Fifteen years ago, School-to-School International was created to realize a dream:
If we provided kids with support in education, health, and community engagement simultaneously, they could thrive in their early years and thus have a greater chance at success in life.
We started in Guinea, West Africa in 2002, in schools most of us would barely recognize: dilapidated buildings, overcrowded classrooms, broken furniture, few books, and no electricity, water, toilets, or food. Teachers came and went, many holding second jobs to make ends meet. Students struggled to access and engage in their education.
Amongst those challenges, we trained teachers and parents, provided instructional materials, built wells and latrines. Hundreds of Guinean children have made friends in the US through our pen pal program. Teachers are now using more hands-on, active methods in their teaching. Parents report making more space for their girls to study. And almost all of our schools are equipped with toilets, drinking water, and first aid kits, benefiting teachers, kids, and in some cases, entire communities.
The result? In truth, it’s mixed. Some groups, especially girls receiving scholarships in the form of monthly sacks of rice, have shown significant gains in reading and math. Others, especially kids in higher grades, are still struggling.
We are proud that over 15 years—through riots, a coup, violent elections, and Ebola—STS provided continuous support to our schools in Guinea and, in the process, changed lives. We’re also proud to have made a name for ourselves in the world of educational development.
Over the past 15 years, we’ve grown from one person to a staff of 45. To date, we have implemented 58 projects in 35 countries in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the US, including conducting over 40 Early Grade Reading Assessments in 15 countries. Most of our work is repeat business, and we are honored that many of our clients see STS as their “go-to” partner when designing an intervention or measuring its impact.
In the coming year, STS will continue supporting its work in Guinea while exploring how the Whole Child Model can be applied in Tanzania. We also are excited to be part of new development projects launching in Ethiopia and Liberia as we continue to apply lessons learned from our work across the globe.
Throughout it all, we are honored to have you—our clients, donors, colleagues, and friends—joining us in this venture. We are looking forward to taking the next steps of this journey with you as we continue to improve the lives and learning of girls and boys worldwide through thoughtful research, practice, and partnerships.
Looking forward to the next 15 years,
Dr. Mark Lynd
President and Co-Founder