Vince Cable’s grandson, Ayrton, co-founds African ‘change-maker’ schools

EnSo

EnSo is a chain of low-cost private schools in the developing world that will provide high-quality education and affordable essentials (food, water, energy, health and hygiene). The organisation brings together four award-winning and technology-driven companies, already operating in east Africa and other parts of the developing world. Together, they hope to positively impact the lives of 500 million people over the next 25 years. Copy by Aruna Maya Basu.

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Ayrton Cable, nine-year-old grandson of Sir Vince Cable, has co-founded a new chain of ‘change-maker’ schools in Africa. EnSo is a chain of low-cost private schools in the developing world that will provide high-quality education and affordable essentials (food, water, energy, health and hygiene). The organisation brings together four award-winning and technology-driven companies, already operating in east Africa and other parts of the developing world. Together, they hope to positively impact the lives of 500 million people over the next 25 years.

When he was nine years old, Ayrton Cable launched a bill in the UK Parliament for more ethical food, after screening his film ‘How was this animal kept?’ After spending time with a boy his age in rural Malawi, at the age of 11 he founded the Humanitarian Water, Air and Food (WAFA) Youth Award. He has spoken on TV, BBC Radio, at award ceremonies and at TEDx, and written for the Huffington Post, campaigning on issues surrounding food and water security, sustainability and alleviation of poverty.

An important part of EnSo’s educational model is training children as the next generation of leaders for a peaceful and sustainable Africa, centred on the I-CARE (Integrity, Commitment, Awareness, Responsibility and Empathy) Leadership model.

“Literacy and numeracy are very important skills,” said Ayrton. “But they are not enough. We kids also need to learn the integrity to make ethical choices, the commitment to push through the challenges life throws at us, the awareness to see things as they are, the responsibility to see we are cause in how we react to things in our life, and the empathy to see things as others see them. That’s why the I-CARE Leadership model is so important.”

The I-CARE Leadership model was piloted at CIDA University in South Africa and originally developed by Dr Ron Browning and Paul Vincent Cable, Ayrton’s father. Students who participated said it was a truly life changing programme.

Shirley, who attended, said: “I believe that, as the young generation of Africa, we can make a difference, and we can prove to people out there, that even though we have been struck by all the wars, we can make Africa a better continent for each and every citizen.”

EnSo schools will also operate as Retail Hubs, providing services such as clean water, Unilever hygiene products (eg Lifebuoy soap) and BBOXX solar energy as an alternative to kerosene, which kills around 3.5 million children under five annually. The hubs will employ mothers of children attending the schools, ultimately helping them gain the autonomy necessary to build their own franchises in future.

Technology is an integral part of the EnSo model. Children in EnSo schools will spend at least one hour per day using tablet computers supplied with literacy, numeracy, Science and English apps. Many of these apps are already successfully in use in Africa and elsewhere, including OneBillion, Mwabu (formerly iSchool) and Maths Whizz, developed by EnSo’s partner Whizz Education. EnSo will shorty open its first schools in Kenya.

Ayrton added: “People tend to think of young people as the future generation, but why can't they be the NOW generation, and be a key part of making the world a better place now, while they are still young? These schools are intended to achieve that.

“Imagine we can get a whole generation of young people involved in making the world a better place, battling the ‘inner’ enemy of defeatism that stand in the way of us ending poverty and living sustainably! For people who say that that's not possible, I say that once upon a time, lots of people thought we could never get men to the moon and back again safely.”

Visit www.ensoimpact.com or contact a.m.basu@hss10.qmul.ac.uk for more information.

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