“Education is the single best investment in prosperous, healthy and equitable societies.”

- UN Food & Agriculture Organization

No country has ever achieved rapid and continuous economic growth without at least a 40% literacy rate. In sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 4 children does not attend school; of those who attend, 1 in 3 will drop out before completing primary school. Worldwide, 69 million children are not in school; of those, 60% are girls. A single year of primary school increases a boy’s future earning potential by five to 15% and a girl’s even more. A child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five. Education and food security are directly connected: doubling primary school attendance among impoverished rural children can cut food insecurity by up to 25%.
Jane Nabwire tends goats  provided by UCOBAC, Bugiri District, Uganda. © CFTC 2011.

Children learning the alphabet together in a RAINS-supported village, Sang, Ghana © CFTC 2013

African child at school

Child reading in a CHADET sponsored school, Woliso, Ethiopia © CFTC 2012


CFTC’s objective is to improve access to education at four levels:

Early childhood care & education: care and stimulation for children in the critical first six years of life. Primary education: attendance and graduation from primary grades to improve later earning potential and food security. Agricultural training: increasing adults’ ability to produce, purchase and consume healthy food. Capacity building: supporting community-led advocacy for education, especially for girls, and educational policy-making at the local, regional and country levels.

Why Education Matters

Education provides a direct path towards food security and out of poverty.

Increased economic and community development – Education is the single-most important driver of economic empowerment for individuals and countries. Food security benefits – Educated parents are able to earn an income, produce more food through agricultural initiatives, and feed their children. Children who complete primary education are more likely to achieve food security as adults and end the cycle of poverty in their generation. Improved social, cognitive and health outcomes- Stimulation in the critical first six years has the longest-lasting effects on children’s health and the fulfillment of human potential. Education increases people’s confidence, enabling them to become self-sufficient, fully contributing members of their communities. Gender equity – Girls and women who achieve higher levels of education are greater contributors to overall economic development and to children’s welfare within communities. Achieving educational equity for girls – including educating communities on the value of girls’ education – is an essential factor in sustainable poverty alleviation.

CFTC’s Education Programs

Greater access, better infrastructure, teacher recruitment & training plus income generating education for adults.

Teacher Training

Even where education is state-supported, such as in Ethiopia (pictured), gaps exist at the local level in attracting and retaining teachers. It is not uncommon for teachers to work for no salary and just transportation allowance, which is not a sustainable solution to ensure children get an adequate education. CFTC donors support proper compensation and support for teachers – to keep them and children in school.

Primary Education

For every year of schooling attained, boys’ earning potential climbs five to 15 per cent and girls’ even more. Creating optimal learning environments and achieving good education outcomes – e.g., better retention, higher graduation rates, and community-wide support for children’s education – is the focus of donor support for education in CFTC’s supported communities.

Classroom Construction

As demand for education increases throughout Africa, infrastructure needs to keep pace. Classroom blocks – adequately resourced with water sources, latrines and cooking facilities, and supplied with desks, blackboards, textbooks and the rest of the basics – are long-term investments in poverty alleviation.

Primary Education for Girls

For every 10 per cent of girls educated, a country’s GDP rises by three per cent. Chances are high that these girls in Uganda, supported by CFTC’s generous donors through local partner CEDO, will graduate and escape a life of poverty.

Agricultural Training Through CHANGE

‘Train the trainer’ sessions cascade climate-smart agriculture technologies and practices throughout northern Ghana. Since the majority of northern Ghana’s smallholder farmers do not read or write, hands-on training delivered by agricultural extension agents who speak the local language is making a huge difference in boosting these communities’ farm yields and ability to cope with the impacts of climate change.


How You Can Support Education


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