Frequently Asked Questions
What is Classrooms for Africa?
Classrooms for Africa is a realistic, positive approach to the ongoing socio-economic problems that plague sub-Saharan Africa. We believe that by focusing on the education of future generations we can make a significant difference not only in the lives of individuals, but also in the community. Many organizations working in Africa and other developing areas make the same claim; what makes Classrooms for Africa different is the way in which we approach the task, the accountability instilled in the process, and the outcomes achieved. We have a solid governance model with extremely low administrative costs - approximately 95% of funds donated to Classrooms for Africa are actually used directly for building projects. Working in part with local partners, we have developed a system that ensures funds are tracked and building progress is monitored. The net result is a program that is highly effective in maximizing the use of donated funds.
The cost of delivering a single, highly functional, life-changing classroom for 30+ African children is on average $8,000. Classrooms for Africa is able to deliver tremendous value for every dollar received, providing thousands of children with access to adequate classroom space. The result, when this is combined with the teacher training that is part of every Classrooms for Africa project, is that the next generation has the opportunity for a radically better life.
What is our vision?
Our vision is that over the next ten years over 15,000 children will receive a quality values-based education in adequate facilities as a result of the program. This can be accomplished through the construction of three hundred new classrooms and the training of the teachers who will be working in these classrooms. Assuming an average cost of $8,000 per classroom, our budget forecast is $2.4 million. Location and cost of building materials effect costs; classrooms can cost $8,000 to $11,000.
What is the connection with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)?
In North America our connection is primarily with ACSI Western Canada, although we do have links with other schools outside of the region and the association. Many Christian schools have included Classrooms for Africa in their annual outreach programs, and at the three teacher conferences held in the region each year, the offering received goes toward Classrooms for Africa. We work closely in partnership with ACSI in South Africa and through their Africa office into other countries on the continent. This is a vital relationship when it comes to evaluating and monitoring projects and in providing teacher training.
What countries does Classrooms for Africa currently operate in?
When Classrooms for Africa was started, we recognized that the need for adequate education facilities was prevalent throughout Africa, but we needed to start somewhere. We selected the area stretching from Sudan down to South Africa as our initial focus because it is an area we know well, it is an area of great need, and it is an area where we have a network of partners we can work with. The fact that English is the primary "unifying" language throughout the area is an added advantage and is beneficial for training teachers. We currently operate in eight countries: South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Lesotho. As resources and funds expand, we hope to add other areas of Africa to the program.
How does a school/organization receive a Classrooms for Africa grant?
To qualify for a grant, schools/organizations must submit a completed application form and must meet the criteria outlined on this website including: have a clear vision for Christian education in their community; have a proven record of being able to financially operate a school; be set up as a not-for-profit group; have a secure lease or own the land on which the school is situated; be able to contribute to the project either financially or by giving time and labour; and be able to provide references. Classrooms for Africa reviews and processes applications and evaluates them for approval. When funds are available, approved applicants must enter into a contract with Classrooms for Africa and agree to certain conditions. A project timeline is required and arrangements made to monitor progress.
How are projects monitored?
Every contract has accountability built into it. Funds are released in instalments based on the approved budget. Building progress and expenditures are tracked and verified before each instalment is released. In most cases a Classrooms for Africa staff member or representative visits the project during the building process. The project supervisor is required to provide electronic updates of the progress.
What happens when the project is completed?
Upon completion of the project, a full report, including photographs, is required for final approval and sign off. Classrooms for Africa arranges to have a plaque prepared for mounting on the building. If possible, Classrooms for Africa or a representative is present at the official opening of the facility. Photographs of the plaque, building and opening are sent to donors.
What about donors?
The entire Classrooms for Africa initiative is donor driven. Donors or groups who give over $5,000 to one project are inscribed on the plaque installed on the building at the conclusion of the project.
Any donation over $20 is tax-deductible, and all donations towards a specific project will receive status updates.