Poult Vault Barter scheme
Poult vault barter scheme seeks to make access to better quality education easy for rural children. We do this by enabling parents to pay for their children’s school fees and other school materials by using crops such as maize, groundnuts and soybeans. We convince schools to accept payments in kind and we supply the food to urban wholesalers and consumers before we pay the schools in cash. We then foster an innovation platform by bringing together rulers, influencers and community groups to sensitize the population. We also take last mile steps of going door to door to collect school fees payments to ensure its effectiveness. We are creating a scene where parents get to pay for what they want with what they have.
The rates of school dropouts in rural areas is increasing with more girls been affected. The main cause of this problem is poverty with the parents’ inability to pay for school fees. The few children who go to school do not get well educated because of lack of other school materials such as books and pens. Teachers in these schools are not effective due to low pay and difficulties in teaching. This lack of education causes early marriages, increased diseases and even more poverty. Our objective is to use local resources to solve the problem of education in communities by letting pay for school using crops.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
We had to convince schools in communities to start accepting payments in kind. Then we secured and build a supply chain system to sell the crops got from school fees to wholesalers and consumers in the large expensive cities. Also, we created an innovation platform which brought together rulers, influencers and community groups to advocate and sensitize the population. We even wen extra miles to do door to door collection of crops to ensure its effectiveness. We are bringing together key actors in communities and families to solve problems.
Traditional models of tackling education problems is to give free education material and fees to children. These types of programs are never sustainable and the community members do not feel like stakeholders. They are less involved and do not own the projects. These models are also very expensive to implement. With the barter program, the community is solving its issues by using its resources. It is also sustainable because it is widely appreciated by users and is transactional. This means parents are paying for the services. This program doesn’t only cover school fees but other school materials such as books, uniforms and bags. This ensure the children are well equipped. The innovation is cheaper to implement and easily replicable.
The campaign has helped close to 1000 children and is radically changing the quality of education. Most of the children signed up are girls which means it is bridging the gap. Parents are much more involved in school activities because they feel more included which affects the children’s performance positively. Schools can better pay their staff and want to implement up to date school programs such as computer classes because the parents can afford to pay. Communities are much more united with this scheme. We are piloting a solution for communities to access healthcare services by paying for health insurance policies using crops. The fresh natural crops used are sold to the cities where food is scarce and expensive. The campaign is a win for everyone.
The biggest challenge we faced was to be able to convince schools to accept payments. This was a dramatic shift of mindsets which schools did not want to take. Mobilizing the community was easy but creating an effective supply chain system to sell the crops was very difficult.
Rural communities are able to create solutions for themselves. We just need to give them a chance. Rural people are not as poor as we think they are. They are filled with resources which could get them these basic needs. We also learned persistence and patience goes a long way. We must not look too far or too complex to solve problems. Sometimes we just need to look at the past.