Self-funded philanthropy: Australian education organisation and Foundation Ducere opens Peace Centres in Botswana

14 Jul 2014

Two new Peace Centres have been opened in Kasane and Pandamatenga, Chobe Botswana, thanks to the partnership between the Australian-based Ducere Foundation and the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation (SKMF), with funding from the Australian High Commission, Pretoria.

For more than three years, the two Foundations have been working together to promote peace education programs across Botswana including the Chobe and Kgalagadi regions and areas in the South East. The first Peace Centre was opened in November 2012 and, most recently, with a grant approved by the Australian High Commission in Pretoria in 2013, two further centres are have just been opened with a dynamic focus for the entire community.

The Peace Centres were opened by Australia’s High Commissioner to Botswana and South Africa H.E. Mr Graeme Wilson and Botswana’s Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development the Hon Mr Keletso Rakhudu who thanked the Australian High Commission not only the funding the Peace Centres but for putting faith in the school community to work as a team with the Ducere Foundation and SKMF to realise this project.

Mr Wilson said: “The Australian Government sees value in partnering with organisations such as Ducere because we support its fundamental philosophy. Ducere’s vision of developing passionate and motivated leaders is an excellent match to Australia’s policy of creating opportunity rather than simply providing aid handouts.”

The Ducere Foundation is the charitable arm of the Ducere tertiary education organisation, a learning institution that boasts an enviable faculty of globally recognised businesspeople and world leaders. As an education provider that embodies altruistic values, Ducere fully funds the activities and initiatives activated by its philanthropic arm through the funds from the Business and Management courses that it provides.

Ducere Foundation Executive Director Di Fleming said: “Thousands of young Batswana are benefitting from this project. The Peace Centres are located in both remote and dense urban environments where children are focusing on debating and where global thinking through local action is promoted.

“Ducere believes in the promotion of peace and the capture of children’s ideas. Ducere is thrilled to have endorsement of the Botswana Ministry of Education and the enthusiasm of the many school Heads who welcome us to their schools and their classrooms.

“Our affiliation across southern Africa, in particular with Botswana and Zambia continues to strengthen as the Peace programs and Ducere Publishing programs grow and develop,” Ms Fleming said.

Ducere Publishing was established in Zambia where African children’s stories are captured and shared across the globe.

The African children’s stories are based on their imagination and also stories that grandparents have shared across the centuries. The Ducere Foundation is helping communities preserve their local traditions. The Executive Director of Ducere Foundation Di Fleming, is working with many Africa nations to expand the initiative and integrate it with the Peace Education focus.

Since the Ducere Foundation and SKMF partnered in 2011, they have led this peace project with the aim of empowering children to understand and engage in a meaningful dialogue, promote peace and equality, become advocates for positive change and to use their learning experience to develop into future leaders.

By offering unique and accessible methods for education, Ducere Founder Mat Jacobson finds it liberating to be able to champion such a revolutionary venture within Ducere. A sentiment mirrored in the innovative philanthropic activities of the Ducere Foundation.

“Because they are funded through the Ducere course fees, the education and peace programs run through the Foundation promote learning and leadership to young people in southern Africa, who as a result can also benefit from the knowledge and wisdom of the Ducere faculty.

“Innovations in education are being debated heavily worldwide, with online education being at the centre of discussions around recent changes that have given students the freedom to learn whenever and wherever they want.

“As innovators in this space, both in content of our courses, method of delivery and the ‘philanthro-capitalist’ business model that we are built on, Ducere is definitely at the forefront of education innovation on a global scale.”

Ducere Foundation Chairman Leon Kempler also expressed his resounding passion: “Ducere is delighted to be working with the SKMF and the Australian Government (Australian High Commission Pretoria). I was very impressed with the student’s enthusiastic desire to learn, read and debate within the Peace Centre based on the age old Botswana tradition of the Kgotla,” Mr Kempler said.

“The support of parents, teachers and Government officials has been one of total commitment and participation. These Peace Centres, or Kgotla, are becoming the epicentre of not only the school, but with the broader community. The Peace Centres are making a positive contribution to knowledge, school and society.”

The Kasane and Pandamatenga Primary School Peace Centres are only one of the activities that the Ducere Foundation is championing, for more information on the Ducere Foundation visit ducerefoundation.org and on the tertiary learning organisation, visit ducere.co.