Joshua Snyder and Emily Loker are graduate students from the Clinton School of Public Service in Arkansas, USA. Josh has a background in youth development. Emily has a background in working to improve food security and access to education. They are both here doing research projects as a part of their coursework.

On why they came to SAEP
JS: Education is a matter very dear to my heart, especially when it comes to ensuring as many people as possible have access to quality instruction. SAEP’s mission is consistent with these values.When I saw that the Impact Centre was hoping to bring somebody in to look at the potential impact of profit on out-of-school tutoring programmes, a question closely related to education access, I knew I had to reach out.

EL: I was very excited to work with SAEP and live in SA. Before grad school I worked as a youth mentor. I loved hearing their ideas, particularly about their own futures and that of our planet. The project we designed at SAEP relates very closely to those experiences.

On what they’re doing while they are here
JS: I’m currently conducting a comparative study of for-profit and not-for-profit academic support programmes (such as tutoring and other out-of-school education opportunities) across South Africa. These efforts began with absorbing information about the factors that seem most likely to impact the success of support programmes. With Impact Centre manager Kayin Scholtz providing guidance, I designed a questionnaire based around those factors and sent the questionnaire out to as many relevant programmes as possible. Once all responses are in I can analyze the data and produce a report on our findings.

EL: I’m doing a study on how high school students in Philippi define success. Along with Josh and a few of the program staff, we ran several focus groups with both grade 9 and grade 11 learners. I used a technique called Liberating Structures (which are specific activities designed to level hierarchies and facilitate open conversation), an approach we learned at the Clinton School. It was really inspiring to be able to talk to so many young people about their hopes and dreams. I’ve definitely learned a lot from them. We’re finished with the focus groups and I am now analyzing the results.

One what they’ve enjoyed about being here
JS: What have I enjoyed? I could write pages about this. The thing I’ve enjoyed most of all, though, is just getting to know the people who make Cape Town what it is. SAEP is no exception. The staff and volunteers here seem steadfastly dedicated to their mission of preparing and motivating children to thrive, and they have been more welcoming to me than I could have any right to expect. I am grateful.

EL: I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to work with Bridging Year, ADT Teach, and Hope Scholars as well as the Impact Centre. The cross-program collaboration here is impressive and not something I have seen at organizations I’ve worked with in the past. But hearing from the learners has to be my favorite part. Their ideas and energy have enriched my experience here and only affirmed my commitment to a lifetime of working towards equitable access to basic human rights, including education. Thank you, SAEP!