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I am sending this information attached as feedback after having read the annual competition in your paper, so that others may benefit in future.

In March, at Big Bend in Swaziland, Nkilongo LearnTplay Preschool won a competition for promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in Education and confronting youth unemployment in Africa.
UK-based charity Teach A Man To Fish announced that Nkilongo LearnTplay Preschool was the country’s winner of the 2013 Saville Foundation Pan-African Awards for Entrepreneurship in Education. The competition has awarded organisations from 40 different countries with a total of US$57 000 (E609 216) in prizes.

The competition was established to reward organisations in Africa that are taking an innovative, entrepreneurial and sustainable approach to education. Over 380 different organisations from across the continent, from Sudan to South Africa, Nigeria to Namibia and Burkina Faso to Burundi, took part in the competition.

“All the evidence shows that programme which are innovative, sustainable … are the most effective way to address educational challenges. This competition draws international attention to organisations’ achievements so others can learn from their success and imitate their approach,” commented Nik Kafka, Director of Teach a Man To Fish.

Nkilongo LearnTplay Preschool will be awarded US$1 000 (E10 688) as the winning organisation in Swaziland. Nkilongo LearnTplay Preschool  is a developing edu-business specialising in childhood care and early education through play. We provide a wide range of play-learn activities which children do on their own and a few in groups. In all cultures, children learn through the games they play, the songs they sing and through this get to understand the world they live in.

Language development and other communication skills come about as they play. To children, play is work which prepares them for school. The whole child is important and has to develop physically, socially, emotionally, mentally and spiritually while learning through play.

They are encouraged to speak English and we have had cases where children who could not speak it have made it when encouraged to do so. We put them through our preschool activities and speaking English brought the best out of them. They are now stars at primary school. We also take them for educational tours to game parks, museums, airports etc, and it enriches their memories, thereby improving their ability to recall things.

There are open days and parents can observe the children as they are very important in reflecting the development of the child.
Children are assessed continually and an end-of-term progress report is issued. If a child has an infectious disease, then he or she stays at home while receiving treatment so as to avoid it from spreading. Those ready for Grade One graduate, receiving a certificate at the end of the year.

Research has shown that Bilingual children are achievers. Those who acquired fluency in two languages in the pre-school years do better in primary school, in all subjects. We are so honoured and grateful to the Saville Foundation Pan-African Awards for Entrepreneurship in Education for recognising our efforts in educating and caring for the children in our centre.

Nkilongo LearnTplay Preschool is leading the way in entrepreneurship in education in Swaziland with their innovative and sustainable approach that impacts the people in their community.

The competition:
This competition was open to organisations working in Africa at all levels of education, from primary to non-formal education.

Entrants took part in the competition by submitting a 1 000-word application form online.
Applications were judged by a panel of international business and development experts on the merit of entrepreneurship, sustainability, and impact. The competition is run by Teach A Man To Fish, an international education charity based in the UK, and sponsored by The Saville Foundation, an African-based foundation supporting education work across the continent.

A full list of country winners and information about all winners can be found at www.teachamantofish.org.uk/pan-african-awards 
About the competition organisers:

Teach a Man to Fish is an international non-profit organisation that promotes entrepreneurial schools in developing countries. The organisation’s goal is to make a long-term impact on global poverty by supporting education projects that give young people the skills to care for themselves. In order to do this, it uses the financially self-sufficient school model to teach entrepreneurship and livelihood skills. This model allows schools to generate additional income, which improves their financial sustainability and teaches them work skills that they can utilise in the future. In addition, the model encourages schools to offer a more relevant and higher quality education that provides students with the capabilities to successfully manage their own businesses. For more information visit www.teachamantofish.org.uk.
The Saville Foundation is a private foundation that enables significant and relevant social change. It seeks and engages with projects or institutions that provide innovative and appropriate alternatives to current challenges in education, entrepreneurship and community development.
The foundation also promotes awareness and action with donors, corporations and governments to engage and invest with more understanding, to assess each intervention, to ensure project resilience and ultimately to replicate successful solutions. For more information visit http://www.tsf.bm/.

Azaria Simelane, Nkilongo LearnTplay Project Coordinator.

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