AGSP/Mauritania At a Glance:
The implementation of AGSP in Mauritania is different from that of the other Region 1 AGSP countries. Since there are no school fees, uniforms, textbooks, or school supplies, resources are focused on providing mentoring activities for girls. The Peace Corps, in collaboration with a local NGO (NEDWA) implements the program through Girls' Mentoring Centers. World Education initially had a consultant working as an in–country resource in Mauritania but following discussions with the Ambassador, it was determined that his services were not needed.
AGSP does not provide scholarships to girls in Mauritania. The program collaborates with Peace Corps' Gender and Development program which, to date, has put in place 19 girls' mentoring centers throughout the country. These GMCs across Mauritania provide private tutoring and computer lessons, art classes and creative days, yoga and other sports classes, sessions on effective study–skills, and health and AIDS seminars and other life skills seminars. Members of the GMCs are students from each regional high school and various elementary schools, and they are chosen according to motivation and participation, achievement in school and entrance exams. Local female Peace Corps Volunteers, along with local partners, manage the centers. Locally successful professional women from different sectors (health – including HIV/AIDS, education, information technology, administration, and agriculture) also participate in the centers' activities in order to mentor the girls and provide positive role models. These centers, along with other workshops and conferences, promote and facilitate girls' academic success and their attendance in school.
The GMCs provide a wide–array of activities to support girls in Mauritania. During the school year and over the summer, girls have the opportunity to benefit from internet lessons, health instructions, arts & crafts activities and sports events. A sample of the activities which took place this year follows below.
Internet Lesson: Members of the Kaedi GMC have been learning computer skills all year and were given a chance to apply their new skills over the summer. They met and worked as a group at a local cyber café to set up email accounts. They practiced by emailing each other and they are now prepared to communicate with other GMC members from across the country.
EcoHealth Camp: The five–day event took place in Kaedi and brought 50 5th and 6th grade (primary school) girls together to learn about the environment and health topics. Girls, teachers and chaperones came from 25 different sites ranging from small rural villages to regional capitals, to urban Nouakchott. Participants represented three different local languages used: Pulaar, Soninke, and Hassaniya. The lessons were delivered and translated in all languages so that every girl could participate equally.
Sewing & Dyeing Lesson: The Young Girls Club in Ganki, a small village in the Gorgol region, learned to dye and sew clothing. They were guided through the process by experienced women in the community. The outfits are identical in color and are worn as the "trademark" of the Ganki Girls' Club. They showed off their projects at a local soccer game and wore them to perform AIDS skits they had learned during their Big Sister Little Sister exchange with Kaedi.
Kiffa–Kankossa Exchange: Five representatives from the Kiffa GMC spent three days in the neighboring village of Kankossa. They met eight young women from the village and together participated in environmental education sessions presented by the Peace Corps volunteers. The session topics included preparing a garden plot, identifying local trees and their uses, and the environmental differences between Kiffa and Kankossa. The girls applied this knowledge through a scavenger hunt, nature walk and discussions. The girls from Kiffa also wanted to share their experiences at the GMC with the girls in Kankossa. They presented skits explaining the importance of girls' education and how the GMC supports and encourages their academic success.
Ideabook Translation & Printing: The Girls Mentoring Center Ideabook is a document that was written several years ago, then revised and expanded by a group of GMC managers at a conference this past April. It was published and distributed to all the new Girls' Education and Empowerment volunteers during their training this summer. It includes a "Best Practices" section on topics ranging from member selection to language and translation issues. It gives hundreds of lesson ideas as well as ready–to–use lesson plans in all areas of learning – academic, computer skills, and life skills. In order to make this information accessible to our GMC Mentors, we have translated the Ideabook into French and Arabic. Each center will receive at least one hard copy of the Ideabook in each language as well as electronic versions.
Ambassabors' Girls' Scholarship Program (AGSP) is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development