Founded in partnership

Vision Aid Overseas only ever works in partnership with countries and communities who have requested our support. We begin all projects by meeting with key groups in our partner countries including the local Ministries of Health and Education to see how to work together to address key issues and challenges. This is to ensure whatever we do supports national plans and policies and community needs.

Support A School is no different. Supporting a school is an effective way of helping hundreds of children in poor communities in Africa get access to basic but life changing eye health care services.

In return for £5,000, we will link a donor with a primary school for children aged 5-14 and keep them updated about the changes they are helping to bring about in the lives of its pupils and teachers.

Support A School will support to:

  • Train teachers to identify children and teachers with vision problems.
  • Strengthen the local health care systems to send optometrists to do school eye care intervention.
  • Provide children with the eye glasses they need, at no cost.
  • Raise awareness about the importance of eye health and wearing glasses.

Vision Aid Overseas has a long-standing relationship with the Ethiopian Government which is already enabling adults and children to see more clearly. We have recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Ethiopian Regional Bureaus of Health and Education in the Support a School location ahead of beginning our work there.

The Bureaus will identify which schools need our support, the teachers who will be trained in eye screening, and they will also assign government funded optometrists to deliver Mobile Eye Care Services schools.

Based on need

Support a School is based on the clear need for to improved eye health in East Wollega and is grounded in local research including a needs analysis carried out by the District Education Office and Exeter Ethiopia Link (EEL). EEL is another of VAO's partners which works in East Wollega to ensure disability rights, including eye health, and special needs education are prioritised in the region. 

Support a School aligns with the Ethiopian government’s National Strategy for Primary Eye Health, which Vision Aid Overseas feed into. It also builds on the learnings from the 2016 School Health Integrated Programming (SHIP) an initiative led by the Global Partnership for Education. The School Eye Health Technical Working Group of the Ministry of Health, which is chaired by Vision Aid Overseas’ Country Manager, was an outcome of the SHIP and enables all groups working in eye health to ensure we are all working towards Ethiopia’s eye health goals across the country.

The Technical Working Group developed a teacher training manual in early 2019 which Vision Aid Overseas has piloted in 10 schools in partnership with the Ministry of Health and has helped us refine our Support a School programme. The pilot also involved the training of 20 teachers in eye care screening.

Why is it vital we work in partnership?

Our impact and learning from Support a School will allow us to continue to provide evidence that a school-based eye health programme is a simple and cost-effective approach that needs to be scaled-up nationally.

We will take the data from Support a School to demonstrate the case to our partners the clear financial, educational and social benefits of caring for children’s eye health and how it impacts upon a child’s learning.

Our goal is to show how best to integrate eye health into School Health and Nutrition initiatives. If eye health is effectively integrated, we will be able to reduce visual impairment in children much more quickly across Ethiopia. the power of effective partnerships is key to ensuring all children can thrive with clear vision.

See Support a School