Transformation Through Education
Twenty-five years of war in northern Uganda and sixty years in South Sudan have torn apart the social fabric of generations. Communities now in war or postwar are often missing a healthy church, educational system, and economic structure. Favor’s model of community development has been informed by almost 20 years of work and recognizes the church and the Word of God as the center of sustainable, ongoing community development.
We strongly believe that every child should have the opportunity to survive and thrive in education. The children in these nations face tremendous barriers that not only include extreme poverty, but the existing schools have 100 students to 1 teacher ratio, limited resources, and lack safe water and transportation.
In addition, early marriage is prevalent resulting in females having less access to education. The lack of access to safe water in schools increases the potential for disease, some children must choose fetching water over education, all of these factors derail children’s education and are demoralizing.
Background - Addressing the Educational Needs
To address the need, Favor International opened a primary school in 2008 that serves over 400 students. We maintain a 30:1 student to teacher ratio. Along with their studies, the students are also instructed in the Bible and in Christian living. Our school has been recognized for students’ outstanding academic achievement by the Educational District. Although we take great pride in what has been accomplished, it is only a dent and we are continually striving to expand our educational program.
Uganda has the world’s youngest population (78% below the age of 30) and also has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment. The median age of the population in Uganda is 15.8 years old. Our approach is to increase access to quality education by expanding and building new facilities including secondary schools. We also partner with the community organizations and parents to galvanize better educational opportunities.
But, our efforts are not focused on the youth only. We have literacy programs attached to our Portable Bible Schools for adults. Many are motivated to read the Bible, which is now used as one of our main text to teach reading skills. Because literacy becomes a key factor in alleviating poverty, it has become such a natural focus as we continue to share the Gospel.
Applying God's Word Holistically
Education and discipleship plays an important role in the community development process. As mentioned on the Community Development page, our process is a dedicated, extensive role into the community in hopes that the village or city will begin to stand on their own in the coming years. Once relationship is established, outreaches have witnessed to the new community, and PBS (Portable Bible School) teams begin their program, education and discipleship quickly become an essential part of how we see God transform generations. Our vision is carried onward as adults are being educated and are able to pass on the value of education for their children.
Three Formal Educational Programs
As a result, we are able to move the community forward by creating youth programs that focus on the children that are structured around the bible, education, and health, to then eventually resource to them a primary school. Favour Primary School has really begun to uproot long-standing poverty and suffering. The youth are given a different option besides the street gangs, especially for students of GIFT (God's Institute For Transformation) in Gulu. Parents are given a new perspective on the useful tool of education for parenting. And the community as a whole is given the Hope of Jesus and the privilege of seeing him revive their village and people toward more sustainability. And, as mentioned before, we want to invest into the older generations as well, therefore we have created the Leadership Training Institute to build up the education of national leaders across Uganda and South Sudan.
We have seen tremendous transformation and growth in our Favour Primary School, GIFT, and Leadership Training Institute (LTI) programs. These are specialized and managed closely to ensure the greatest outcome for Uganda and South Sudan. In addition to these formal classroom settings, we also recognize our Bible distribution and radio ministries for their role in our education and discipleship initiatives. Each brings in its fair share of transformation in the various contexts. The radio ministry gives a variety of programming, which include teaching, news, testimonies... and music, of course.