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Margaret Babirye Lwebuga

The Margaret Babirye Lwebuga East Africa MBL EA project generated the idea for the Mathematics Education to Empower Africa Charity, and is the prototype project, both in its action and in the trajectory of its development. This paper presents an account of Phase 1 of the project, the Mathematical Thinking course which will be held in January 2019 at Makerere University for which funds have already been pledged/donated. This has served as prototype, giving us experience which has enabled us to draft the procedural documents.  In this document we give a detailed account of the development of this course and show how it has served as a model for how the Charity will help other initiatives progress to a successful completion.

Phases 2, 3 and 4 of the MBL EA project, featuring a second running of the Mathematical Thinking course, and two further courses in the AIMSSEC sequence to be held in Rwanda, Tanzania and `Kenya are in the development stage.

History of the MBL project

Margaret Babirye Lwebuga is a Ugandan woman who looked after my (MB’s) mother during the last three years of her life. Margaret became a close family friend, and we have wanted to honour her by doing something for her country in return.

The initial idea was a simple bursary plan to send six Ugandan teachers to the AIMSSEC Matheamtical Thinking course planned for January 2019.  With Toni Beardon’s help we drew up a bursary application form, and with Margaret’s help and through other Ugandan connections recruited applicants.

A change in the South African state school holidays meant that the planned course was postponed.  We had already been thinking of planning courses in Uganda and East Africa, to save spending half the available funds on airfares, so it was a natural step to run a first course in Uganda. It is Toni Beardon’s far-sighted vision that urged us to consider the Ugandan course as the first in a sequence of four courses in East Africa, thus giving the project the best chance of an enduring contribution to mathematics education in the area.

Margaret’s family in Uganda, notably her son-in-law, Professor Noble Banadda, took charge of local arrangements, securing facilities at Makerere University free of charge, securing accommodation at the Sheron Hotel (1/3 off usual rates), and securing a catering company for the workshop. Toni Beardon used her contacts to recruit educators to run the course: Jennie Golding, Barrie Barnard, Chris Clarke and Christine Hopkins, and to adapt the AIMSSEC South African Mathematical Thinking course syllabus to match the Ugandan curriculum.

With the planning for Course 1 well in hand, Toni recruited well placed educators in Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya to serve on the organising committee of the Margaret Babirye Lwebuga project. These individuals are listed in the Who’s Who document, and they will also serve as the founding set of trustees and non-voting members of the AIMSSEC Africa Charity.

The first MBL EA Project Organising Committee meeting was held by skype on 21st August 2018 with Toni Beardon as Chair, the second on 15 October, the third on 1st November, and the fourth is planned for the first week in December. Minutes are available on request. Further meetings will be held in February and April 2019.

We continue using our experience of running the Margaret Babirye Project as project 0, developing the details of guidelines and procedures.  With respect to guidelines and procedures, each of the proposed four courses in the MBL Project may be considered as a project.  All four have been adopted by the committee for development.  Project 0, the Makerere Mathematical Thinking course has received donations/pledges for full funding and is in the execution stage.

To demonstrate how the guidelines apply, the notes below demonstrate how the MBL Project 0, meets the requirements.

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