Thomas Williams

Education and English

We are working with Education Development Trust (EDT) and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Education (MINEDUC), funded through the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO). This national programme – Building Learning Foundations – runs from September 2017 until September 2023 and aims to improve learning outcomes in Maths and English in the lower primary grades in all public and government aided primary schools across the country. Endline evaluation is currently underway, with positive indications of progress reported at midline.

Since 2019 the British Council has partnered with Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa on FCDO funded

projects to strengthen foundational maths and literacy skills in Hausa and English of primary grade pupils in Kano State, Nigeria. Kano Literacy and Maths Accelerator (KaLMA) (2019–21) was instrumental in increasing learning time for affected children, especially girls.

In Zambia we are managing an FCDO accountable grant to support the Directorate of Secondary Education (DSE) to advance girls’ education. The focus of the programme is on improving learning outcomes for girls in secondary school. 

Our Leading Learning for Gender Equality (LL4GE) project in Zimbabwe focused on empowering school leaders to be agents of change in securing gender equality in their schools. In 12 districts, this innovative programme trained 1,800 leaders and teachers on instructional leadership in schools with limited resources. The University of Nottingham’s evaluation of the pilot programme in 3 provinces found improved awareness and responsiveness of school leaders and teachers to girls’ education needs, as well as clear gains in reported changes in school-based practice. Work at policy level ensured the procedures to support, for example, the re-entry of pregnant schoolgirls back into school, are clear and implementable by all.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training

Our EU funded Zantchito skills for jobs project in Malawi aims to increase employability and self-employment opportunities available to young Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) graduates and entrepreneurs, with special attention to women's needs. The Technical Assistance (TA)  component is helping build a 21st century TVET system that works with productive sectors and industries to boost the provision of skills that employers require, enhances youth employability and supports economic growth. 

Civil Society

The FCDO funded Civil Society Support Programme II in Ethiopia (£24m, 2018-2023) provided targeted and needs-based capacity building support to CSOs on gender and inclusion, safeguarding and integrating a human rights-based approach to gender. The programme also provided specialist technical capacity development support on the thematic issues including gender transformation, young people, and better citizen state engagement.

Through our Managing Conflict in Nigeria (EU €21m 2017-2023) we mainstreamed gender and social inclusion recognising that gender inequality and social exclusion are underlying drivers of violence.  British Council team of local and international experts worked with civil society platforms to influence Federal and State level legislation including the ‘Violence Against Persons Act’ in Nigeria. One key success in influencing of government policy was the inclusion of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs). The SARCs have reached over 32,000 people in total and leading to an increase in prosecutions of SGBV cases.