Angelica TowneCo-founder and Country Director of Educate
Angelica Towne graduated from Middlebury College five years ago determined to use her education to empower youth in developing countries around the world. Today, the international studies major is the co-founder and country director of Educate!, a national youth leadership development organization that works with thousands of students and young entrepreneurs in Uganda.
“I wanted to create a curriculum that was really practical and relevant, so that if a student dropped out the very next day, they could do something—start a business, organize their peers, or solve a problem in their community,” says Angelica.
Educate! was seeing success before students were even halfway through the program; about 80 percent took on leadership roles in their schools, communities and churches. The Ugandan government saw it too and asked Educate! to help redesign their national entrepreneurship curriculum, which reaches 25,000 students across the country.
“The reason they wanted us is because we focus specifically on social entrepreneurship,” says Angelica. “Uganda has the highest youth unemployment rate in Africa—83 percent are unemployed. Entrepreneurship is their best chance for success. We are really meeting a need.”
Educate! has grown quickly and hopes ultimately to reach 100,000 students. More important, Angelica and Educate!’s other co-founders, Boris Bulayev and Eric Glustrom, are focused on transforming the entire education system in Uganda.
“We want all the schools to be measuring their success by asking, ‘Have we created leaders and entrepreneurs, not just good test takers?’” says Angelica. “I came to Uganda thinking I was just going to help students grow personally, but I’ve realized that the ripple effect is huge.”