It’s hard to believe that I’ve been with Dignitas almost two years!  One of the joys of the last two years has been seeing the Dignitas community grow.    We’ve met friends, partners and advisors from across the sector, many of whom have helped to make our work possible, all of whom play an important part in helping us to achieve our vision of ensuring schools are vibrant places for all children to thrive and succeed.

First off, we’ve seen our community of impact grow.  Our school partners grew from 21 early 2018 to 130 in early 2019, impacting nearly 53,000 children in marginalized communities since we began!  It has been so important to us to make sure we are not just growing in number, but that as we grow, it is genuine quality and impact that we are delivering to our school partners, and most importantly, to their learners.  Growth in numbers is meaningless without ensuring impact.

Key to ensuring impact has been growing our Dignitas Alumni Association where School Leaders can continue to learn, share and grow beyond the length of their school partnership with DignitasAlumni members continue to benefit from learning events, training days and study visits to other schools.  One of the highlights of 2019 has been seeing a few select Alumni members become Peer Facilitators.  As Peer Facilitators they have supported the training and coaching of new cohorts of School Leaders, and continued to sharpen their own skills, techniques and knowledge.  In 2019, we intend to identify and promote model schools within each community cluster.  These will be exemplary schools that will partner with other alumni members to drive continuing improvement across the community.

Secondly, we have grown a community of donors, thought-partners and technical advisors who help to ensure the quality of our work.

One key partnership, birthed mid-2017, has played a critical role in helping us to learn from other education actors around the globe, bring global knowledge to local impact.  Partnership with Global School Leaders has been a wonderful way to learn and grow.  They have offered significant technical support, for our co-created project, Ustadi School Leadership Institute, and I am pleased to say that we will be doing more work together in 2020.

The launch of Ustadi also allowed us to invite key stakeholders from across the sector to join us in designing and implementing the project.  We were honored to be joined by key thinkers in education from public sector, private sector and civil society, and we are deeply grateful for their meaningful contributions.

Dignitas also became a member of Global Schools Forum, a thriving global network that supports its members to deliver quality education and facilitate a more supportive policy and funding environment for the non-state sector to transform student outcomes.   This has given us the opportunity to learn from members across Africa, and the globe.  The highlight of this was definitely the 2019 Annual Meeting, which was held in Nairobi, and afforded us an important opportunity to reflect on our work.

Thirdly, we have a growing number of people generously supporting our work.  We launched our ‘Adopt a School’ initiative late 2018, as an opportunity for individual donors, or businesses, to invest in driving impact through a dedicated school partnership.  We are pleased to celebrate a growing community of ‘Adopters’ who are supporting impact for thousands of children.

We also successfully participated in the Global Giving Accelerator in September 2019, which saw us launch one of our first ever community crowd funding campaigns.  We were blessed by the generosity and partnership of more than 40 donors who helped us reach our target of $5000 and secure a permanent spot on the Global Giving platform.

All in all, we couldn’t do our work without friends like you!  Thank you for being part of the Dignitas family, and helping us make sure that thousands of children get an excellent education!  We look forward to sharing more work together in 2020!

Contributor: Deborah Kimathi – Executive Director