What does it take to educate a child?
Worldwide, policymakers tend to have a similar answer. Build schools. Train teachers. Provide materials. Monitor performance.
For nearly 20 years, School-to-School International has assisted in these efforts. In Cameroon, we trained inspectors in best practices for teaching early grade reading. In Niger, we worked with ministry staff to develop accessible, local-language reading materials. In countries across the globe, we have assessed children’s abilities in reading and mathematics so officials can improve the systems that deliver education.
Yet, it takes more than educational inputs to educate a child. Yes, children need skilled educators, compelling materials, and a place to learn. They also need to be healthy, nurtured, and encouraged.
In Guinea and in Tanzania, we have developed an approach called the Whole Child Model. We work with local partners to provide high-quality education while also promoting health and engagement. With our partners in Guinea, we’ve dug wells, built latrines, provided medical kits, and trained communities to monitor health conditions in their schools. In Tanzania, we’ve encouraged teachers to use alternatives to corporal punishment, distributed menstrual pads to girls, and identified ways families can encourage their children—especially their daughters—to stay in school.
And we’ve seen change. In Guinea, children and teachers changed their health and hygiene habits, even their beliefs about how diseases are transmitted. When families received a sack of rice per month, their girls stayed in school and performed significantly better in reading and math. In Tanzania, girls who received menstrual pads reported improved school attendance. And throughout, teachers in both countries honed their teaching skills.
This is our mission: to improve how we educate children by ensuring support for health and engagement alongside high-quality education.