Lekki Peninsula Affordable Schools is a Nigerian social venture offering educational services and extracurricular activities, operating with the principle that all children have a right to affordable, quality education in a safe environment. We recently sat down with Lekki Peninsula Schools to learn more about their experience hosting an Experteering professional and working on improving education in underserved communities.
What does the Lekki Peninsula school provide?
The Lekki Peninsula school is a haven for children. We provide after-school activities like dance, drama, and music and believe that money should never be a barrier to a quality education. All children deserve to be safe, educated, and valued.
How did the Lekki Peninsula Schools get started?
We started with the hope of providing a quality education to children regardless of their circumstances. The first school we opened was our secondary school. Lekki Peninsula College was established in 1997, in Osapa, Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria after Maroko was destroyed under military governor Raji Rasaki.
Many young people who were displaced stopped going to school as a result of the government demolition. Many were assigned to a public school, but the distance made it difficult for students to get to these schools because of the cost of transportation. Some who tried to go to school ended up dropping out because it was also at a time when many teachers in the public school system were not motivated to teach. At first, we only offered a free evening school, but we quickly expanded after the parents of our students appealed to us to run as a full-time secondary school because of the benefits they saw for their children.
We started operating as a full-time secondary school which meant we had to have full-time staff with livable wages and become fully accredited by the state government and examining organizations. This was why we had to introduce school fees. However, because the secondary school remained very small, we realized we weren’t reaching as many students in the lower-income bracket as we would like. Another major challenge which we battled over the years was the amount of remedial work we had to do with students who joined us for secondary education after spending so many years in the public school system.
How did you overcome these challenges?
We decided to start our elementary school to intervene earlier and expand our reach. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without support from our partners like Pearson Affordable Learning Fund and Village Capital. Our experience with Experteering was also very helpful for the growth of our organization.
How did the Experteer add value to Lekki Peninsula Affordable School?
Alberto Venterini, an expert in technology, was our chosen Experteer. He ended up working remotely because of logistical issues with Nigerian travel, but he was still very helpful. As a computer science programmer he offered us his skills by leading workshops on Skype and introduced us to a lot of educational gears that we could work cheaply and efficiently with.
Another big benefit was that he informed us about resources we otherwise wouldn’t have been aware of. One of the most interesting things he shared with us was the Raspberry Pi, a computer the size of a credit card, and the Rachel Plus, a community hotspot for education.
What Experteering support are you looking for next?
We are looking for help with tech, CS, fundraising, and financing, as well as teachers who specialize in teaching children with learning disabilities. We are currently having trouble introducing children to tech and funding has been a big issue. We have only been able to open up one school, though opening a chain of schools is much more cost-effective. Any help with these problems would be extremely helpful.
What advice would you give to an Experteer?
They will have to have patience, because things don’t always go smoothly. But patience is a virtue :)