LeAnna Marr, Acting Mission Director, USAID Macedonia

As part of USAID’s 50th Anniversary, the Agency is celebrating Public-Private Partnership Week October 17-21, 2011 to highlight the mutual benefit that development and business have in establishing public-private partnerships (PPP) and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Global Development Alliance (GDA) program.

USAID Macedonia, through our Primary Education Project (PEP), has established public-private partnerships with three businesses – Microsoft Macedonia, Oracle Education Foundation and Seavus – to further our aim of promoting employability and information technology skills and providing a better education for students in Macedonia.

Seavus, a leading IT company in the region, partnered with USAID/PEP to host the first summer school for 21st century employability skills.  The camp was for secondary school students in the early stage of their career planning.  They focused on developing skills, such as communications, leadership and entrepreneurship.   But don’t forget, this was a summer camp, and those kids had an absolute blast while they were doing it!   SEAVUS also offered an internship to one of the top performers at the summer school.

The Oracle Education Foundation (OEF) collaborated with USAID/PEP to make the Thinkquest.com portal available to Macedonian teachers.  Thinkquest is an online learning platform that promotes project-based learning, helps students and teachers to develop critical skills such as teamwork and problem solving, and links Macedonian students to peers from around the world.

Microsoft Macedonia partnered with USAID/PEP to allow Macedonian teachers to participate in the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum – a competition conducted on the national, European and worldwide levels.  The winner of the national competition in Macedonia, “Grandma’s Games,” won the Grand Prix in the European Regional competition, and you should have seen their faces when they were welcomed home as heroes upon returning!  The team is now preparing to take part in the worldwide competition in Washington D.C. in November this year.

On October 17th, USAID Macedonia hosted a ceremony in the Jan Amos Komenski Primary School in Skopje to honor these three successful partnerships that improve the educational process.   USAID Mission Director Robert Wuertz noted that making improvements requires making changes, and that USAID has found that working with partners is the best way to ensure a change will be sustained.   He added that, through the three partnerships being honored, we have together demonstrated cost‐efficiency, impact, and sustainability of the changes that lead to our goal of better education for a better future in Macedonia.

At the ceremony, students who participated in each program gave presentations on how they benefitted from them, and one served as the MC.  They were all very poised and professional when giving their remarks.  They truly exemplified the skills we hoped to instill through these partnerships!

Visit www.usaid.gov/pppweek for updates, announcements, and highlights of  the October 20th Partnership Forum: The Strategic Value of Connecting Business & Development

To view a map of USAID public-private partnerships around the globe, visit http://idea.usaid.gov/