Results and the Way Forward
World Education has provided scholarships funded by the US government to girls at the primary school level in Northern Mali, specifically in grades 4, 5, and 6. The impact of the scholarships at the primary level has been dramatic. Enrollment of girls has increased, and girls are doing much better in school (their attendance has improved, their grades are higher, and sometimes they are top of the class — outperforming the boys). The heightened awareness of the importance of girls' education is evident among teachers and in communities that benefit from the scholarship program. Mothers have re-arranged household chores so that their daughters can get to school on time and can study in the evenings. There is evidence that families are willing to delay marriage, and in some cases married girls have returned to school to continue their education.
Not all the girls want to continue their studies beyond primary school, nor are all families willing to support them to enroll in secondary school. For some of them, this involves living away from home, and those arrangements are not easy to make even if the costs can be covered. Nonetheless, the scholarships have opened up that possibility for many girls who have successfully completed primary school, and provide an incentive to other girls and communities.
Northern Mali Girls' Scholarship Program
With contributions from generous individuals and private funders such as Charles Ellis and the HW Wilson Foundation, among others, World Education launched the Northern Mali Girls' Scholarship Program to provide secondary school education to girls who worked so hard to successfully complete primary school. A strong network of parents, local NGOs, and local businesses in Northern Mali have also been mobilized to support the endeavor. To date, over 660 girls have been supported through this program in Northern Mali. To contribute, please go to www.worlded.org.
The Batonga Girls' Education Program
The Batonga Foundation of Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo, has selected World Education as its partner to provide education support to former AGSP scholars in Benin and in Kidal, Mali through the Batonga Girls' Education Program. AGSP scholars who have successfully completed their primary education and wish to go on to secondary school have been selected for further support. Emphasis is placed on developing mentoring activities that will help the beneficiaries build confidence, and provide them with vital personal and moral support to succeed either in middle school, technical or vocational school. Key elements of World Education's strategy include: 1) orientation of partners; 2) provision of scholarships to girls; 3) supporting activities (including mentoring) and scholarship tracking. Monitoring and evaluation are integral components of the program.
The Batonga Girls' Education Program is providing 229 former AGSP scholars who successfully passed their exams in Benin with scholarships and is managed by World Education's two NGO partners Actions Communautaires pour le Développement Durable (ACDD), and Groupe d'Action pour la Justice et l'Égalité Sociale (GAJES). In Mali, the program supports 75 former AGSP scholars managed by Aide à l'Enfant du Désert et du Sahel (AEDS) in Kidal.
The Batonga Foundation was created with the principal purpose of educating a generation of young African girls. The objectives are to: 1) support a program that helps select girls prepare themselves for eventual employment by continuing their scholarship support through middle, vocational, and technical schools, agricultural college, nursing school or other such skill-based adult learning activities, and 2) provide supporting activities that will help girls build confidence and acquire a sense of greater possibilities for their futures.
The Batonga Girls' Education Program supports the trustees' vision to have an impact on one generation of African women in Benin and Mali by supporting their education. Recipients of the support are AGSP graduates, all of whom are either girls orphaned by AIDS, disabled, or other underprivileged girls who would otherwise have no access to secondary education. World Ed will administer, over each school year period, about 305 secondary school girls' scholarships, mentoring programs, and other supporting activities in Benin and Mali.
Ambassabors' Girls' Scholarship Program (AGSP) is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development