Meet a Low-Cost Private School Proprietor: Benjamin Boateng
Benjamin Boateng established Peaceland Preparatory in Ghana in 2000, charging 7 USD per term to provide an affordable education for the children of poor parents in his community. Although his school was well attended, he aspired to overcome the challenges Peaceland Preparatory faced, such as lack of drinking water, electricity, the security provided by a fence, and land ownership, to ensure the school’s stable future. But without making a profit, without access to credit, and without support from the government or traditional funders, how could Benjamin develop his school?
The Rising Schools Program
In 2010, Benjamin found the support he required in the Rising Schools Program, an initiative developed by the IDP Foundation, Inc. in partnership with Sinapi Aba Trust, a Ghanaian microfinance organization. This innovative program is empowering community leaders like Benjamin who have established private schools for the poor by providing them with training and microfinance loans. By delivering extensive training in financial literacy and school management, coupled with regular mentorship visits, the Rising Schools Program is able to deepen the reach of microfinance to low-cost private schools that are traditionally excluded.
Setting Priorities Right
After four years participating in the Rising Schools Program, Benjamin thinks back on his proprietor training and remembers how one topic in particular impacted his school, “Setting Priorities Right.” It was this topic that taught him how to prioritize for his school’s future in order to tackle its most pressing challenges: lack of drinking water, electricity, a fence, and land. By learning how to focus on the big issues before the small, complemented with his newly acquired access to capital to purchase land, Benjamin has overcome these challenges. Now he is thinking about what he will prioritize next.
When Benjamin thinks about the Rising Schools Program he says, “I know that my dream school will be built through this program.” On the land Benjamin purchased with his loan, he intends to build a bigger and better school, equipped with a computer lab. Although Peaceland Prep’s enrollment has already doubled to 350 students since joining the program, Benjamin plans to expand the school’s reach to surrounding communities, by purchasing a school bus. Moreover, with Peaceland Prep’s enhanced reputation, Benjamin can hire better qualified candidates applying for teaching positions. With the continued commitment Benjamin has demonstrated, the IDP Foundation and Sinapi Aba Trust are confident that Benjamin will build his dream school.