The Roger Federer Foundation supports educational projects located in the region of southern Africa and Switzerland. The programmes on the African continent focus on the improvement of the quality of early learning and basic education and in Switzerland on the promotion of extra-curricular activities for children affected by poverty. All activities are realised and implemented by local non-governmental authorities in close collaboration with the local communities. In order to evaluate our impact, we measure the changes in the levels of supported children's performance, rate repetitions, absences, or enrolment rates.
It is our responsibility to the children that we achieve the impact as cost efficiently as possible and use our resources economically and modestly. This is why we keep our administration costs below 10% and limit our engagement geographically and thematically. Currently we are conducting School Readiness programs in six countries in Southern Africa (Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa) plus Switzerland. Since its start the foundation has spent 52 million USD for its education initiatives conducted in 7000 primary school and preschools. Over 1.5 million children have been benefitting from a better quality in education due to our engagement over the last 16 years. Each child receiving education at an institution supported by the Foundation will only be counted once in the process.
There are many reasons why the Roger Federer Foundation believes that good education is one of the most powerful theories of change.
Education is a human right:
Education is a fundamental human right and the fourth sustainable development goal of the UN. Every human being has the right to inclusive and quality education in order to make the most of his/her potential. Furthermore, both the international community and researchers agree that many other human rights can only be realised and respected if a sufficient standard of education is guaranteed.
Education reduces poverty:
Education is one of the decisive levers which enable people to escape existing poverty, or a poverty trap spanning generations. It is only through education that people gain options, become innovators and are able to take their lives into their own hands. Education increases the chance of obtaining a permanent job and regular income. Education leads to better living standards, to people being capable of making long-term plans, as well as to accepting personal responsibility. UNESCO studies have shown that worldwide poverty could be reduced by 12% if all children in developing countries left school with just basic reading and writing skills.
Education improves health:
Education is one of the most effective and sustainable tools for promoting public health. On the one hand, educated people are better informed about diseases, hygiene and nutrition. On the other hand, they recognise symptoms of possible life-threatening diseases earlier and seek medical treatment more often. Preventative health initiatives can only work if people have at least a minimum level of education. UNESCO studies have calculated that if all women completed primary education, 66% fewer mothers would die in childbirth and the mortality rate of children under five years of age would fall by 15%.
Education enhances social responsibility:
Education is a fundamental pre-requisite for a functioning democracy. It promotes tolerance, mutual understanding and long-term strategic thinking. Similarly, behaviour that endangers the environment can only be counteracted by education. Women and other minorities facing discrimination also require well educated champions in order to safeguard their rights. In this context, UNESCO reports the following example: if all girls living in Sub-Saharan Africa completed primary education, 14% less would be married around the young age of 15. If they all completed secondary education, the number of teenage marriages would be reduced by even 64%.
Education is in crisis:
In Africa, there are two main problems affecting education. On the one hand, in some countries, there are still too many children without access to primary education. On the other hand, the quality of education offered is in most cases insufficient. In relation to the first point, countries in southern Africa have made up much ground over the last years and have a school enrolment quota equating to the global average. Far too often, however, schooling ends prematurely. Schools lose on average 40% of their pupils before the fourth year. Minimum learning objectives are far from being achieved due to, among other things, the massive shortage of teachers. According to UNESCO studies, 58% more trained teachers are required. The reasons for the lack of adequate education on the African continent are manifold and best illustrated in the annual report of UNO’s "Education For All" initiative. To improve the quality of education, a package of measures is required, which the Roger Federer Foundation promotes in all of its programmes.