AGSP/Guinea At a Glance:
World Education has partnered with eight local organizations in Guinea to help provide scholarships, find and train mentors, and oversee the program. World Education also conducts capacity building activities with each NGO to strengthen their skills. AGSP local partners in Guinea include Club des Amis du Monde (CAM, Kindia and Labé), Association pour la Promotion des Filles en Guinée (APROFIG, Kankan), Association Sauvons les Enfants Déshérités (ASED, Faranah and Conakry), Association Guinéenne pour l’Environnement et le Développement (ADEG, Mamou), Zalikwélé Animateurs Communautaires (ZALI-AC, N’Zérékoré), and Volontaires Guinéens pour le Développement (VGD, Boké ). In Year 6, together with the NGOs, World Education has provided scholarships to 4,291 continuing AGSP scholars of whom 3,736 are girls and 555 are boys, and is implementing the program in 532 schools.
To date, 37,360 scholarships have been awarded to 33,688 girls and 3,672 boys.
Scholarships include school supplies, books, uniforms, a backpack, a hurricane lamp, soap, shoes and sanitary pads (for the girls). In prior years, scholar selection was conducted as a transparent process involving the Ministry of Education, school administrators, parents’ association members, teachers, and representatives from organizations working with girls’ education in Guinea. AGSP is scheduled to end in 2011, so to avoid raising expectations and to help bring the program to a responsible end, this year, as instructed by the donor, no new scholars were selected resulting in significantly decreased numbers from previous years.
Table 1 AGSP Scholars in Guinea Year Six
Table 2. AGSP Scholarship Distribution in Guinea
In Guinea, there are more than 500 mentors, comprised of members of parents’ associations, girls’ education alliances, school management committees, and school administrators. All mentors are supported by NGO field agents, who contribute to a dynamic mentoring component.
The goal of the mentoring activities is to provide the scholarship recipients with role models, access to sound advice and someone to share ideas with about the future. The mentors provide the students with academic help and are resources for other questions related to issues such as nutrition, adolescent reproductive health (including preventing unwanted pregnancies and the spread of HIV/AIDS), environmental issues, and future opportunities for girls who wish to continue their education, such as technical or trade education, attending university or professional schools.
The AGSP NGO partners have rolled out the mentor training of trainers, facilitating the process using modules from the USAID Mentoring Resource Guide. AGSP has printed more than 300 Guides, which have been printed and distributed to the mentors who attend the training sessions.
One of the major assets of the program is the community support and commitment for AGSP, demonstrated by active participation in program implementation by the parents’ associations (APEAE), local Girls’ Education Alliances, and the CAPEAE,. This community support has resulted in improved academic performance, particularly for the girl scholars. The community has also been very involved in organizing the school committees and selecting vendors for procuring scholarship items.
A Mentoring Success Story: Shared by Manou Condé
Growing and developing as adolescents is an exciting time. But it is also filled with anxiety for young girls as they go through the physical and emotional changes. Oftentimes, in this culture, it is difficult for young girls to talk about their fears or ask questions about the changes their bodies and emotions are going through. It is considered “taboo” to broach sensitive subjects of puberty and sexuality and girls don’t have an opportunity to discuss their feelings or ask questions.
Manou Condé, a 6th grade girl scholar in Kankan, who is a beneficiary of the sanitary napkins that were made available by Procter & Gamble, opens up about the benefits of this program beyond just getting maxi pads. “I am one of the lucky girls who received the sanitary napkins as part of my scholarship package. But this project is about more than just getting pads. It has provided us with an opportunity to talk about some of these otherwise taboo subjects under the broader theme, of personal hygiene.” Manou discusses how when the girls received the pads, many had never been exposed to sanitary pads. AGSP gave them an opportunity to express their curiosity about these things and ask questions. A year later, Manou says that getting the pads and learning how to use them really changed the girls’ lives. Other girls who didn’t receive the pads came to Manou wanting to know more. It gave her the opportunity to share what she had learned through the training and from the female role model she was paired up with through the program. Being able to do this gave Manou a sense of importance, and even her friends and family have begun to see her differently.
Ambassabors' Girls' Scholarship Program (AGSP) is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development