This is an exciting week for the Edify team in Rwanda. Twelve low-cost sustainable Christian schools are currently receiving comprehensive financial, accounting and human resources training.
When we arrived here at the beginning of August last year, we were tasked with building relationships with a local microfinance institution and training organizations. We often say that at Edify we are assemblers rather than builders, meaning that we would prefer to piece together existing programs than create our own. Being open to implementing existing solutions rather than insisting on implementing a proprietary (and potentially redundant) solution really sets Edify apart from so many other organizations and allows us to better meet the needs of our clients.

After an initial period of evaluation, we were very impressed with the curriculum that was developed by the International Finance Corporation for private schools. And now, here we are watching the proprietors/proprietresses of schools that are charging between $3 – $20 USD per month in tuition receive training, provided by Edify, that they have never received and so desperately need.

Even though this current training surrounds budgeting, cash flow management and other financial concepts, one of the key points the trainers have been stressing is that “quality is the best marketing”. The trainers’ insistence that proprietors use the provision of a quality education as a marketing tool to help their schools grow is a key element of Edify’s desire to see schools reach economies of scale without sacrificing on quality.

This same cohort of 12 schools will be participating in a second 5-day training at the end of February on Teaching Methodologies. This training will focus on improving academic performance at the schools with which Edify works. Concurrently we will be piloting several “faith-in-action” Christian after school programs in these schools to give school communities an opportunity to serve the communities that surround them.

Central to our training philosophy is an “outcome-centric” approach, where schools are openly told on what points their performance is being evaluated by Edify and specific steps they can take to improve. Incentives are given for participation and for improvement of performance.

I personally never cease to be amazed by the passion of these school owners and the drive they have to see their children succeed both in school and for the rest of their lives. It truly is an honor to assist them in achieving their own goals for their schools.

Alpha Akariza, Program Manager for the International Finance Corporation’s Africa Schools Rwanda program, kicks off the training session.

Innocent, one of the IFC’s most experienced trainers, giving a lesson on cash flow management.