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Terms of Reference:

Burundi Education Foundation (BEF) is a new charity passionate about helping rural children in Burundi to get access to quality education and to improve their chance of a better life.

We are looking for dedicated people to join our Board of Trustees who share our values and the firm belief that quality education is a fundamental right of all children anywhere in the world and worth investing in.

At this time we are particularly interested in recruiting a Chair of Trustees who has the skills and experience to play a pivotal role in shaping the organisation at its current key early stage.

As well as a Chair of Trustees, we seek a number of Trustees with a background in one or more of the following areas:

  • Fundraising
  • Finance
  • Marketing and Communication
  • Management – if possible in international development or social enterprises
  • Education – in an international development context

 

Overall Objective

The Board of Trustees will be responsible for the overall governance and strategic direction of Burundi Education Foundation, developing the charity’s aims and objectives in accordance with the governing document and regulatory guidelines.

 

Expectations of Trustees

The Board meets four times per year (dates set over a year in advance) and Trustees are also asked to assist with relevant matters between meetings as needed and agreed. Because BEF is very new and small the Board would play an active role and we would welcome Trustees’ support in specific areas, e.g. finance; fundraising; and project development through working groups or committees.

 

Location

Burundi Education Foundation is affiliated with Writhlington School in Radstock, Bath/North Somerset

 

Salary: this is an unpaid position.

 

General Responsibilities

  • To take part in formulating vision, mission and values of the organization
  • To take part in formulating and regularly reviewing the strategic aims of BEF, assisting with regular input into the operation of the charity
  • To ensure that BEF functions within its legal constitution and the legal and financial requirements of the Charities Commission
  • To ensure that income of BEF is spent solely spent for the purposes as laid out in its objectives and strategy
  • To ensure that BEF is accountable to all relevant stakeholders, including donors, volunteers, staff and beneficiaries
  • To ensure that the governance is based on and demonstrates the values of the organization and is an example of good practice
  • To act in the best interest of BEF at all times

 

The Role of Chair

  • To prepare the agenda for the Board meetings together with the organisation’s staff or management
  • To ensure meetings are run smoothly and everyone has a change to take equal part in discussion
  • To ensure important matters are discussed and addressed and the Board is functioning well
  • To be the public face of the organization and represent it at external meetings

 

The Role of Trustees 

  • To assist the Chair as an active member of the Trustee Board in exercising its responsibilities and functions
  • To attend meetings of Trustees, whether Board Meetings or Committee Meetings, and contribute actively to discussion on overall policy, defining goals, setting targets and evaluating performance
  • To be aware of BEF’s current issues relating to governance and be familiar with documents prepared for board and other meetings
  • To be familiar with the operations of BEF to ensure that a critical and informed view can be maintained
  • To ensure, with other Trustees, the effective and efficient administration, including the financial stability, of BEF
  • To contribute specific professional skills and contacts to support BEF
  • To help promote BEF to as wide an audience of donors and beneficiaries as possible

 

Trustee Person Specification

The ideal candidates will have genuine interest in education in the international development and African context and who will be inspired by supporting all aspects of our work.

  • A commitment to the objectives and values of BF
  • An understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship
  • Good independent judgment
  • An ability to think creativity and have the motivation and enthusiasm to drive the organization forward
  • The courage and willingness to speak their mind
  • An ability and willingness to work effectively as a team member
  • The willingness to commit at least two years to BEF
  • Experience in and knowledge of one or more of the areas of fundraising; finance; communication and public relations; management in voluntary sector, charity or social enterprise context; education preferably in the international development context

 

How to apply

Please send your CV and a cover letter detailing your motivation to join the Board of Trustees, relevant experience in line with the person specification and your availability by 19th December to BurundiEducationFoundation@outlook.com.

We aim to hold interviews in the second week of January.

Please make it clear if you are applying for the position of Trustee or Chair of Trustees.

For an informal discussions or more information please contact Karen Andrae at andrae.karen@gmail.com or 07969 796683.

We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Overview and Background

 Burundi Education Foundation is a charity registered in July 2014 which was founded based on the firm belief that education is the key to alleviating poverty and that sound education is the most effective pathway to ensure access to sustainable livelihoods and improved quality of life.

While Burundi has made great advances by offering free education and increasing primary school enrolment to 96% in 2011 the reality is that infrastructure, number and quality of teachers, material and even space has not matched the increased numbers of pupils.

UNICEF is aware of and supporting Burundi’s adopted system called “école fondamentale,” in which children are encouraged to be more creative and more competitive, so as to be on par with other students in the East African Community. The pedagogy is participatory, with students at the centre of learning and teachers acting as facilitators. But the progressive approach is not managed well and there are not enough financial, human and infrastructure resources to properly implement the ambitious educational plans. There is a high drop-out rate – especially for girls – due to lack of sanitation, safety in schools and on the way to and from schools, and the need to earn any meager income as soon as possible to contribute to the family’s livelihood.

Rusaga is one of many villages that doesn’t have its own school and children walk up to 16 miles per day to attend and return from the nearest primary school. Professor Joseph Katihabwa, who grew up in Rusaga braved harsh conditions to get an education and went on to complete a PhD in Belgium and to become the first Burundian Dean of the Science Faculty at the University of Burundi. In the 60 years since Professor Katihabwa completed his primary education nothing much has changed for the village of Rusaga – and children still walk many miles to the nearest school. To change that Professor Katihabwa set up the Burundi Education Foundation (BEF) in partnership with Writhlington School in South West England where his daughter is a teacher.

With the full support of the local administrative authority (Commune) in providing the land on which to build the school (2 ha), UNICEF-BURUNDI has made a pledge to finance and build a school in Rusaga. In the meantime, BEF is keen to provide a Learning Centre in Rusaga accessible to children and adults, which would offer classes in learning English and prepare children for additional English-curriculum-based modules. Taking into account the local context of low school retention and external factors that impede regular school attendance and learning, BEF wants to adapt the approach and provide a more flexible yet high quality teaching that includes the introduction of technology and independent learning.

Burundi is the only East African country left that has not switched to English as the formal administrative language, which puts the country at an economic disadvantage in trading with its English speaking neighbours. Supported by the Burundi government and through the partnership with Writhlington School, Burundi Education Foundation will provide resources and mentoring to add aspects of the English curriculum to the National curriculum so as to increase the children’s opportunities to gain access to higher education and/or a more promising labour market.

To contribute to the development of the children’s communities the Learning Centre will also offer other learning opportunities like alphabetization for adults, hygiene and health messages and potentially vocational training. Once the primary school is built BEF (and Writhlington School) will enter a partnership to amend the national curriculum and provide opportunities for teacher training and exchange visits with Writhlington.

In the long term, BEF is keen to develop a set of practices and processes that can serve as model for existing and new schools in other most deprived areas, first for primary schools and then for secondary schools to apply a coherent approach to education.

In addition to the practical resource support for quality education, BEF aims in time to become an education development think-tank that develops and facilitates innovative educational approaches and methodologies that are effective in socially and economically disadvantaged areas. By establishing a platform for partnerships and networking of community-based organisations and grassroots-based initiatives, as well as other established civil society organisations BEF strives to promote schools that are child-friendly and inclusive, combat gender discrimination and violence against children, and address teenage pregnancies and general health issues.