of art to us (see inset).

Eagle eyed readers can find this display at the bottom end of Highgate Hill – but you’ll have to look very carefully!

Link of the Month

The Social Edge is an excellent website supporting social entrepreneurs around the world to do what they do best - finding creative solutions to pressing social challenges.

Crammed full of discussion boards, resources, and advice, it's an endless source of inspiration for individuals and organizations taking an entrepreneurial approach to changing the world. To visit it now, click here…

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