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We dream of an Africa with 
quality learning experiences for all

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Our Story

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Uwezo’s annual “Are Our Children Learning?” Research showed that for five consecutive years, learning outcomes have remained stagnant in Kenya. While access to schools have increased, the education offered does not prepare youth for the 21st century.

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“Schooling is not learning. We need to reimagine learning.”

Dr. John Mugo

Former head of Uwezo, Founder and Executive Director of Zizi Afrique, and Founding Metis Board member

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Local innovators lack access to funding and support. 
Although those closest to the problem are always closest to the solution, proximate leaders often struggle to access necessary tools and resources to start and scale innovations.
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“While working with incredible Kenyan school leaders in informal settlements, I saw they     were real innovators—figuring out how to upskill teachers who hadn’t graduated college, figuring out how to engage caregivers who were working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet, incorporating social emotional learning in a rigid curriculum. Why weren’t they receiving support to scale their impact or opportunities to shape funding and policy?” 

Rebecca Crook, co-founder of Metis 
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Metis co-founder Kathlyn Pattillo interviewed hundreds of funders, entrepreneurs, and education leaders in Kenya. Combined with Rebecca’s research and experience working with from education leaders across South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Kenya, they identified that high-potential local leaders were not receiving support for 4 critical reasons: 

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Most investors fund later-stage entrepreneurs. They typically do not coach government leaders to shift complex regulations, intrapreneurs to drive higher quality within existing schools and organizations, or entrepreneurs with ideas that have not been piloted yet.

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Peggy Mativo,

Founder PACEMaker International, Metis advisor  

“We have pockets of excellence, but not systemic change. For more systemic change to occur, we need to support and resource proximate leaders, and center their visions in education reform and development. That is what Metis is doing.” - 

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Many investors lack expertise in how to enable higher quality education initiatives because they invest across multiple sectors, which means they do not provide education-specific support and practitioners do not learn from other leaders in the education sector about what works.

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Many large investments are selected by non-Africans living outside of Africa, often men, disconnected from local political contexts, realities, and opportunities. Few large investments are in initiatives led by non-white Africans and women. As a result, many investors miss the potential of emerging models.

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Investors typically fund individual models, not collective impact that creates the conditions for local practitioners to learn across silos and build solutions to entrenched and complex problems.

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From our inception, Metis has gathered changemakers from across the ecosystem—from grassroots to government leaders—to learn, collaborate, and act collectively. In 2018, we partnered with BRIGHT magazine to help 100 entrepreneurs, funders, and practitioners learn “What works in education” from Metis Fellows and Council members.

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“Adults should listen to kids more. We know what we are talking about. It was empowering to be able to share my opinion of what a great education is and should be to such a big audience!”

Hereniah

Form 3 student, Starehe Girl’s Student Centre

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We supported two additional cohorts of Fellows, growing our network to 41 individuals and institutions and enabling 1.3 million children to access a reimagined education.

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The power of the collective is evident in times of crisis. Not only did Metis community members collaborate to strengthen their individual responses, but Metis Fellows swiftly supported learners, parents, and educators together. The Metis community co-created Home Learning Guides to support vulnerable families without e-learning, hosted webinars, distributed food, and shared online resources with 1,000+ educators and parents through a digital resource hub. 135,000 youth learned with Metis Home Learning Guides translated in 6 languages—from Hausa to Thai! We also co-founded the Keep Kenya Learning campaign to support caregivers to lead learning at home.

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While COVID disrupted school and learning, we launched a hybrid virtual and in-person model of the Metis Fellowship. We expanded programming from Nairobi county to seven counties in Kenya and supported 17 new Fellows. HundrED recognized Metis as a top global education innovation as measured by impact and scalability.

2020. Scaling our work in a pandemic.
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We continued to equip, connect, and amplify local leaders. Our collective of 93 Fellows and their diverse organizations continue to provide a blueprint for what is possible for Kenyan learners and education systems everywhere. We hosted our inaugural learning summit on reimagining African education—showcasing 30 Kenyan education innovations to diverse funders, practitioners, and culture shifters including Eluid Kipchoge, Wanjira Maathai and Blinky Bill! 

Where we are going!

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By 2025, proximate leaders in Kenya have the tools, resources, and community they need to create transformational learning experiences for their communities. Thousands of learners across Kenya access a reimagined education, and that number grows every day because innovations spread across an ecosystem of education institutions. From government to grassroots—leaders learn, collaborate, and act collectively to ensure that all learners thrive. This approach inspires others beyond Kenya to invest in local leadership and innovation.