When the center John C and Elie K International Smart Districts School Network for Smart Learning and Smart Cities Everywhere started in September 2019 a campus in the North of the Province of Bujumbura at Buterere , we did not know that the small nursery service limited to child supervision, training of trainers, administrative Committee and family social aid would have advantages beyond our expectations. We did not believe that one day we could become a center for excellence, knowledge and leadership, a project of reference school for the larger Burundian districts and a population of nearly 20 millions inhabitants with the economy rates of 75%, people living by agriculture, small income activities out of 35% of the population in rural areas, a percentage which does not prevent a strong movement of migration to the capital Bujumbura, causing complications in the reception of these migrants.
The center has started small, with a small group of dedicated teachers, two elementary school classrooms and a daycare service, but it has big aspirations. ASASS plans to gradually expand the smart districts school internaitonal network education center in 17 provinces and in 114 districts of the country, Burundi, to include a secondary school and 12-K college. Therefore the center John C and Elie K International Smart Districts School Network’s top priority is to implement international studies center response to ASASS’s higher demand of the human resources , workforce of graduates with Master and Doctorate’s Degrees and pro PH.D specialization in ASASS’s field of projects. The center will train Burundi staff and international volunteers in Burundi social works services of ASASS and International communities of our supporters.
In this respect, the center will expand to offer a professional development course for volunteer staff, human resources, maintenance technicians, Social and Humanitarian staff, Arts and design team, our pastors and evangelists in the national Christian Ministries and Family Leadership Church Centers, Network Administrators, Information Management Systems , Website and Apps designer and Developers, Psycho-social and counselling, Using Arts and music in public health, education and community service center Management, Administration and marketing, Foods production, processing, distribution and health nutrition, and distribution, computer scientists, engineers and adult literacy for the community. It will also offer a world-class hybrid university international pathway program. Due to the shortage of resource trainers we will find a solution in the online learning platforms and international professor’s commitment in Burundi-based online academy, opening gates to higher education and learning international careers skills. We are always looking for accredited college and universities for opening this pending opportunities for ASASS’s volunteers staff and donors or partners to help us achieve this goal!
For the 2020-2021 academic year, the priority of the center is to open gates to higher education and learning International academy. The academy will first train teachers and other non-teaching staff at the center John C and Elie K International Smart Districts Schools Network, the volunteers in Burundi and International communities supporting ASASS’s projects in Burundi and abroad.
The smart districts school international network Board aim to provide the center with a Digital Library of over 500,000 open downloadable resources and interactive learning materials. By setting up audiovisual studio for editing, designing, recording , printing, production and distribution of educational materials into our smart districts school international network in Burundi we will be reaching to the children who need education and we will provide them with but not limited worksheets for students and teachers , books, graphics, audio, videos, and other visual arts products. This is a big need of school library. Imagine a big community without any public library. We will appreciate our community’s contribution of idea, reference and in kind support.
We have received much positive feedback from the community – the growing list of children waiting for admission is certainly a testament to the value of the education provided.
The second priority is development of a school management system software with Apps. This can help us in the computerization of our Smart Districts School International Network for Smart Learning and Smart Cities Everywhere in Africa, Burundi.
We achieve this by empowering school club leaders in 114 Burundi districts and in 54 Africa Regional Focal Points (RFP) who work to help ASASS’s children, young mothers and parents of our students, and ensure the economic empowerment of families which support school in their Microfinance groups.
Another crucial priority is to establish volunteers coordination office , to support our mentors and International volunteers from Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, the USA, Canada , UK and India, to serve our small Non-profit and its projects like John C and Elie K International Smart Districts School Network to achieve plans and our people get help and technical assistance from the well-established international liaison office.
Office is important in further engagement of community in part-time overseas volunteer service to Burundi as part of this long-term project to ensure that we help children and parents in need of a better world.
More than education
The local community has also seen other positive benefits since the establishment of the school center. In particular, with more young children in school and daycare, more mothers have been able to enter the workforce or take on more stable work.
Around the world, women typically spend more time taking care of young children than men do. This trend is particularly visible in Africa, where mothers spend significantly more time than fathers in caring for their children. The COVID-19 crisis has only exacerbated these challenges worldwide, with many schools and childcare centers closing their doors during lockdowns. As noted by the International Labour Organization, when women don’t have access to good childcare options like daycares or schools, they have to reduce the hours they work, shift to lower-paid jobs, or stop working altogether, losing valuable income. This is occurring despite the demonstrated fact that when women participate in the labour market, their families, community and society at large all benefit.
The opening of the Smart Districts School International Network for Smart Learning and Smart Cities, John C and Elie K International, has given some 20 families a safe, secure place to send their children during the day, freeing mothers to take on productive, stable work.
Access to education for adolescents and teenagers also has benefits for society. When older children do not attend school or other training programs, they are at risk of abuse, violence, early pregnancies (for girls) and child labour. John C and Elie K International Smart Districts School Network appears, restore hopes by engaging adolescents, especially girls and women, in its forthcoming secondary school, college and training programs, keeping them in school and safe.