Vision 2024: For Every Child
Since 2004, Wellspring has been on the forefront of quality educational change in East Africa, working to see transition and transformation in the education sector, with a particular focus on Rwanda. Our intention has been to go deep rather than wide and to create models that enhance systemic change at both the grassroots and national levels.
This principle has been widely recognized as the world has understood the need for transformed educational practices, alongside the need for universal education. For example, United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Four is focused on quality education1sustainabledevelopment.un.org. The World Bank’s Human Capital Index has also now recognized education as a prime driver of a country’s development potential2worldbank.org/en/publication/human-capital. As such, Wellspring has been proactive in developing innovative models that address the issues on the front line.
Both in the classroom and at the highest levels, Wellspring has sought to develop transferable programs that model and share what good quality education can look like in a majority world context. Working throughout the whole educational ecosystem, Wellspring has empowered parents, teachers, school and community leaders, government officials, and many other stakeholders, providing training and resources that have allowed hundreds of thousands of children to have access to a far higher quality of education that provides the support they need to thrive.
Now, in a time of global change and instability, it is more important than ever to focus on a child’s education and to equip them for the future. As well as ensuring that our programs allow children to have access to an education that will give them the capabilities to be economically and sustainably self-sufficient as adults, we know that education is fundamental to ensuring that societies remain peaceful and productive. As such, it is key that our programs are inclusive, gender equitable, and ensure that all participants treat children with the same dignity, justice, and worth that Jesus shows us all.
These principles have been our guide as we have developed our strategic plan, Vision 2024: For Every Child. We have ensured that the child is at the center of all that we do, and that our work enables each child to reach their full potential. Now as we move into the next four years, it is our intention for our work to widen and spread so that 2 million children will be impacted by our programs at both a grassroots and systemic level. This plan has been built to achieve that goal in a way that is incremental and sustainable in the long term.
Why Does Wellspring Exist?
We are passionate about seeking justice, worth, and dignity for all those we engage with, as we show the love of Christ by empowering new generations of leaders in Central and Eastern Africa and beyond. We believe we are well placed to be a catalyst for transforming education for hundreds of thousands of African children and fostering vibrant communities that address poverty in all its forms.
This leads to our vision and mission statements.
Vision: To be a catalyst for transforming education in Africa and to foster vibrant communities that address poverty in all its forms.
Mission: We will seek justice, worth, and dignity for all those we engage with, as we show the love of Christ by empowering new generations through the development of quality education
Core Values & Guiding Principles
Our desire is to establish high quality Christian values-based education that will produce creative, principled, and capable leaders. We strive towards this end by empowering educators, developing schools, and enriching lives. We are motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, who alone has the power to change people’s hearts. This faith is the foundation for our Core Values:
- Transformation: We strive to invest in positive change in people’s relationship with God, themselves, society, and their environment.
- Empowerment: We strive to empower people as they work together to create local solutions, and challenge them to empower others as they do so.
- Stewardship: We strive to treat all resources entrusted to us with the highest level of care and accountability.
- Partnership: We strive to build effective and fruitful partnerships with like-minded individuals and organizations.
- Excellence: We strive to empower and equip people to serve to the best of their ability and to develop high quality innovative models of practice that can be shared with others.
Over the next 4 years, we want to emphasize the following guiding principles in terms of who we are and who we hope to be, in order to implement our strategic plan:
- An organization of integrity: We will be true to who we are in every location in which Wellspring operates.
- An organization of humility: We will recognize that we cannot change anyone’s mind or heart, but we trust in the only One who can.
- An organization of learning: We will continually evaluate and learn new methodologies and ways to operate in order to be the best servants in our field that we can be.
- An organization of sharing: We will be openhearted, open-handed, and abundant in our own thinking.
- An organization of caring: We will strive to create a place where people are deeply and individually cared for as we serve together.
- An organization of depth: We will be more concerned about substantial change than substantial scope.
Our Core Approach
It Starts With Leadership
From our years of experience, we know that real and long-lasting change within schools and the wider school communities begins with positive values-based and professional change in leaders. All of our programs will prioritize working with those in positions of leadership within the educational ecosystem in order to promote long-term sustainable transformation.
Asset-Based Community Development
Wellspring believes that the deepest and most sustainable change within communities stems from empowering citizens to work together, creating local solutions as each person brings their own assets and strengths to the table. The asset-based community development approach will therefore remain at the core of our interventions.
Justice, Worth, and Dignity for All
We desire to reach the most vulnerable children by working together to address barriers to quality education that put many children at a disadvantage—whether as a result of gender inequality, economic poverty, special educational needs, physical disability, language, or other barriers. Our programs and interventions will therefore prioritize inclusion as we seek to bring a sense of justice, worth, and dignity to all those we engage with.
Safeguarding Those We Work With
We commit to safeguarding the children that we interact with and putting their rights, safety, and dignity at the heart of all of our decisions.
Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning, and Accountability
We will continue to grow our capacity in monitoring, evaluation, learning, and accountability (MELA) so that we can adapt our interventions appropriately, inform our future programming, and share our learning with peers in the sector.
From Grassroots to Policy
Wellspring believes that wider change is achievable when we learn from the evidence and realities we see in local schools and communities. We will therefore continue to be proactive in making the connection from our grassroots work to policy development and implementation in ways that will catalyze long-term systemic change.
We desire to serve with excellence and relevance, and to respond to the real, evolving needs and contexts in which we work. We will be innovative and flexible in our approach as we work with our partners to focus on these strategic priorities.
Our Core Approach
Over the next four years, we will seek to be a catalyst for transforming education for every child, by investing in the following strategic objectives:
For Every Child
We will widen and spread our work so that by 2024, 2 million children will be impacted by our programs as we work at both the grassroots and systemic levels.
Deepening Our School Development Program
We will expand the scope of our program and deepen our partnership to improve the quality of primary and pre-primary education for all girls and boys in Rubavu District through an extension of our School Development Program (SDP).
To achieve this, Wellspring will work towards:
- Improved understanding, knowledge, and skills among teachers and leaders for effective teaching of the competence-based curriculum both in primary and pre-primary schools.
- Deeper engagement of parents and expansion of their contribution to building vibrant school communities.
- Reduced levels of school dropout, particularly among vulnerable children.
- Greater awareness among teachers, leaders, and parents of the specific challenges faced by girls in accessing a quality education in a safe environment.
- Greater awareness among teachers, leaders, and parents of the barriers faced by children with disabilities and special educational needs.
Leading Learning for All
Building on the success of our Gasabo School Development Program, we will invest in educational leadership for a more sustainable, inclusive, and empowering learning environment for girls and boys in Gasabo District through our dynamic new program,
Leading Learning for All (LLFA)
To achieve this, Wellspring will work towards:
- Strengthened local coordination and greater ownership of effective teacher professional development, so that every child has the opportunity to learn well.
- More effective partnerships between parents and schools to develop more enabling and inclusive learning environments for children in schools and at home.
- Piloting innovative methodologies and resources for the educational ecosystem that can be scaled on a national basis.
- Better implementation of education policies and priorities that improve the quality of education in Gasabo primary schools.
- More effective evidence-based contributions to national education programming and policy development.
Nurturing Quality Christian Education
We will continue to help nurture a supportive environment for the community of Christian Schools in Rwanda to grow together professionally, as they seek to provide Christian values-based quality education through their schools.
We will continue to provide first class technical support to the Wellspring Academy in order to help the Academy to maintain its position as a leading Christian school in Rwanda.
Change for Good
We will develop high quality shareable tools and models in order to promote systemic change in the education sector.
As part of our desire to be a catalyst for systemic change, we will share our grassroots insights and experiences, alongside evidence from our programs, as we engage in advocacy in relation to Sustainable Development Goal Four for inclusive and equitable quality education. This will happen in the following ways:
- Staying current with and informing relevant stakeholders of the latest developments in our field.
- Ensuring that we are represented at relevant regional and national forums, and that we maintain our membership and voice in groups and associations that speak into the areas of international development and education.
- Identifying key issues we want to proactively advocate for in education, such as inclusive education, gender equity, and learner-centric outcomes.
- Identifying key issues in international development within the national contexts we operate in and ensuring that we use our voice wisely to advocate for those in all forms of poverty.
Moving Beyond Borders
For many years, Wellspring has focused on going deep in our programs within the country of Rwanda. The benefits have been many as we have seen dramatic results in the areas we work in. In turn, these key results have had influence on both grassroots practice and the national education system. This has been due to our deep engagement with both governmental and non-governmental partners.
In that time, we have also left our footprint throughout East and Central Africa, providing resources and training to many organizations in other countries.
At this point in our development, we believe it is time to respond to the various requests we have received and to contextualise and widen our activities, particularly our School Development Program, to other countries in the region. Currently, we are actively exploring partnerships with like-minded organizations of high capacity and plan to have operations underway in 2021.
Serving Our Partners and Supporters
Wellspring exists because of the generosity of our partners and supporters who continue to make our work possible. As such we will commit to the following:
- Excellence in our interactions with all stakeholders, ensuring that our communications are tailored to their individual needs.
- Professionalism in our reporting standards, ensuring that the results of our MELA [Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning, and Accountability] efforts are transparent, easily available, and integrated into our reporting.
- Transparency in our finances, ensuring that our audited accounts are available to all and that designated funds from grants and other sources are tracked and monitored effectively.
- Creating and curating resources that will allow our partners to utilize some of our development practices in their own local contexts.
- Organizing at least one Vision Trip per year to see our work in the field, ensuring well-structured preparation and follow-up to equip participants and keep them engaged.
Serving Our Team
Our staff team is our greatest and most treasured resource. As such, we will ensure that we care for and develop our team in order that they can attain the highest standards, both professionally and personally. This will include:
- The provision of adequate compensation and benefits.
- Access to all the resources they need to to fulfill their responsibilities well.
- Personal training and development plans to allow them to grow and develop in their areas
- Opportunities for advancement and growth within the organization.
- Ensuring they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Everything we aim to achieve in Vision 2024: For Every Child builds on our nearly two decades of experience in the field of quality education in Rwanda and incorporates the many lessons we have learned along the way. It is built on a platform of partnership and collaboration with numerous participants across the sector and incorporates the latest developments in thinking around the provision of quality values-based inclusive education. As such, we believe that the strategic plan and priorities we have laid out are both achievable and essential to the future of not only Wellspring and the sector as a whole, but also to our aim of seeking justice, worth, and dignity for all those we engage with.
We are thankful to the many people who have stood with us and to the goodness of God and His faithfulness since the birth of Wellspring in 2004. We enter these next four years with a belief that every child our work impacts should have the opportunity to fulfil their God-given potential, and with excitement and anticipation at what we can all achieve together.