The Sanyu Center Will Help Employ and Improve Both Job and Life Skills

The Sanyu Center Will Help Employ and Improve Both Job and Life Skills

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Teach Twice envisions a world in which all have access to more and better education. Education represents the chance for growth and development - for longer and healthier lives, for increased income, for opportunities and participation in the labor market, for increased equity and equality, and for peace.

The Sanyu Center’s primary mission will be assisting the Nakikungube community in achieving the aforementioned goals. Through its well rounded curriculum, including programs for trade skills, finance and educator training, this project will help the members of the Nakikungube community achieve their full potential in terms of economic and personal success.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Uganda is a naturally beautiful and diverse nation, tucked away in East Africa. Its diversity is reflected in its land and its people. Uganda is dotted with savannah and rainforests and volcanoes, and contains the highest mountain range in Africa. The 33 million people who live in Uganda speak over 56 recognized languages, observe multiple religions, and belong to more than 15 distinct ethnic groups. Despite its rich land and history, Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the world. Since its independence in 1961 the people of Uganda have been subjected to civil war, military dictatorship, and poverty. Human rights abuses during the Idi Amin and Milton Obote regimes are well documented. Today the national poverty rate is close to 40%, with a GNI per capita of $460 per year. At least 1 million Ugandans have died as a result of HIV/AIDS, leaving over 2 million children as orphans. The people of Uganda have shown remarkable resilience in the face of challenges, and nowhere is this resilience as clear as in the field of education. Uganda declared its commitment by signing onto the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000, with the aim of achieving universal enrollment by 2015. Today, education is a fundamental part of Uganda’s development strategy. Education is seen as crucial to the well being of the people and the country—a way to achieve peace after decades of instability and war. Almost 100 percent of Ugandan children are now going to primary school, and the enrollment gap between boys and girls is decreasing. However, rates drastically fall for advanced education. The net enrollment rate at the secondary level was 22 % in 2009, and the attendance rate was even lower: 16 % for boys, 15 % for girls. In 2007 the Ministry of Education officially set the goal of universal secondary enrollment, enabling more students to study beyond the primary level.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Other international development organizations recognize and are addressing the monetary costs of education: tuition, books, uniforms, transportation costs, etc. However, one of the costs of education that is often overlooked is the opportunity cost, the sacrifice of other available opportunities. By being in school, students give up the opportunity to support their families through household responsibilities, to provide free agricultural labor for their farms, and to earn money through jobs available to children. The Educator Training Program recognizes this opportunity cost obstacle. The employment of tutors, only available to students, will generate an income greater than other available jobs. The income can be used to pay other adults to take over the household and agricultural jobs. This program establishes education as greatest investment of time, as the opportunity that yields the greatest benefit. Our center understands the array of economics that can be improved on all levels from individual to community. While many believe that improving the economy means providing more jobs, our center helps to focus on a well-rounded individual education approach that allows the active citizen to serve as the catalyst for economical improvement.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

At the Sanyu Center we hope to create an education that will be beneficial in a well-rounded array of programs that improve both the personal and job skills that can increase attractiveness for employment, improve savings, encourage entrepreneurs, and increase educational and community values. Improving economic opportunity consists in increasing effectiveness of production and consumption both on a personal and community level, and the Sanyu Center provides the necessary provision of these skills. Our classes will comprise of three sections: Trade Skills, Finance, and Educator Training. Trade Skills classes will provide the most appropriate training for the current labor market. The skills gained here will help Sanyu Center members gain employment in various competitive professional fields. The finance program will strive to improve personal budgeting skills and showcase the benefits of communal economic cooperation. The improved financial skills will help to minimize the various inefficiencies that the Nakikungube community faces. The educator program seeks to overcome the short-term opportunity costs of education and train the future coalition of teachers. Our Student Educator Training program will employ, with parental approval, students to tutor younger students in the grade they themselves just finished. Students will benefit from having private tutoring and tutors will reinforce their learning. Tutors will earn more than other available jobs in agriculture and the informal sector, thus establishing the primacy of the teaching profession.
About You
Teach Twice
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Teach Twice

Organization Country

, TN, Davidson County

Country where this project is creating social impact


How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

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What stage is your project in?

Idea phase

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

"All I had heard about them is how poor they were, so that it had become impossible for me to see them as anything else but poor. Their poverty was my single story of them." - Chimamanda Adichie

A friendship that formed after 48 hours living as homeless individuals on the National Coalition for the Homeless’ “urban plunge”, Jason Wen and Trevor Burbank recognized a familiar dissatisfaction with the status quo. We wanted to make a change. However, the available avenues did not have the impact we wanted. Donations were callous; service programs, especially international, inefficient in improving the lives of the local people. We also didn't want to wait years until we were professionals to make change. We wanted it now.

What we could do was to explore all opportunities to have conversations with those who would share their story. We soon learned that these people have stories beyond the one of poverty, hunger, suffering that is usually told. No, these stories were of a common drive for something more and of their unique background and culture. We realized that these unique voices could be transformed into sources of empowerment.

Teach Twice is a celebration of these voices. For so long, stories of culture and heritage have been used to teach the young the ways of the old. However, these stories can now empower children to learn even more. By capturing the essence of a community’s culture in children’s books and selling them in the marketplace, we can generate a sustainable source of funding to support basic and advanced education around the world.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

The Teach Twice Project has been successful in starting to build a network of resources, persons, and organizations to support our social business model. We have recruited 124 supporters to pledge their support with a financial donation. Our organization plan was selected as one of the 125 Semi-Finalists of the Dell Social Innovation Competition out of a field of 1300 entries. We have recruited the leading faculty in social business, children's literature, and international development at Vanderbilt University to apply their expertise and guidance.

We believe our success in improving education will derive from our commitment to community-appropriateness. The Sanyu Center will be initiated and implemented by the community. We will work with community education leaders to target our project to the specific obstacle impeding education in that community. We will evaluate the success of our Center by the enrollment and attendance rate in our classes, changes in purchasing power for our students, the number of applicants and acceptances for tutoring positions, and the academic performance of the students.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?


How will your project evolve over the next three years?

In three years, the Sanyu Center will move from an idea into an active program. Through community surveys and interviews, we will identify the highest-impact programs that members believe will most effectively enable them to pursue available economic opportunities. The curriculum offered will maintain our commitment to the specifics of the community.

After proving success in the community of Nakikungube we are preparing to implement this project in rural Haiti where we have begun to establish connections to create a smooth placement. The center’s adaptability will allow it to cater to the needs of every community, proving effective through a community-specific approach.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

The employment of students as tutors may encounter the immediate barriers of gender expectations and traditional family dynamics. First, while we can account for cultural appropriateness by pairing tutors and students of the same gender, we will need to address the female predominance of the teaching profession. Paradoxically, while girls are less likely to receive an education than their brothers, female teachers outnumber male teachers. Men may be expected to pursue more labor-intensive jobs and male students may hesitate to apply to become a tutor. Secondly, we must address the possible disruption of family dynamics. Tutors may earn a substantial percentage of the family's income and may inadvertently add pressure on the parents to maintain authority. A more long-term limit to our social impact is the weak supporting infrastructure for teachers. The lack of advanced teacher training and insufficient salaries will limit the quality and number of teacher candidates. Future programs will supply advanced training and funds will supplant the government salaries.

Community participation with the Sanyu Center will be critical. We need the community to voice the need for the adult education center. Without the community initiation, the adults will not make the effort to attend classes. As a result, we will conduct survey and interviews to ensure the community’s desire for such a Center. In addition, we will seek the opinion and advice of religious and social leaders. These authorities have earned the trust of the community members and their support will determine our success.

Tell us about your partnerships

The partnerships we have created have greatly helped our process run smoothly and more efficiently. We believe it is through these partnerships that we can build important relationships that can benefit both parties, and as a result, have a greater social impact. Each partnership has been established as an improvement upon our process, allowing our ideas to grow.

Better World Books is a social business that serves as an online book marketplace that cycles revenues towards literacy programs and improvement. Their collection of books allows us to pull the appropriate and current reading materials that allow students to understand the subjects being taught, along with cutting down costs. As the partnership grows and we show success, funding will be given as well to continue our work.

Working with Vanderbilt University’s Peabody School of Education, TEDxNashville, Brown University’s Swearer Center, and our growing network of educators, we have received generous grants, educational collaboration, and support that will continue to build as their involvement with our project continues.

Dell has been involved with us since the beginning and has proven beneficial with business guidance and financial backing. As we transition into 501(c)(3) status, Dell is looking into donating refurbished computers that allow us to teach technology-based classes and access even more educational resources.

Explain your selections

Our project will be supported by a diverse set of entities. Family and friends supported the Teach Twice organization financially through our Kickstarter campaign, which fundraised over $7500. While they will be critical in helping to see the project off the ground they will eventually be moved into a more secondary role as the Sanyu Center gains operational traction. Similar to the backing that we will receive from friends and family, we will also seek the support of individual members of not only our own immediate community, but also those outside that wish to support a program that will have a direct impact on so many lives. Finally, we will also be supported by the members of the Sanyu Center who will pay a small tuition to attend classes and programs. The rational behind this is not to create a revenue stream from our members, but to simply require them to financially invest, giving them ownership over their newly acquired education. With this in place, members will be far more likely to continually attend classes and programs and further their education.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

The Teach Twice social enterprise model emphasizes financial sustainability. Our model of selling culturally appropriate and educating children’s books for profit in the United States and around the world gives Teach Twice a steady and long-term revenue-generating stream. As a result, the Sanyu Center will receive consistent financial support and further expansion is possible.

The impact of the project will depend on participation in classes and programs. We will reach out through existing structures of authority to promote our program and recruit participants. New Vision is a widely-read newspaper that can spread news of our opportunity. The audiences of religious services are receptive to address social issues, as evidenced by a church-based HIV education program. As a result, we will seek the support of religious officials.

For our Educator Training programs, the students selected to become tutors will be nurtured to be concrete examples of the capacity and potential of students and of the improved economic status opened by education. We will need to ensure well-paying jobs for these tutors. We will create an optional, but well-paying teacher assistant position open for any graduated tutors. We will encourage tutors to pursue other professions, but will nurture an interest in teaching.

Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.



Lack of efficiency


Lack of efficiency

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

First, we will need to address the female predominance of the teaching profession. Men may be expected to pursue more labor-intensive jobs and male students may hesitate to apply to become a tutor. Secondly, we must address the possible disruption of family dynamics. Tutors may earn a substantial percentage of the family's income and may inadvertently add pressure on the parents to maintain authority. A long-term limit is the weak infrastructure for teachers, such as the lack of teacher training and insufficient salaries. Future programs will supply advanced training and funds will supplant the government salaries.

We need the community to voice the need for the adult education center. We will conduct survey and interviews to ensure the community’s desire for such a Center.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.


Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services



Grown geographic reach: Multi-country

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

All growth activities are planned for the future. Learning from the hasty expansion of other development projects, we will conduct an exhaustive evaluation and evolution of our model before further growth. We will gather statistical information on the input (number of participants) and output (increases in economic power) of the Sanyu Center. We will approach religious and community leaders to gauge the community confidence. For the immediate future, growth will be focused on adapting the topics and classes offered. We will strive to provide the highest-impact classes.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Government, NGOs/Nonprofits, Academia/universities.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Inspiration for the Sanyu Center has come from collaborations. An internship at the Pakistani Embassy, showded that a number of madrasahs have been used in the radicalization of Pakistani youth. The classroom can become an arena for competing values. We champion the value of education.

Blood:Water Mission has exposed unexpected obstacles to education. The inadequate water supply often forces children and women to walk hours to a often unsanitary water source. Things we take for granted need to be considered in projects in the developing countries.

Faculty of the Peabody School of Education have emphasized an academic approach. We have learned to examine the strengths and weaknesses of past development projects and have incorporated these lessons into our development philosophy.