2.5 Effective Advocacy Strategies Seek to Fill Gaps in Curricula and Complement Government’s YEO Efforts

In many countries, the sustainability and efficiency of YEO programs depends on government engagement. Educate!, an organization that develops young social entrepreneurs in Uganda through an experiential learning program, mentorship, and access to capital, sees advocacy as an effective tool to grow YEO programs without increasing the size of the non-governmental organization. Advocacy also reduces the risk of having to end a successful program when the NGO’s funding cycle terminates. Educate! created a tool to help other NGOs learn advocacy skills, see Box 2.5.1.

2.5.1 New Tool: Advocacy Guide from Educate! on Entrepreneurship

Based on their experience integrating a hands-on approach to entrepreneurship education in Uganda’s national secondary curriculum, Educate! created an advocacy guide with strategies and ideas on how organizations can advocate with other MOE’s. The guide focuses on how to align interests with governmental priorities, specifically regarding job creation. In

addition, the guide details the effective strategy of evidence based advocacy – using evidence of the results of a program to advocate for its incorporation into a national system. The advocacy guide is available for others to use. If you would like to access it, please send an email to: [email protected].

For more information, see www.experienceeducate.org.

Educate! wanted to incorporate their work as an NGO into national education systems and the private sector; noting that this is key to the long term sustainability of their initiatives. They were able to “sell” entrepreneurship education to Uganda’s government by discussing how their education program can contribute to job creation, economic growth, and social development. As a result, they were able to introduce new teaching techniques and curriculum components that get students out of the classroom, away from rote memorization, and into their communities to experiment with entrepreneurship. See Box 2.5.2 for more details.

2.5.2 Noteworthy Result: Social Entrepreneurship Added to Uganda's Curriculum

In October 2010, the Government of Uganda and the International Labour Organization (ILO) asked Educate! to incorporate its social entrepreneurship curriculum into the national education system. Starting in 2012, the curriculum will help over 45,000 A-level students (last two years of high school) per year to start a venture that solves a social or environmental problem.

Educate!’s curriculum effectively guides students through every step of the process of actually starting an enterprise to solve poverty, disease, violence, lack of education or environmental degradation. Educate! successfully partnered with the government and the ILO to incorporate the curriculum into the system as a result of a couple things:

  • The government has long known that the current memorization based education system is not an effective investment in the next generation. Educate!’s curriculum was seen as an alternative.
  • Educate! was able to demonstrate to the government and ILO that the curriculum was actually effective by presenting actual results. Specifically, the evidence that Educate! students had actually started enterprises that created jobs was compelling to the government which is facing an increasing labor shortage (one solution to which is an education system that produces more jobs creators and less job seekers). In line with the strategy of evidence-based advocacy, outlined above, Educate! used results to effectively advocate with the government and ILO for the curriculum to be incorporated into the system.

The curriculum re-imagines what education can be. Instead of sitting in class memorizing the components of a business plan, students get out in the school and community to create an enterprise with a specific focus on solving a social or environmental problem. The curriculum is based on the belief that experience is the best teacher, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship and leadership. While students learn they contribute to the social and economic development of their communities.

This initiative in Uganda is an experiment, and Educate! believes its results will help inform education policy decisions worldwide.

To help build an evidence base to inform education policy decisions, the ILO is implementing a goldstandard, four year impact evaluation of the new national entrepreneurship curriculum (which includes Educate!’s curriculum) and Educate!’s program starting in 2012. The results of the evaluation will provide a much needed evidence base as to what works and what doesn’t in the field of youth entrepreneurship and leadership development. The evidence base can be used by governments, foundations, and organizations worldwide to make funding, policy, and program design decisions.

Educate! shares the curriculum with interested organizations. Please contact [email protected].

Additional information on Educate! can be found at: http://bit.ly/wVAH0P.1

 

Fundación E, a Mexico-based international NGO that supports the development of sustainable entrepreneurship and employment opportunities, also found that the Mexican government needed assistance to transparently and effectively support enterprise development throughout the country. Box 2.5.3 describes how they were able to complement and fit within a pre-existing enterprise development structure within the Mexican government.

2.5.3 Bright Ideas: Fundación E Works with the Mexican Government to
Incubate Small Businesses

Fundación E partners with the Mexican Government to support micro, small and medium-sized businesses in Mexico. For example, Fundación E partners with the Mexican Ministry of Economy to coordinate the National Business Incubation System and ensure that federal funds are transparently delivered to micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. There are currently 500 incubator centers. Once the incubator system was operational, Fundación E began managing the government grants that financially support these business development centers. Since an NGO is leading this process rather than the government, there is significant transparency and the general public is more assured about the use of funds.

Fundación E subsequently created an

entrepreneurial education franchise, which links to the business incubator model. Fundación E decided to take a franchise approach so each business incubator would operate sustainably.

Most recently, the Foundation started working with Mexican immigrants living in the United States to provide them with entrepreneurship capacity building and information on how they can utilize remittances to invest in business ideas they can implement in Mexico.

Fundación E has therefore worked with the Government of Mexico on both the policy and programmatic fronts in support of enterprise, employment and livelihoods development.

For more information, see www.fundacione.org/portal.