English and Tech Skills funding in Guinea-Bissau

The Macote Entrepreneur Center (MEC) is a non-profit business development school for adults and youth located in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau in West Africa.  We offer English, computer skills, and business start-up classes. Our school’s goal is to build the economy and infrastructure of Guinea-Bissau one educated student at a time.

Guinea Bissau is the 18th most impoverished country in the world[1], with approximately 69 percent of people living on less than $1.90 per day. One of the main causes of poverty is the lack of educational opportunity. Only 29 percent of children complete primary school, and the nation’s literacy rate is only 60 percent[2]. Only a small percentage of Bissau-Guineans speak Portuguese, the “official” language, and even fewer speak English, the global language of trade. This inability to converse with the wider world truly hampers communication and the development of effective commerce with the outside world.

We offer English and business training to as many Bissau-Guineans as possible. To do this and be affordable to more Bissau-Guineans, our tuition rates are lower than our operating costs. We need financial help to maintain and grow our school and continue to build on our educational successes.

For 2019 we plan to purchase a solar PV power system so we will have more reliable and more economical electricity and internet service at our facility. We also need ongoing funds to pay for school operations. This includes paying for building and computer maintenance, water, electricity, and taxes; salary for up to five Guinean computer/language teachers per semester (3 semesters/year); room and board and small travel stipend for up to four American volunteer language teachers per semester; salaries for an education manager and a facilities manager to operate the school, and funding to purchase office and classroom supplies. Looking to the future, we are developing an endowment to provide dedicated student scholarships, and to build a larger campus that will serve more students, including secondary school children.

The school, which opened in 2017, is the brainchild of Bissau-Guinean, Mr. Macote Ambrozio, who received his Master’s Degree in International Affairs and Global Enterprise from the University of Utah in the USA (see https://www.hinckley.utah.edu/guinea-bissau-macote/).  Mr. Ambrozio lives full-time in Guinea-Bissau, and focuses on developing the school into an educational center for all ages. 

 Further information about the school and its projects in Guinea-Bissau can be found at  http://www.summitglobaldatabase.org/guinea-bissau-SRDPC 

The author of this page is U.S. Citizen Marit S. Sawyer, who works with the MEC as a teacher and volunteer development coordinator.

[1] United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Statistical Tables on Least Developed Countries, 2018.
[2] Ibid.

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Marit Snow Sawyer 
Salt Lake City, UT
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