Read today, lead tomorrow!

Improving quality of education and creating self-reliance with all stakeholders in education involved and committed.

Photo of Anouk Ooms
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Knowledge for Children

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $100k - $250k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 50,000 - 100,000

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Netherlands

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

Country 1: Cameroon, Kumbo (started in 2005) Country 2: Kenya, Kisumu (started in 2017) Country 3: Uganda, Masaka (started in 2013)


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Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

There is a dependence problem in Africa that must end. We believe in the saying: “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. We focus on primary education as it is the foundation for a better future. Education is for free and provided by the government. Especially in the rural areas the standards are low. We want the school, its community, the local government and local companies to take their responsibility and improve the quality of education in their schools.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

We work together with a school for 3 years through a 3 step program: books, training of teachers and leadership. We use a co-investment model with all stakeholders involved. The school community contributes towards receiving books. The 1st year they pay 15% of the costs of books, the 2nd year 30% and the last year we become equal partners: both paying 50%. The school receives books for all mayor subjects. And that is not all: the school creates a committed community that is able to put their hands together towards overcoming challenges. Within step 2 we work together with the Primary Teachers Colleges. We work together to strengthen their responsibility for quality of education and train teachers. We focus on effective use of books and interactive teaching. Step 3 concerns training the leaders of the school how to plan for their future. To enable them to work on projects to improve the school with the community. Together they can solve issues without depending on others.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

At this point in Uganda we reach up to 100 schools in our program with over 40.000 children, 750 teachers and 300 leaders of the school and their community in the rural areas of 6 districts: Butambala, Kibaale, Lwengo, Masaka, Mpigi and Tororo. The first 15 schools are graduating from our program in 2017. This means that they have all the books in the mayor subjects, their teachers are effectively using these books in class and teach in an interactive way and the leaders of the school know how to mobilise their community to overcome their challenges together. Our impact is that schools are able to be independent and take charge of improving the quality of education on their own. Children benefit from this the most as they have better education, are able to read and have strong examples of how to take on challenges.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

We do not only aim for self-reliance and co-investment in the schools but also for our organisation. This means that we want to grow to a point where 50% of the income needed to carry out our activities comes from the countries themselves. At this point we receive our financial support for 25% from individual donations or gifts, 10% from grants, 25% from corporate contributions, 30% from earned income and 10% from other sources. The earned income consists of the contributions of the school communities. The other sources of income are discounts from publishers and contributions for workshops in Uganda. We are working towards also receiving funding from the local government and companies in order to ensure financial sustainability and self-reliance within the country.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Many other organizations maintain the dependency problem with just giving. Donating books or training teachers or leaders in schools. We are innovative as we focus on making ourselves redundant in the end. It is not our responsibility to improve the quality of education but that of all the stakeholders in education the country. We guide them to take on this responsibility. To organise this on their own in the future. We use books and workshops as a way of guiding schools towards self-reliance.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Our organisation was founded by Maimo Jacob and Arnold Roozenbeek. Arnold travelled through Cameroon as a volunteer when he became aware of the challenges towards improving the quality of education in a sustainable way. He met Maimo, a retired Cameroonian Inspector of Schools. When Arnold returned to the Netherlands they stayed in contact. Throughout their discussions they realised that in order to create a sustainable impact, the solution lays within the communities. Arnold started to raise funds as Maimo started to set up the local organisation in Cameroon. First focus was bringing books to schools. In doing so they realised that teachers needed to be guided on how to use these books as they had no clue. In 2013 we expanded to Uganda. There the model was developed in the current 3 step program that approaches the system in a holistic way with all stakeholders in education involved.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Social media

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Photo of Mouhamadou Moustapha Seck

A promising project. Good luck.

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