Wednesday, July 25, 2007

History of Civitas Malawi's Project Citizen

“Project Citizen Malawi is part of Civitas Africa, which is a cooperative program of civic education between organizations in the U.S. and organizations in a number of African nations including Malawi , Senegal , Ghana , South Africa , Mauritius , Nigeria , and Kenya . Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Education under the Education for Democracy Act approved by the U.S. Congress. This program provides African and U.S. leaders in civic education the opportunity to learn from and assist each other in implementing and improving education for democratic citizenship.

“Civitas Africa is part of Civitas International, which is an international civic education exchange program which aims at strengthening effective education for informed and responsible citizenship in both new democracies such as Malawi ’s and established democracies around the world. Civitas operates on the basis that no democracy can adequately function without the support of its citizens who understand the foundational ideals and practices of democracy. Civitas operates on the assumption that without good civic education, new democracies such as Malawi ’s cannot flourish. That is, it takes good civic education to ensure that democracy develops and flourishes through an informed and engaged citizenry.

“Students and teachers who participate in Project Citizen Malawi learn how monitoring and influencing public policy can improve the conditions of their individual and community lives. The culminating event of Project Citizen’s curricular program consists of Student Teams of 16 students making formal public presentations to their schools and invited guests made up of their fellow students, families, community leaders and public policymakers. Based on the quality of their responses and their team’s written work, the judges decide which Team’s project merits the highest honors.”

(Thomas LeBlanc, June 04, 2007, Education Team Leader, USAID/Malawi, Letter to U.S. Ambassador to Malawi, Alan Eastham.)

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