School is more than just a building.

Our Thriving Schools Program is a community-centered initiative led by Building Tomorrow Fellows and teams of Community Education Volunteers aimed at providing primary-age students with access to a thriving school that provides an inclusive, transformative education. A thriving school is one which is supported by the community, effectively managed by school leadership, accessible by all children, and committed to producing positive student outcomes.

The Program Our Impact

An education crisis has silently emerged in Uganda.

More than 700,000 primary school-age children remain out-of-school throughout the country, and across sub-Saharan Africa, that number jumps to 30.1 million1. In Uganda, only 35% of children who enroll will complete a full cycle of primary school2. Still others will make it through primary school, but without learning the basics - 61% of Ugandan students in 3rd-7th grade couldn’t read a simple story and 48% couldn’t perform basic math operations3.

The Thriving Schools Program

A group of Fellows is excited to ride the bus to a Building Tomorrow Primary School

1. Through the Building Tomorrow Fellowship, we recruit and train young Ugandan university graduates who each serve in four rural schools for a two-year term, aiming to transform schools and communities.

A CEV laughs with two students she helped enroll back in school

2. Fellows train local leaders as Community Education Volunteers (CEVs) and work with them to enroll out-of-school children and galvanize community support for the school.

Community members hold specially designed yellow jerry cans in front of the water tank at their school

3. Fellows equip school leadership with training and partner with them in creating School Development Plans to outline priorities for improvement.

A student sounds out letters written on a chalkboard

4. CEVs and teachers jointly lead efforts to improve student outcomes through Roots to Rise, a foundational learning initiative which involves grouping students according to their learning level and teaching basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Students in an Agriculture Club proudly pose with their growing plants

5. Fellows work with CEVs to carry out extracurricular activities that promote students’ understanding of vocational, agricultural, and life skills.

A Fellow teaches a group of community members how to use a laptop as they huddle around the screen

5. Each Fellow hones their leadership skills through the development of a social enterprise leveraging their passions and interests while meeting the unique needs of the community.

Our Impact

The Thriving Schools Program has experienced significant success and subsequent growth since its inception in 2015 (then simply named the Fellows Program).

150

Fellows deployed

600

Schools supported

1,813

Community Education Volunteers engaged

27,744

Formerly out-of-school children re-enrolled

*All numbers aggregated since the start of the program in 2015

Becoming a Building Tomorrow Fellow

Our Fellows are integral to developing schools that thrive long past Building Tomorrow’s involvement. Fellows are selected from the top university graduates nationwide and for two years, they serve four rural schools, embedding themselves in the community. Fellows work includes:

  • Ensuring school leadership have the tools and training needed to manage a Thriving School.
  • Working alongside teachers and school leadership to improve student outcomes through Building Tomorrow’s Roots to Rise initiative. Enrolling out-of-school children to ensure every child has the opportunity to receive a primary education.
  • Empowering the local community via recruitment of Community Education Volunteers to support the development of the school and its students.

The application and selection process for the Building Tomorrow Fellowship begins every year in October. Please check back in October 2019 for the next opportunity to become a Fellow.

A student sitting on a Fellow's lap

Latest Stories from the Field

Jonas reads to his sister after completing his Roots to Rise camp

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and over at Building Tomorrow Primary School of Kamukanga, 10-year-old Jonas just received The Best Gift. Ever.—the gift of literacy!

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Albert smiles for the camera

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Because we’re playing our part, 10-year-old Albert can now play his! A participant of our Teaching at the Right Level reading camp at his school, Albert just went from being unable to read stories to performing them—all in a matter of weeks.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and while Santa is in his workshop making presents, we’re over in Uganda helping children realize the gifts they never knew they had.

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Partner With Us

The belief that we achieve more together than we could alone is at the heart of our work. From our beginnings as a network of chapters at U.S. universities to our current 5 year, $12 million Educate 51K initiative with Educate A Child, we have a history of partnering to grow our impact. If our efforts align with your focus areas, let’s build together.

View Partnerships Overview Contact Us

Sources describing the education crisis in Uganda.

1 UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the Education for All Global Monitoring Report, 2015

2 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014

3 Uwezo Uganda Sixth Learning Assessment Report, 2016