Elmira, NY Eagle Scout Has Positive International Impact

Mali 1Young students in Mali, Africa will find it a little easier to keep pace with their peers thanks to Bryan Stewart of Elmira, NY.  Working with the Service Learning team at Notre Dame High School in Elmira and the Malian nonprofit Institute for Popular Education (Institut pour l’Education Populaire or IEP), aspiring Eagle Scout, Bryan Stewart of Boy Scout Troop 101 developed a community service project that will support the widespread, electronic distribution of updated educational curricula.

The majority of curriculum materials currently being provided by the Malian government are written in French, a language most young Malians do not understand until the third or fourth grade.  With a goal of educating Malians in their native language of Bambara, IEP hopes to assist children in overcoming the well-documented 3 to 4-year gap in early education.  IEP has created new K-6 curriculum materials, written in Bambara, that will allow more Malian children to keep pace with their peers in terms of early elementary education.

Mali 2Working online with the IEP director and teachers at the Ciwara School in Mali and a team of 15 volunteers, Bryan Stewart took on the task of digitizing the newly created curriculum materials.  Stewart and his team spent days painstakingly categorizing the materials by class, subject and lesson, scanning, and then uploaded the electronic files to a database for distribution across Mali.

“Bryan’s commitment was unwavering throughout the project.  He was organized and effective.  He mobilized family and friends who also contributed to the effort.  Teachers in Mali were impressed with what Bryan was able to accomplish and very appreciative of the jump start his project has given to their work to improve children’s learning outcomes by making digital resources available in Bambara,” stated Deborah Fredo of Notre Dame High School.

Mali 3When asked what the experience meant to him, Stewart responded “I would have to say that this project was more than a project, it was an experience in leadership and an experience in changing the world.”

Bryan Stewart, an active patrol leader at the time, was awarded his Eagle Scout in late 2014 after completing his project and passing his Eagle Board of Review.

The Five Rivers Council facebook® page showcases Eagle Scout projects from throughout the Twin Tiers. Learn more at

Submitted by Brett Powell, on behalf of the Five Rivers Council, BSA.


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