Over $10 Million in Funding Announced to Drive New Innovations for Secondary Education in Developing Countries


TORONTO, June 18, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A partnership of private donors and foundations working to improve education today announced $10.3 million in grants that will increase the participation, quality and relevance of secondary education for economically disadvantaged and marginalized children in developing countries.

Through the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education, Dubai Cares, Echidna Giving, Intel Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation, and an anonymous donor announced 15 new investments that will support innovative work to address critical issues that impair secondary education and learning for marginalized populations in East Africa, Nigeria and India.

The investments announced today will support projects that pilot new approaches, bring to scale successful models and research critical questions about how to improve quality and access in secondary education while reducing costs. Projects will equip marginalized children with livelihood opportunities through education, improve teachers' effectiveness in the classroom and increase demand for student retention within both formal and non-formal secondary schooling.

"Secondary education is a critical step in a young person's journey to higher education or the workforce," said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. "This partnership is testing new ideas and scaling approaches that have the potential to transform how young people access education, while also improving the quality and relevance of what is being taught."

The 2014 round of support from the Partnership includes:

Avanti Fellows: $520,000 to develop a model to deliver science and mathematics education through an after-school program for secondary students enrolled in municipal schools in Chennai, India.

Friends of the British Council: $514,000 to improve learning outcomes and livelihood prospects of students from municipal schools, particularly girls, in Chennai, India, by enhancing their language and other 21st century skills.

Education Support Organization (Gyan Shala/Insaan Group): $530,000 to implement and evaluate a sustainable and scalable approach to assist young people in transitioning from primary to secondary schools in Mumbai, India.

Michigan State University (MSU): $200,000 to examine data gaps in evidence on improved secondary education access, retention and transition in India, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Paragon Charitable Trust: $547,000 to address the quality gap in mainstream secondary education through an integrated, community-based model of school and teacher education.

Teach for All: $910,000 to support the expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa of the Teach for All model, which enlists a nation's most promising teachers and academic leaders into the education sector.

The Supply Education Group: $143,000 to develop a secondary education curriculum centered on service-learning and human rights for marginalized youth in Nairobi, Kenya.

CRECCOM: $1 million to engage communities and schools to advocate in support of adolescent girls' education in Malawi with the aim of fostering successful transitions from the primary to secondary level.

Firelight Foundation: $2 million to increase the ability of local organizations to foster successful transitions from primary to secondary levels and improve secondary education retention rates in community day schools in Malawi.

ActionAid International Foundation Ltd: $520,000 to improve girls' access to quality secondary education in Sokoto state, Nigeria.

Friends of the British Council: $510,000 to implement and test an in-school model for work-based learning and teaching of 21st century skills in Lagos, Rivers and Cross Rivers states in Nigeria.

Plan International USA: $725,000 to expand the Better Life Options and Opportunities Model, which delivers a curriculum on 21st century skills to youth and enables community engagement in education.

South Saharan Social Development Organisation: $573,000 to harness the power of radio to improve adolescents' learning outcomes in Adamawa and Enugu states in Nigeria.

UNICEF Uganda and the US Fund for UNICEF: $500,000 to transform computer labs into learning labs, enhancing digital literacy to better position Ugandan youth as competitive candidates in the workforce.

Educate! $1.1 M to provide secondary students in Uganda with transferable skills and entrepreneurship training.

The Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education was formed in 2012 on the proven premise that secondary school education is measurably associated with positive effects on health, wellbeing and productivity of youth. Yet secondary education remains scarce in the developing world, particularly for marginalized girls.

A focus in 2015 for the Partnership is learning from its portfolio of projects. Simultaneously, it is renewing funding for and scaling up the work of promising organizations. Under PSIPSE's 2012-2014 Calls for Proposals, the Partnership has funded 57 projects in 8 countries for a total of $34 million. Working with a preeminent research and evaluation organization, in 2015 the Partnership will inaugurate a new monitoring, evaluation, and learning framework that will help to shape the themes and geographic focus of its next Call for Proposals. The partnership is also exploring expanding its membership.

The Partnership will issue its next Call for Proposals in Winter 2015/2016.
About Dubai Cares

Dubai Cares, a UAE-based philanthropic organization, was launched in September 2007 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to improve children's access to quality primary education. As part of its strategic education cycle approach, it also supports pre-primary initiatives that allow children to develop school readiness skills, and programs that foster successful transitions to post-primary education. Dubai Cares currently supports programs in 38 developing countries.

About Echidna Giving

Echidna Giving joins critical thinkers, innovators and practitioners, to advance girls' education in the developing world. We work to get more girls, into better schools, to live better lives. We support leaders and organizations who define, measure and deliver change.

About the Intel Foundation

Established by Intel in 1988, the Intel Foundation fosters educational opportunities for communities worldwide. By developing programs, exercising leadership, and providing funding for grants, the Intel Foundation fuels innovation in math and science education, empowers girls and women, supports underserved youth and engages with local communities.

About the MacArthur Foundation

The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology affects children and society. More information about the Foundation's girls' secondary education in developing countries work is available at

About The MasterCard Foundation

The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa. As one of the largest, private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by MasterCard Worldwide when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information on the Foundation, please visit:

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