Global Education Partnership (G.E.P.) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with divisions in the United States
(Oakland, California), Kenya
. The mission of Global Education Partnership is "to provide access to educational resources that increase the capacity of young people to become employable and self-reliant in today's global marketplace". The underlying philosophy of empowerment that permeates the programs that G.E.P. offers in low-income communities in the U.S. and in developing countries is that sustainable development - where people can access and then re-create opportunities to both excel personally and improve their communities - is only possible if the people that ultimately benefit from a program are viewed not as recipients of the program, but as participants in designing and implementing a program to suit their needs.
Percy Hintzen, Board President, and Tony Silard, Executive Director of Global Education Partnership, began working together at UC/Berkeley where Hintzen, Chairman of the African-American Studies Department, was Silard's faculty advisor and mentor. After finishing at UC/Berkeley, Silard conducted a 3-month teacher-training seminar in Guatemala, taught mathematics in an inner-city public high school in Washington D.C. for one year, and then joined the Peace Corps as a Community Development Worker in Kenya with the Ministry of Education. After visiting many schools in Kenya and hearing community members consistently voice the need for textbooks for their children, Barnabas Mwakisha, a Kenyan, and Silard provided Kenyan parents with an incentive to raise funds for textbooks for their children by matching the amount that they raised with funds from U.S. donors. Mwakisha and Silard co-managed "the matching-funds textbook project" for 2 years, and provided over $120,000 in textbooks to over 40,000 students in 58 schools.
Later, while at Harvard completing a Master's of Public Policy, Silard worked as Employment and Training Coordinator at Roxbury Youthworks (an inner-city, community-based youth agency) teaching work readiness and entrepreneurship skills. The focus of Silard's degree at Harvard was Education and the Economy: in particular, the widening gap between the skills required for high-wage jobs and the skills that most disadvantaged youth obtain in school. Silard's work and research won 4 awards at the Harvard graduation, including the Robert F. Kennedy Public Service Award, and set the initial direction for G.E.P.'s Entrepreneurship and Employment Training Program curriculum.
In July 1994, Hintzen and Silard founded Global Education Partnership. Hintzen and Silard assembled a team to develop the Entrepreneurship and Employment Training Program in Oakland, California that included educators from Harvard, UC/Berkeley, various Bay Area high schools, community leaders and students from UC/Berkeley's Department of African-American Studies. In 1995, G.E.P. divisions were established in Wundanyi, Kenya and San Francisco Bay Area, and in 1996 G.E.P. established its third division in Totonicapán, Guatemala. Divisions in Lushoto, Tanzania and Wonosari, Indonesia were formed in 1998 and 1999, respectively. G.E.P. has 35 full-time staff (including 6 AmeriCorps volunteers in the S.F. Bay Area and 4 full-time staff in each international division) and an annual budget of approx. $1.4 million allocated as follows: US ($875K); Kenya ($250K); Guatemala ($75K); Tanzania ($100K); and Indonesia ($100K). In its international divisions, G.E.P. utilizes a local leadership and management model, and is run by a Country Director and Board of Advisors from the local community.