Debbie Fredo

Deborah Fredo spent fifteen years residing in Mali co-founding and working at the Institute for Popular Education (IEP) before returning to Elmira, NY in 2011.  Prior to those years, she worked at World Education for West Africa programs and since those years has worked at Education Development Center (EDC) as Senior International Technical Advisor. 


During her years at IEP, Deborah worked in national language literacy and adult education, curriculum design in support of Mali’s education reform, and in teacher training.  A labor of love was the co-founding of the pre-K through 9th grade Ciwara Community School in Kati, Mali which served as a demonstration site for learner-centered bilingual education and whose materials and methods were disseminated to a larger network of public and community schools through IEP’s Read Learn Lead program, funded by the Hewlett Foundation. 


Deborah also managed the many international partnerships that were formed with and in support of the Ciwara School.  They included the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement from Selma, Alabama, MSU’s Residential College for the Arts and Humanities, Leiden University and, notably, several CIE graduates who, in a personal capacity, lent their “co-visionary” support and expertise to the effort including Jane Benbow, Marla Solomon, Joan Dixon, Anne Dodge and Sue Thrasher, to name a few! 


Alongside IEP co-founders Maria Diarra Keita and Cheick Oumar Coulibaly, Deborah says she used everything she learned at CIE, re-tooling principles and practices to fit the evolving landscape of a civil society organization working to transform education in Mali. 


For the past six years, in addition to her work with EDC, Deborah has also been teaching Service Learning courses at Notre Dame High School in Elmira, NY.  Deborah returned to Elmira with six Ciwara School 9th grade graduates who attended high school at Notre Dame and are now winding their way through various college programs.[8-20]




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CIE Graduate