Two girls standing and smiling outside in Ethiopia

Who We Are

imagine1day was founded in 2007 by Canadian philanthropists Shannon and Chip Wilson with the goal of ensuring that all Ethiopian children have access to quality education, free of foreign aid, by 2030.

Working under Ethiopia’s public education system and in partnership with the country’s federal, regional and district government education offices, we have implemented programs and activities that have significantly improved the education of over 265,000 children annually.

Since its inception, imagine1day has created access to quality education for over 93,488 primary-age out-of-school children in Ethiopia and dramatically improved quality of education, community engagement and government leadership across ten districts and 507 schools.


We believe all children should have the chance to go to school

Working within the public education system, we align each of our projects with Ethiopia’s current and long term education priorities, aligning with their vision of a future where all children have the chance to go to school. We are helping to create systemic and lasting change to solidify a future of education that will continue long after we’ve gone.


We invest in people

From the local village to senior government, we create great leaders. Our work empowers communities to maintain and grow their local schools and pursue the life-changing opportunities education provides.

We form strategic partnerships

We select our partners and choose where to work. We learn what matters to them and what may be standing in their way. We collaborate with the federal and regional governments to determine which districts are priorities. From there, we create plans with district and community leaders.


We invest in leaders

Our leadership development programs catalyze our projects. They transform a traditional model of aid and equip our partners with communication tools to set goals, overcome obstacles and create results they never imagined possible.

We communicate with leaders to ensure they have the capacity and confidence to carry their schools forward. We work on succession plans and goal setting with school principals, the PTA and district administrators.

On the ground

Our team of education experts travel to the most remote communities in rural Ethiopia to implement our projects hands-on, which means we’re able to track every dollar spent and measure the impact of each donation received. 

We’re in the field almost every day, conducting bi-annual monitoring and evaluation with our partners, identifying root causes of challenges and building on our successes.


Communities take ownership

Across all schools in a district, we equip classrooms with supplies and kick off teacher training programs. In communities where schools and infrastructure are required, we work with Parent-Teacher Associations to mobilize cash and in-kind contributions. 

Sports competitions, sanitation initiatives and awareness campaigns are all signs of a community taking ownership and a school becoming the heartbeat of change. To support future school maintenance and programming, we provide seed funding and business training to assist communities with revenue-generating activities.

Our education development model

Education is a national priority for Ethiopia, we’ve learned that the key decisions and bottlenecks that impact schools and children occur at a district level. We implement our projects across districts to ensure our closest partnerships are with committed administrators, communities, and educators who are truly moving the dial.