December 8th, 2009

Shakira: now the voice of global education

In June, we wrote about Shakira’s increasing focus on education in her philanthropic work. The Economist recently published a piece she wrote about the importance of creating a Global Fund for Education. The fund, she writes, already has President Obama’s support, and would work toward the United Nation’s stated goal that every child in the world complete primary school, starting in 2015.


One of Shakira’s foundations, Pies Descalzos–The Barefoot Foundation–builds and maintains schools in three regions of Colombia, and focuses its work on children whose families are part of Colombia’s large displaced population. The Barefoot Foundation’s approach to education seems to be holistic, in the vein of Harlem Children’s Zone:

We also support the broader community. On any given day our school buildings are hubs of activity—providing a range of services, including adult-literacy classes, youth-leadership development, access to libraries and computer training. Perhaps most importantly, we have also begun to form parent co-operatives focused on teaching parents and on income-generating activities aimed at ensuring that families are financially secure.

Learning Matters’ John Tulenko explores another side of global education in a recent interview with the Ford Foundation’s Joan Dassin. Dassin’s primary concern is the phenomenon of “Brain Drain” in the developing world: young people, once educated, often leave their countries of birth. The Ford Foundation’s college scholarship program tries to ensure that the talented and educated citizens of the developing world stay there.

Though they’re working from different ends of the education lifespan, both Shakira’s and Dassin’s thoughts are worth some attention this holiday season.

Shakira: The Voice of Early Childhood Education [Ed Beat, LMtv, 6/10/09]

Si, Se Puede [The Economist, 11/13/09]

Podcast: Brain Drain [LMtv, 12/7/09]

The Barefoot Foundation

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