Helping Senegalese Children to Learn in their Native Language

Minister of Education in Senegal

The Minister of Education speaks with press after the workshop.

MSI is working with educators in Senegal to ensure that children, who have been taught in French, are also able to learn in their native language.

Last month, we facilitated a workshop with the Senegalese Minister of Education, staff from the Ministry of National Education, and other curriculum and education personnel to finalize a scaling-up initiative to expand an innovative bilingual curriculum. The workshop helped identify issues that need to be addressed in fundraising, institutional adaptation, advocacy and awareness-raising.

French has been the dominant language in Senegal schools, but Senegalese citizens want their children to learn in their native language.

MSI experts provided an overview of our Scaling Up Framework to pinpoint the crucial elements needed to have a successful scaling-up plan. With our support and the backing of the Ministry of Education, the Senegalese NGO Associates in Research and Education for Development is taking the piloted bilingual curriculum to national scale.

“There is not a single country in the developed or emerging world that has used a foreign language as a language of instruction,” said Serigne Mbaye Thiam, the Minister of National Education.

Learn more about how we assist education projects to scale up.

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Development Tech Talk: Iraq and Its Future

MSI’s Andrew Griminger and Joseph Scheibel sat down to discuss the current situation in Iraq and the outlook for the future.

While recent headlines have painted a grim picture in Iraq, the government continues to function to meet the needs of its people.

They discuss why the international community should support the incoming government of PM Haider al Abadi and bolster Iraqi efforts to help the nation’s growing population of internally displaced persons. Ultimately, this help builds a stronger, more resilient government to offer its people.

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Middle East Policy Journal Highlights Successes in Iraqi Public Policy

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Click the cover to see Joseph’s essay.

MSI’s Joseph Scheibel recently published the essay “Opportunities in Crisis: Iraq’s Steps toward Inclusion” in the fall issue of the Middle East Policy Journal. The timing of this article is significant as Iraq has retaken the headlines in recent months.

Read an excerpt from the journal here.

“It is an honor to be published in the Middle East Policy Journal (MEPJ) for a pair of reasons – first, MEPJ’s stature and influence in the field is unquestionable,” said Scheibel. “Second, development in Iraq as the subject at hand has been very close to me and to MSI since I started here five years ago.”

Even as the immediate outlook remains uncertain for Iraq, there are long-term considerations for development and inclusion within the Iraqi government. With USAID’s Tarabot and Tatweer projects, we have worked with three distinct Iraqi governments as they worked to improve and make progress amid countless domestic challenges.

“We’ve seen others governments emerge from these types of problems and slingshot forward, improving in areas like infrastructure, service delivery, or, as is discussed in the article, public policymaking,” said Scheibel. “The government in Iraq has continued to function throughout these latest challenges. Workers aren’t staying home, they are in their offices keeping the lights on and schools open, and the incoming leadership has certainly been saying the right things in terms of inclusion and development moving forward.”

Critical work is still being done in Iraq to strengthen their government and help their citizens. Important strides have been made in creating public policies to protect homeless orphans and decrease youth unemployment. This article shows some of the hard work that isn’t necessarily taking headlines but is necessary for a democracy to succeed.

Joseph worked as an advisor in Baghdad during our former public administration capacity building project Tatweer, as well as for our current Tarabot project. As a Technical Associate at MSI, he works now on capacity building projects in the Middle East.

Learn more about our Tarabot project that strengthens public administration, civil service and public policy.

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Devex Sits Down with President Larry Cooley to Talk Scaling Up

MSI President and Founder Larry Cooley was interviewed by Devex on the scalability of development projects. The entire article and 2 videos can be found here.  

As a whole, the international development community stresses innovation, and donors and agencies keep trying to find the best way to innovate. This can sometimes lead to “pilot [projects] to nowhere.”

So how can this be counteracted to create projects with scalability in mind?

Through our scaling up work funded by the MacArthur Foundation and Packard Foundation, we researched and have published a Scaling Up Management Framework. The Framework tries to address:

1) How can you assess the inherent scalability of a project?
2) If designing for scale, how do you make sure the project is designed with scale in mind?
3) If you inherit something that is scalable, how can you manage the scaling up process?

Read more about our Scaling Up Management Framework and Toolkit here.

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Engaging with Young African Leaders for the Future

Lindsay YALI

MSIer Lindsay North talking to a participant at YALI Expo.

MSI was privileged to participate in the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Expo that took place in Washington, D.C. on July 29, 2014.  MSI staff Brian Calhoon and Lindsay North took part in the three-hour event, talking with an exemplary group of youth from all 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa about their ambitions, as well as MSI’s work in numerous African countries to improve governance, engage youth in the development process, and strengthen civil society.

YALI is an Obama Administration initiative intended to provide young leaders with additional training, connections and grant opportunities to help advance their careers and contribute to economic development across the continent. This year’s Fellows were selected from a pool of nearly 50,000 applicants in the areas of entrepreneurship, activism, and public service.  They represent an impressive array of accomplished youth, including physicians, graduate students, activists, entrepreneurs and public servants.

One Fellow, Hassan Abdi from Djibouti, is using speech recognition algorithms to protect the Somali language and plans to begin the same for the language and culture of Djibouti in the near future. Another Fellow, Saba Kahsay Bisrat of Ethiopia, founded her own construction firm and plans to open up a labor training center to provide vocational education and internship opportunities for Ethiopian youth.

Following the Expo, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom spoke to the Fellows, noting “the boundless commitment and dedication of [the Fellows] to write their future and to make a difference.”

Click here to learn more about MSI’s youth-focused work.

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