Alexandra Mayhew, Partner
Other articles in this edition
1. Chairman Address, John Wells
2. How do you solve a problem like fake news? Timothy Mantiri
3. The best laid plans of mice and men - The importance of crisis simulation, Benjamin Haslem
4. PR on the screen - perception vs reality, Isabelle Walker
5. The WA State election preview, Ron Edwards
6. Old bones give new life Kathy Lindsay
7. Engagement communication to restore trust in government, Rob Masters
8. School for Life, Alexandra Mayhew
9. IPREX Highlights
10. The view from Middle America, Nick Vehr, Vehr Communications - an IPREX Partner
The Shell Issue 9
Education: the root of all that’s good
The Sydney-based School for Life Foundation believes education is at the root of equality, economic prosperity, elimination of poverty and the eradication of corruption, writes Alexandra Mayhew.
The problem with promoting gender equality as a women’s issue is that those to whom the message needs to reach the most, men and boys, are left out of the conversation, portrayed as the problem, or at worst, become defensive and see feminism as something that happens elsewhere (within female groups, often depicted as bra-burners).
They believe gender equality is a woman’s fight, not theirs. Imagine if that was the approach to civil rights. Perhaps it once was, but in this day and age that view is considered archaic. And that’s because it is. We are one community, and that’s how we must problem solve, as a group.
That is why UN Women’s #HeForShe campaign, headed by the inspiring Emma Watson, should be cornerstone of how we approach equality.
And the more important place to start? Education. Education beyond the gender argument. Education full-stop.
Increased educational attainment accounts for about 50 per cent of the economic growth in OECD countries over the past 50 years, of which over half is due to girls having access to higher levels of education and achieving greater equality in the number of years spent in education between men and women .
School for Life foundation is a not-for-profit organisation working in rural Uganda. Set up by Australian Annabelle Chauncy, the foundation empowers communities to help themselves and create their own opportunities. To do that, they build schools to provide communities with a quality education, including primary and secondary schooling, vocational training and other services – such as employment and healthcare solutions.
School for Life’s approach is a hand-up not a hand-out.
Annabelle hopes to have her school completely financially self-sufficient in the future, and that’s something we can all get behind. Perhaps we can learn from Uganda too, for example the fact its Parliament has higher female representation than ours. This is of course notwithstanding that domestic violence and sexual assault remain prevalent issues in Uganda, but surely more women in positions of political power is something Australians should respect and aspire to see here.
At the root of it all, that is, equality, economic prosperity, elimination of poverty, eradication of corruption within the political and justice systems, lies education. As School for Life would say, education changes everything.
More on School for Life
School for Life enrolment is now at 560 students from pre-primary through to Primary 7 across 2 campuses.
This year’s new students (160!) were fitted into their school uniforms, they experienced their first lesson, ate three healthy and nutritious meals, were taught how to wash their hands with soap, and had a health-check with our full-time school nurse.
The first day of school is the first step for these children on their path to freedom. Freedom from poverty, from disease and from war.
If School for Life didn’t exist, these children wouldn’t have access to a quality school. Instead of starting their first day at school, they would be heading to work in any way they can – most commonly working in the fields, herding animals or digging for food.
This video, which has been put together by an Australian volunteer Liam, captures the day in all its glory.
School for Life Foundation believes every child in the world should have access to quality education. They also provide their students with healthcare, three meals a day, and clean running water. The employ more than 90% Ugandan teachers and staff, and offer vocational training such as tailoring, carpentry, building and agriculture to generate new income streams to the wider school community.