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“Children have a right to their education” – Tanzanian communities engage government to provide quality education service delivery

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Firelight is humbled to support our community-based organization (CBO) grantee-partners in strengthening the critical role that they play navigating and influencing the systems around them, especially in engaging with government stakeholders to ensure quality education provision for young children. “Social accountability” refers to actions initiated by communities to hold public officials, politicians, and service providers accountable for their performance in terms of delivering services, improving welfare, and protecting human rights. In our early learning initiative in Tanzania, we supported the [...]

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Long-term, respectful, learning partnerships – how Firelight works with communities to achieve impactful and sustainable change

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In July 2018, Firelight Board Member and longtime donor Molly Efrusy (President, Efrusy Family Foundation) visited our community-based organization (CBO) grantee-partners in Malawi who are working on early childhood development center quality and on girls’ access to secondary education.  We are thrilled to have Molly share reflections from her visit: Through my philanthropic work over the years, I have been concerned about two problems in particular that are rampant in the “aid” or “development” community: one, the significant unintended consequences resulting [...]

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“I am persistent and determined to succeed in life” – celebrating safe, strong children affected by HIV in Lesotho

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Last month, the worldwide community of experts in HIV and AIDS came together for the 22nd International AIDS conference — “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges” — in Amsterdam.  In a press conference about the state of the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, Aleya Khalifa of UNICEF shared: “The world is committed to ending AIDS by 2030.  However, demographic shifts in various regions could threaten this global progress.  In particular, the child population in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase from 500 million [...]

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Communities ending child marriage in Tanzania

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In 2016, the rate of child marriage in the Shinyanga region of Tanzania was 59%.  In other words, for every 100 girls below the age of 18, 59 of them were taken from their families and were married too early, often to much older men.  These vulnerable young girls quickly became more at risk of teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, and sexually transmitted infections.  But we believe that while the reasons behind the practice are deeply entrenched, they can be overcome. Supporting [...]

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Using data to improve early childhood development in Malawi

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Why is Firelight investing in early childhood development? Abundant scientific evidence illustrates the outsized influence of early childhood programs on lifelong development, especially in low- and middle-income countries.  But in sub-Saharan Africa, early childhood development (ECD) remains the least prioritized, least coordinated, and least resourced component of the education sector, with less than 12% of children accessing quality ECD services.  In response to this gap and opportunity, Firelight partnered with the Hilton Foundation and the Bainum Family Foundation to build the [...]

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