Going Beyond Access: Enhancing the Quality of Education in Africa

Improving access must be matched by enhancing the quality of education provided in schools in Africa. Indicators have shown alarmingly high rates of school drop-outs and low student achievements. In addition to this, countless research and evaluations have highlighted that most students leave primary school without mastering the 3 Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic). There is an urgent need to provide solutions to address the problem of quality education while improving access. This imperative is also in line with Goal 4 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Quality education can provide the needed skills to reduce inequalities and improve standards of living. This panel will explore solutions to build sustainable educational systems while considering the financial implications in low-resource countries within Africa. The discussions will also cover how to broaden quality learning opportunities for hard to reach children. Could solutions scale up promising educational interventions be the future for African children? 


Eliane Lakam

Eliane Lakam
Girl's Education Activist / EdM Candidate International Education
Policy Harvard University

Eliane is a girl’s Education Activist and EdM Candidate in International Education Policy at Harvard University. Her previous research experience includes investigating actions that are needed for countries in sub-Saharan Africa to meet the challenge of improving learning while expanding access and completion of basic education for all. She has served as a student consultant to the Minister of Education of Cote d’Ivoire through the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program (HMLP). In this capacity, Eliane worked with a team of four to research what contributes to learning outcomes in the context of Côte d’Ivoire and provided recommendations to support the minister’s legacy goals. Prior to graduate school,


Lydie Hakizimana

Lydie Hakizimana
CEO, Happy Hearts Preschools

Lydie Hakizimana has 13 years of experience in various fields of education and publishing. Prior to this, Lydie worked for OTF Group, a Boston based consultancy firm founded by Michael Porter among others. At OTF, Lydie advised the governments of Rwanda and Gabon in the ICT, the Hides and Skin and Timber industries.

Currently, Lydie is the Founder and CEO of Happy Hearts, a chain of preschools that are providing quality education to hundreds of children between the ages of 18 months and five years in Rwanda. She is also the co-founder of Drakkar Ltd, a publishing house that serves more than 3,000 schools in Rwanda.

Lydie sits on the board of the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). In January 2018, she was appointed as a board member of the African Leadership University in Rwanda (ALU). In February 2019, ALU was named among the most innovative companies in the world (#1 in Africa!) by the influential magazine Fast Company.

Lydie Hakizimana was awarded the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellowship in 2013 and is also a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow.

Lydie is a certified Montessori teacher from the North American Montessori Center (NAMC), and a 2019 MC/MPA Candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Misan Rewane
Co-founder & CEO
West African Vocational Education (WAVE

Misan Rewane is co-founder and CEO of WAVE. Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Misan is no stranger to the challenges of education and social mobility. When her parents, unable to ignore the education system’s breakdown, were compelled to send her to the U.S. for university education, she resolved to help transform the region’s education system. After graduating from Stanford University, she worked with The Monitor Group, TechnoServe, and the Centre for Public Policy Alternatives. As an MBA candidate at Harvard Business School, she partnered with fellow West Africans who were passionate about tackling youth unemployment and launched WAVE in 2013. WAVE tackles youth unemployment by identifying motivated but underserved West African youth, training them on crucial employability skills, and connecting them to entry-level job opportunities. Since 2018, WAVE has been part of a ‘Ready For Work’ Movement focused on levelling the playing field for young Africans by growing the supply of educators developing 21st-century competencies in young people and the demand for these competencies among employers. By turning motivated young talent into reliable human capital, the ‘Ready For Work’ movement inspires positive change in educator and employer attitudes, creating a more effective and more inclusive education-to-employment system.

Rehmah Kasule
President and Founder
Century Entrepreneurship Development Agency-CEDA International

Rehmah is a prolific entrepreneur, civil society champion, and social innovator. As the Founder of CEDA International, her visionary leadership has inspired, mentored and helped train over 38,000 young people especially women re-frame their thinking and lead change in their communities. Her work was recognized by President Barack Obama in 2010 and she was named one of the Most Influential African Women in government and civil society in 2016 by CEO Global. She has also won several awards including the Goldman Sachs and Fortune Global Women Leaders Award in 2014 and the Islamic Development Bank’s Women in Peace & Development Prize in 2018. 

Rehmah has delivered expert consultancy on strategic planning, education reform, gender empowerment, trade and export promotions, policy analysis and management and private sector development for the United Nations, the African Development Bank and the International Trade Center. A graduate of Peace, Conflict and International Development from the United Kingdom, Rehmah is also an Aspen Leadership Fellow, a KAICIID Fellow, and a Senior Synergos fellow. She is a Global Ambassador for Let Girls Learn and the author of the book “From Gomba to the White House.” 

Rehmah strongly believes that education breaks inter-generational poverty. At Harvard University, she is a fellow of the Advanced Leadership Initiative focusing on creating pathways for the education of girls and youth employment through innovation and technology.