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Makaranta Association

Why does Makaranta exist?

The economic, social, political and cultural development and future of a nation depends to a high degree on the primary education of its people.

Third World countries, particulary in Africa, often lack the prerequisites for a good primary education for all their children. Hence it is clear that primary education is one of the most important areas of development where Africa needs our help.
The Makaranta Assocation awards annual prizes to exemplary African primary schools, and thus holds them up as models for other schools to emulate.

We wish to give recognition to those who have attained high educational standards through their own efforts, without significant foreign assistance. The aim of the prize and the accomplishments it recognizes is to motivate others to copy them. In so doing Makaranta intends to support homegrown initiatives in improving primary education.


How and when did Makaranta originate?

Since his tour of duty as Country Director of the German Volunteer Service, DED, in Niger (1983-86) the journalist Kurt Gerhardt planned to create an organization to promote education in Africa.

Makaranta was founded in Cologne, Germany, in May 2001. Since then, competitions have been held in Niger, Uganda, Mozambique, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Mali.


What does "Makaranta" mean?

In the Haussa language "Makaranta" means what the Makaranta organization supports: "school". The Haussa language is spoken in Niger and northern Nigeria and is the "lingua franca" in other regions of Westafrica.



Some members of the association Makaranta e.V.


Kurt Gerhardt

Chairman, former journalist at WDR public radio (Cologne), correspondent in Bonn and Brussels

Kurt Gerhardt worked as Country Director of the German Volunteer Service, DED, in Niger from 1983 to 1986. He had the idea of setting up Makaranta. He is also one of the initiators of "Bonner Aufruf", an appeal for "a different policy of development" – see English version: Bonner Aufruf

Georg Bungter

Deputy Chairman, former editor at WDR public radio (Cologne)


Günter Schlicht

Treasurer, Lawyer in Cologne

He has long held the conviction that Africa needs our support and that primary education is a crucial area of concern.


Helmut Rehmsen


Helmut Rehmsen works as a freelance journalist and presenter for the WDR radio network. He became aware of development issues through his work as producer of the WDR-2 radio program "Mittagsmagazin".


Dr. Udo Bude

Former head of the department primary education for the DSE -- "Deutsche Stiftung für internationale Entwicklung" (Foundation for International Development).

Has spent many years in Cameroon and Pakistan. Numerous publications concerning education and development in the third world.