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Expanding the Cooperative Agreement Education Program in Ghana

Henrietta H. Fore, Acting Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and Acting USAID Administrator
Chicago State University
Chicago, Illinois
September 18, 2007

Thank you for your kind introduction. It might be helpful for those of you who are not familiar with USAID for me briefly to describe the origins of the Agency I lead and its mission.

The ancestry of USAID goes back to the Marshall Plan and its reconstruction of Europe after World War II. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act into law and formally created USAID by executive order.

Since that time, USAID has been the principal U.S. agency to extend assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms. USAID contributes to U.S. national interests by supporting the people of developing countries in their efforts to achieve sustainable economic and social progress and to participate more fully in solving the problems of their countries and the world. Our ultimate goal is to build freedom, prosperity and stability.

This Administration has made and Congress has supported an enormous commitment to development with official development assistance experiencing a near tripling of funding since 2001. A doubling in Latin America and a quadrupling in Sub-Saharan Africa.

These vastly increased resources have come with new responsibilities--addressing the devastation and pain caused by diseases like HIV/AIDS and taking preventative steps to meet new threats; working in rebuilding both physical and human capacity following conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon and parts of Africa; advancing democracy in the developing world where it does not exist and consolidating it where it does.

Also, these resources remain dedicated to goals that have witnessed appreciable progress over the years: combating hunger; ensuring safe births and helping families raise healthy children; and expanding educational opportunity and literacy.

USAID continues to be the world’s lead agency in responding to natural disasters. In doing so, it carries out a humanitarian mission on the part of the United States Government that reflects the generous instincts of the American people and wins the gratitude of millions.

In carrying out its mission, USAID has working relationships with more that 3,500 American companies. We also work in close partnership with over 300 private voluntary organizations, non-governmental organizations, international agencies, other governments, and other U.S. government agencies. And we are proud of our extensive association with American colleges and universities, such as CSU, where we tap into the resources and know-how of the best and brightest of this country.

In September 2005, CSU was awarded a 3-year Cooperative Agreement under President Bush’s Africa Education Initiative (AEI), a $600-million, multi-year initiative that focuses on increasing access to quality basic education in over 30 sub-Saharan countries through scholarships, teacher training programs, and textbooks. The CSU endeavor has been funded to its authorized ceiling of $3 million and addresses the Textbooks and Learning Materials Component of Africa Education Initiative which is committed to providing 15 million textbooks and learning materials to Africa’s children by 2010.

Over the past 3 years, CSU and the Ministry of Education in Ghana have produced 860,000 mathematics, English, and environmental studies textbooks; and teacher’s guides and associated learning materials for the first two entry-level grades; exceeding the target of 600,000 textbooks and learning materials by over 145%.

I am here today to announce we are awarding $2 million to Chicago State University to supplement our previous $3-million commitment to Ghanean education. This is pursuant to a request by the Ministry of Education in Ghana to begin writing textbooks to expand into additional regions and districts so that all school districts in Ghana ultimately may benefit from this program. The focus will be on the first two entry grade levels: preschool and kindergarten and Grades 1, 2, and 3.

This clearly shows the confidence the Government of Ghana has in the ability of CSU to produce these high-quality, low-priced learning materials for their children. The Ministry has also requested that CSU develop teacher training materials and implement associated capacity building workshops for teachers using these new textbooks and learning materials. This will build upon the successful partnerships that have been developed with host government institutions, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.

It is estimated that an additional 900,000 textbooks will be provided under this follow-on award. In addition, training materials will be developed for over 10,000 additional teachers and associated capacity building will occur.

The $5 million in funding for the CSU program that I have just described is a model for others. What I want to highlight today are the features of effective foreign assistance programming that the CSU initiative illustrates.

First, local ownership of a program is critical if it is to be accepted, sustained, and built upon. Second, it is important to have measurable results and move opportunistically to ramp up “best practices.”

Finally, the CSU contract with USAID illustrates the critical importance of partnerships within donor countries as well as in the field, in host countries, at both national and local levels, and in both the private and the public sector.

My remarks today are emblematic of great changes that have taken place in international development, where extensive public-private partnerships draw upon the respective strengths of an integrated team to help spur innovation and broaden the basis of meaningful change. USAID is no longer a go-alone operation. It operates within what I call a Global Development Commons where the connections between multiple organizations and resources matter now more than ever.

It is my goal, looking ahead, to strengthen these partnerships. But today I want to express my appreciation and congratulations to the CSU team, and its partners in Ghana, including the Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports. We congratulate you on your past work and look forward to many successes to come. We particularly celebrate your new $2-million contribution to expand throughout Ghana.

Released on September 28, 2007

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