Despite primary school enrolment in sub-Saharan Africa rising from 57% in 2000 to 79% in 2013, as of 2017 the UN Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal access to education has not been met, with approximately 30 million children in sub Saharan Africa out of school. Despite the progress which has been made, widespread illiteracy remains a serious impediment to economic development in many African countries.

Graph: World map of countries by literacy rate for all people aged 15 and over, demonstrating how Africa lags behind the rest of the world. Source: UNESCO

There are numerous barriers to education in Africa: language barriers, as children in linguistically diverse Africa are taught in languages they do not speak natively which leads to poorer learning outcomes; a lack of proper facilities and teachers, which is an especially pronounced problem in rural areas; emigration, which leads to a loss of educated individuals and a subsequent cost to train people to replace them; and finally, increases in military spending which pulls funding away from education budgets.

At Bread and Water for Africa UK, we help to deliver an education for some of Africa’s most vulnerable children by supporting our partners at the Lewa Children’s Home in Kenya, the Murakaza School project in Burundi, the We Are the Future centre in Sierra Leone, and the Imizi Children’s Centre in Rwanda.