Hello everyone, some people reading this may have read part of the other, general blog where i wrote while in Uganda and Kenya this past summer where discussed the CEA and the projects I was working on there.  Now that the CEA has taken off so well i decided to devote a blog to follow its progress and programs.

The idea for Chess for Education Abroad, Inc.  (CEA) came after realizing how well a few little ideas fit together that could continue to build on the success of the chess club I started at the Restore Academy in Gulu, Northern Uganda.

The basic idea for the CEA is that we make connections between chess clubs and other organizations in the US and develop and nuture chess clubs abroad in rural and disadvantaged schools in developing economies.

US chess clubs will partner with overseas schools to provide chess supplies, hirer tutors and give small scholarships for tournaments. Each of these are relatively small sums. Chess supplies will cost less than $30 (though more with books) and maybe that again to ship them overseas (for now we have volunteer contacts to bring supplies to most locations). In schools where we could not find volunteers, tutors would only cost 10-20 dollars a month.  Lastly, scholarships would not only help with student fees to (which for many children in the areas where we work are hard often to meet) but also encourage the clubs and tournaments.   Prizes would  be small by US standards but would cover 20/15/10% of tuition for 1st/2nd/3rd places, relatively.

We envision chess clubs holding tournaments with a portion of the entry fee going to the CEA clubs overseas.  Our goal is to help both the supporting US club members expanding their global perspective as well as develop quality chess clubs in areas where rote memorization and resourceless classes are what “education” means.  Currently interactive communication between clubs in the US and clubs overseas will be limited because of limited web access in these overseas rural areas.  We expect this to start to change soon as the internet access expands.

All of the CEA staff is made of volunteers who donate themselves to the organization and its programs.  We will be partnering with educational organizations abroad to continue to expand our contacts. Already, organizations like the Global Literacy Project and Invisible Children, though informally, have expressed a strong interest and work closely with several dozen schools in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa.

I have already set up the second and third pilot programs in Kakemer and Malaba in Western Kenya at the Kakemer Resource Center and the Isegeretoto Primary School. The 1st pilot program in Uganda was at a secondary school, while both of these programs involve only or a mix of primary students.  So far each of the programs have been beyond expectation successes.

I am also planning on setting up 3-5 more pilot programs in Indonesia on my Fulbright grant starting in August.  And I would like to introduce XianQi, or Chinese Chess, to one school while in Indonesia as well.

After the CEA is settled, i.e. all pilot programs are running well, we have a stable support base in the US from partnering clubs, all incorporation documents have been finalized and we have worked out a set curriculum, the non-profit will start setting up chess programs vicariously. Hopefully this goal will be achieved around a year from this post in 2010.

* *  If you would like to help and know of a possible chess club in the states that may be willing to hold such tournaments, please leave a comment with details. * **

Thank you for reading,

Paul Chiariello