4 Programs that Prove It Takes a Community to Learn

January 31, 2014Kristen Grauer

At CEI we have organized several regional launches to create a sense of community amongst innovators.

The Global Partnership for Education recently posted a blog entitled "It Takes a Community to Learn," written by Joseph O'Reilly of Save the Children. According to O'Reilly, community engagement means students, teachers, parents, local leaders and organizations, as well as governments and policymakers working together to make change. By actively participating in the education process and advocating the rights and needs of students, these stakeholders are able to express shared grievances and achieve common goals.

Here at CEI we definitely believe in the value of community engagement, as do a number of the programs that we profile. While there are many more to discover in the CEI database, below are four examples of programs that encourage their localities to learn and grow collectively.


1. Children's Literature Festival (CLF) | Pakistan

CLF is a free, two-day festival that seeks to improve literacy and promote a culture of reading among students, teachers, parents, and community members in Pakistan. The festival aims to be an "equalizer" in education by targeting all children, irrespective of age, socioeconomic background, or geographic location. Attendees may participate in a wide variety of activities such as poetry readings, book talks, storytelling sessions, reading workshops, and writing competitions. Since the first CLF was held in 2011 in Lahore, eight additional festivals have been organized across the country. To date, CLF has engaged over 130,000 Pakistanis.

2. Children in Crisis - Community Based Education Centers (CBECs) | Afghanistan

In 2012, Children in Crisis launched five CBECs in low-income districts across Kabul where children otherwise had few opporunities to attend school. The program coordinates with local leaders to reach out-of-school children (OOSC) but also extends its services and support to adults in the community, particularly, vulnerable women. Accelerated learning and homework support classes for girls as well as literacy and vocational courses for women are the main opportunities offered at CBECs. However, they also offer finance courses to teach women the skills necessary to manage a family budget or small business.  Additionally, CBECs aim to generate awareness about education issues within the region.

3. The Philippi Collective Network | South Africa

The Philippi Collective Network aims to reduce dropout rates in Cape Town by providing a safe and supportive environment for learners from cradle to career. To achieve this goal, the program collaborates with various sectors of the community including students, parents, teachers, local businesses, NGOs, governments, and community leaders. Its four-step process begins by classifying local resources, then mapping out students' goals, identifying potential obstacles, and designing proper solutions. Over time, the program hopes to create an accessible network of community resources that will empower students and all residents of Philippi to sustain education opportunities and develop their township. 

4. Community Education Support Project | South Africa

The Community Education Support Project seeks to improve graduation rates in Gauteng, not only by supporting students, but by extending opportunities for development to teachers and parents. The project offers a comprehensive program of services that includes leadership seminars, peer support groups, and psychological care for students, crisis management and student motivation training for teachers, as well as attendance-monitoring workshops for parents that allow all stakeholders to participate in the education process. These methods were developed with the help of the Department of Education, which remains one of the project's most important partners in identifying schools that need assistance.


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(From the CEI Research & Evidence Library)

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