As BRIDGE begins its 10th birthday celebrations, we pause to reflect on our growth and development. It is said that as children reach the age of ten, many start thinking of themselves as being almost teenagers. Some will mature sooner than others while some remain child-like for a few more years – and not just physically, but mentally too. Girls are said to grow faster at this age, often towering over boys of the same age. While many will show positive developments such as improved agility, speed and increase in small muscle coordination, there may be the not-so-welcome signs of puberty, such as oily skin, increased sweating and undesirable hair growth. Children at this age develop a better sense of who they are in the world, with better control over their emotions, and become better skilled at handling conflict and negotiating solutions with friends and families. Additionally, at this age, acceptance by peer groups is a critical factor that has a strong effect on the next level of development, with poor peer acceptance at ten being a strong predictor of behavioural and emotional problems in adolescence. So how is BRIDGE faring as a ‘tween’? While acceptance by peer groups would be advantageous, it has never been a predictor of BRIDGE’s success. The similarities with ten-year olds appear to be limited to the ability to negotiate solutions and better conflict resolution.
With 2019 being a milestone year, BRIDGE celebrates a decade of its existence. Founded by a handful of social activists and edupreneurs, the organisation has had many staff members and supporters who have made their mark and moved on to great things. In the ten years of its operations, BRIDGE has proudly established itself as the go-to organisation for information on convening Communities of Practice, and on Knowledge Management in education. This reputation is evidenced by the number of queries in 2018 not only from organisations in education, but also by those from the fields of Science and Technology, Agriculture, Telecommunications, philanthropy and Corporate Social Investments in education.
Through different types of evaluations enabled by funding partners, BRIDGE has been deliberative about reflecting and critiquing its programmes, its processes and the value it brings to the sector. Some of this work has interrogated the extent to which BRIDGE is meeting its strategic objectives. A keen sense of awareness, areas of development, strategy review and appropriate staffing have been the results of these necessary reflections.
As BRIDGE continues to deliver its programmes around Communities of Practice, Knowledge Management, partnership projects and research, we will host a series of events that celebrate the work of BRIDGE, as well as the people who have made it possible. Through these events, BRIDGE will demonstrate how it has lived its espoused values of partnership and collaboration with its peers over the last decade. If that means acceptance by peers leads to the next developmental stage of BRIDGE, the organisation would gladly welcome such an endorsement. As we look back over the past decade and move forward to the next, may BRIDGE be as agile, speedy and coordinated as the best ten-year olds!
 Education entrepreneurs mashed into one word.