CEO of United World Schools (UWS), Tim Howarth, joins Alberto Lidji to shed light on their 200 schools in Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal and to celebrate their 2019 WISE Award for educational innovation
CEO of United World Schools (UWS), Tim Howarth, joins Alberto Lidji to shed light on their 200 schools in Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal and to celebrate their 2019 WISE Award for educational innovation.
UWS is one of 2019’s WISE Award Winners (World Innovation Summit for Education). They were presented a WISE Award for their innovative approach and scalable model; they have had 30,000 schoolchildren through their schools in the past 10 years; they have strong public/private partnerships; and they’re extremely focused on empowering local communities.
UWS started off as a small family charity in the UK and over the past decade has built 200 schools in communities across Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal that previously had no access to education – they embrace a model that is low cost, scalable, replicable and simple; a typical school has approximately 150-200 children and is located in remote areas of their respective countries, where local communities are often ethnic minorities that do not speak the national language. Furthermore, these communities are usually at or below the poverty line. UWS are unequivocal in their stance: local communities need to be empowered, they need to be part of the solution and they need to be involved as new schools are built.
When asked what prompted UWS to enter and operate in Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal, Tim mentioned this was driven by a mix of strategy, fit and opportunity. They initially had connections in Cambodia, which presented a good opportunity to enter that market. Subsequently, as they began to scale up successfully they considered what other countries might be in need of their work and that took them to Mynamar and Nepal. Could Vietnam or other countries be next? Indeed, that may well be the case in the years to come.
Tim and the team at United World Schools have ambitions to grow, reach many more schoolchildren, expand geographically and help achieve Goal 4 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all.
Tim’s key takeaway: Be absolutely focused on delivering your mission – use it as your North Star!
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