Guest Profile

Tim Howarth

Chief Executive Officer

About Tim Howarth

United World Schools (UWS) works in some of the world's poorest regions to give every child access to free education. UWS support local communities to establish and run primary schools for out-of-school children in Myanmar, Nepal and Cambodia.


Tim is Chief Executive of UWS. A trained teacher, Tim has worked in a number of schools and educational organisations in the UK and Australia, responsible for staff performance, development and training. 


As an educational consultant, Tim worked with head teachers and school leaders to develop teaching and leadership capacity in UK schools.


Since 2011 Tim increasingly devoted his time to growing and scaling the work of UWS, a charity that his family founded in 2009. Tim was initially a UWS volunteer, then consultant, became Chief Operating Officer in 2012, and Chief Executive in 2015. 


Under Tim's leadership, and working with the committed and passionate UWS Team, UWS has grown - and continues to grow - rapidly. Since 2009 over 30,000 previously out of school children have been able to attend school and learn to read, write and count. 


Today UWS run over 200 UWS Community Schools and learning sites in remote regions of SE Asia, supported by a generous network of Partner Schools and like-minded organisations both in the UK and around the world.   


United World Schools is a 2019 WISE Award Winner for educational innovation and impact.

Episode Overview

CEO of United World Schools (UWS), Tim Howarth, joins Alberto Lidji to shed light on their 200 schools in Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal and to celebrate their 2019 WISE Award for educational innovation.


UWS is one of 2019’s WISE Award Winners. They were presented a WISE Award for their innovative approach and scalable model; they have had 30,000 schoolchildren through their schools in the past 10 years; they have strong public/private partnerships; and they’re extremely focused on empowering local communities.


UWS started off as a small family charity in the UK and over the past decade has built 200 schools in communities that previously had no access to education – they embrace a model that is low cost, scalable, replicable and simple; a typical school has approximately 150-200 children and is located in remote areas of their respective countries, where local communities are often ethnic minorities that do not speak the national language. Furthermore, these communities are usually at or below the poverty line. UWS are unequivocal in their stance: local communities need to be empowered, they need to be part of the solution and they need to be involved as new schools are built.


When asked what prompted UWS – a UK charity – to enter and operate in Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal, Tim mentioned that it was driven by a mix of strategy, fit and opportunity. They initially had connections in Cambodia, which presented a good opportunity to enter that market.  Subsequently, as they began to scale up successfully they considered what other countries might be in need of their work and that took them to Myanmar and Nepal.


They have ambitions to grow, reach many more schoolchildren, expand geographically and help achieve Goal 4 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all.


Tim’s key takeaway: Be absolutely focused on delivering your mission – use it as your North Star!

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Additional Resources

UWS – United World Schools



WISE Awards (World Innovation Summit for Education)



Tim Howarth – LinkedIn


United World Schools – Twitter

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