Dreams Realized & Moving Toward Targeted Advocacy
We are so very happy to report that as of our last two reports, "the success story” where we highlighted 2 of our scholars obtaining Bachelor & Associate Degrees from 2 local Universities in Liberia, we have had several other reasons to celebrate. We are excited to share with you our newest success stories:
OUR 2014 HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE!!!
We are so honored and proud to announce that our AGLI High Schol Senior Ernestine earned a High School Diploma from the Effort Baptist Church School on June 30, 2014. Ernestine has applied to the Foundation’s International Scholarship program for tertiary schools and a determination will be made as soon as possible to get her enrolled into college.
GPFA's INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS OFF TO A NEW START!!!
Four of our scholars (all West African female students) left for the United States of America in the second week of August, 2014 to study at various Universities/Colleges. They include: Georgia , Yvonne, Anita and Delight. Georgia is our first Liberian student to gain admission into a full Master Program at the University of Arkansas, Clinton School of Public Service in Arkansas, USA. Georgia holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication (2011) from the African Methodist Episcopal University in Monrovia. Yvonne, a sophomore Scholar at the United Methodist University was able to matriculate to the Cedar Crest University undergraduate program in Pennsylvania, USA, where she is currently studying for a Bachelor in Social Work. Delight and Anita, both Ghanaian nationals, are pursuing undergraduate degrees at Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia, USA and Barnard College, New York, USA respectively. These 4 young women were awarded international scholarships on January 30, 2014 at the Foundation's 2nd Gala Anniversary held in Liberia.
GATHERING OF SCHOLARS
On June 17, 2014, our 2nd Gathering of Scholars took place at the Musu's Spot Conference Hall, in Congo Town, Liberia. Twenty-five girls were opportune to interact with the Founder/President of GPFA, Madam Gbowee and other members of GPFA management team. In this gathering, the girls were encouraged to share personal stories and challenges they faced in school and life in general. It was also a time of getting to know each other - especially the girls who were attending schools outside Monrovia. It was a great time of experience sharing. Our international Education Program intern, conducted an hour of training on how to write resumes (curriculum vitae) and sit for an interview. We had a visiting dean and professor from a university in California come share with the students about life on a US College campus. The highlight of the gathering was the determination of the express need to get into targeted advocacy to help eradicate sexual exploitation of young girls on secondar and tertiary school campuses.
INTERNSHIP PLACEMENTS OF LOCAL SCHOLARS
Under the AGLI scholarship program, the scholars are required to participate in a month-long community service internship with various Institutions, as a way of giving back to their respective communities and/or counties. The Program Department at the Foundation worked with the girls to identify areas for placement based on their area of specialization at their respective Universities/Colleges. These girls are placed on internship at different intervals throughout the year, with perdiem/stipend provided to them for their time with their host facility. As part of the placement process, our program staff accompanied some of the girls within Monrovia for placement after an official letter was sent and the institution(s) confirmed their acceptance. Some of these Institutions included the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital, Liberia Observer Corporation and the Center for Agriculture & Research Institution (CARI). Mid-way into their internships, we had to pull the girls out of the facilities due to the heightened outbreak of the EBOLA Virus in Liberia. For now, with schools closed, we have enlisted the help of the older students to go out and do targeted EBOLA outreach and awareness. They were given training by a specialist from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare from its department of Prevention and Disease Control on the education about, eradication and prevention of the deadly disease.
GBOWEE PEACE FOUNDATION AFRICA
AFRICAN GIRLS LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE IS ENSURING WOMEN & GIRLS REALIZE THEIR DREAMS
In our last two reports, the success story portion captured graduates at the undergraduate level with Welma and Korto earning Associate of Science Degree in Nursing and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Administration from Mother Patern College of Health Sciences of the Stella Maris and the University of Liberia respectively.
This time we have climbed a step further to capture our students at the Graduate level. We are also excited to share the stories of our first student to be admitted into a Master Program and our Liberian scholar pursuing undergraduate degree in Ghana who had just returned for her summer break.
In less than three years since our founding we are proud to announce that two of our scholars (Grace and Vaiba) have successfully completed their Graduate Certificate studies in Peace Building & Leadership from the Eastern Mennonite University in the United States of America. With support from the Foundation and its partners, many more African women and girls have come to realize their dreams.
We are also delighted to announce that our first ever student to pursue a full Master Degree has gain admission into the prestigious Clinton School of Public Service-University of Arkansas. Her name is Georgia. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication(2011) from the African Methodist Episcopal University in Monrovia,Liberia. Georgia will be joining other students from other parts of the world in August 2014 to begin her Master Program in Public Service.
Above: GPFA Scholar, Georgia displaying her Scholarship Award Letter from the Foundation to Clinton School of Public Service-University of Arkansas
Our Scholar Julateh on Summer Break
Julateh, born in Harbel, Liberia left Liberia in 2012 to pursue undergraduate degree in Computer Science at the Ashesi University College in Ghana. Midway into her studies, Julateh has come back for her summer break and is so excited to give back to her community. She will be returning to Ghana on August 29, 2014 to complete the remaining two years of her studies and is hoping to be able to give back to Liberia. “I really want to share what I have learnt with those who may not have the same opportunity God had given me” were her exact words. Her official internship starts in July but she wants to start giving back now. She visited her high school and has already started talking to authorities there to give her the space to help. What a good example for others to learn.
Monthly Breakfast Walk & Talk
Our monthly Breakfast Walk & Talk for April (Easter Egg Hunt) and May (Mothers & Daughters Walk-a-thon) was held in commemoration of Easter and Mother’s Day respectively. Our “Space of Nothingness” attracted as young as two years old and reignited the need for mentorship, social support and showing appreciation. In April it was “hunting for eggs” and in May it was to show appreciation to not only biological mothers but any women one appreciates in their life.
Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (hereinafter “Foundation”) is proud to announce that we have our second graduate, Korto Johnson who graduated from the University of Liberia on December 18, 2013 under the Foundation’s African Girls Leadership Initiative (AGLI).She has been awarded a scholarship by the Foundation to do her Masters at KU-Leuven in Belgium.
Above: GPFA Scholar, Korto Johnson (Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration) with Mrs. Norris, GPFA Program Assistant at her graduation program in Paynesville, Liberia.
Update on Programs
The Foundation under its African Girls Leadership Initiative (AGLI) presently has 50 scholarship recipients. However, financial aid and school related support have been provided to fourteen students under our two newly launched Our Children’s Fund and President’s Fellows.
The Foundation held a successful Educational Roundtable on December 19th, 2013 under the theme, ”Seeking Solutions, Feasible Alternative Solutions”. This Educational Roundtable brought together thirty-two trainers and specialists from universities government line ministries, vocational and technical institutions. Their discussion in line with the goal was centered on seeking solutions to the present stagnant status of the Educational system in the hope of providing a new way of learning to help alleviate the learning challenges faced by students in Liberia. Above: Participants at the Educational Roundtable held in Monrovia on December 19, 2013
The 2nd Annual Breakfast Walk and Talk End of Year Event under the theme: “Walk for Quality Education” was held on December 21st, 2013 bringing together 300 women, men, girls and boys. This was a ten mile Walk with participants carrying banners with various messages advocating for the provision of quality education for all.
Our first Breakfast Walk and Talk for 2014 was held on February 22nd, 2014 under the theme “Love”. with Rev. Dr. Katurah York Cooper serving as the motivational speaker.
“The Afternoon Enrichment Program is positively impacting the lives of students in River Cess County by both improving and being perceived as improving their academic performances and helping in the development of other life skills. These impacts should not be seen as restricted to Cestos City alone, but rather as covering the entire county of Rivercess, since its only high school, Cestos High is included in the project. These improvements include: Higher scores, higher retention rates, lower pregnancies among female students, increased capacities of schools through provision of materials and training of some instructors/administrators”.
Annual Gathering of Scholars scholars
Above: GPFA’s scholars during a group work session at the Annual Gathering of Scholars
The 2nd Annual Gathering of Gbowee Scholars was held at Musu's Spot on January 29th 2014. The Annual Gathering brought together 40 AGLI beneficiaries from 9 local universities, 5 high schools, 1 vocational school and the Eastern Mennonite University and 3 of our prospective international scholarship recipients for Vassar College, Barnard College and Clinton School of Public Service respectively in the United States of America. This gathering provided the opportunity for them to interact and personally engage Nobel Laureate Madam Leymah Gbowee. The scholars discussed leadership as it relates to women and shared the challenges encountered by female students in schools. These challenges ranged from regular power cut (no electricity) for high school boarding students to study at night and the reality of getting back home late after school due to limited transportation services available in the city for commuting students. Classes are overcrowded due to limited available professors for major courses.
GPFA 2nd Anniversary Fund Raising Dinner was held on January 31st at the Executive Pavilion. Seven International scholarships were awarded. On this day, the AED Technical Institute for Girls and our two new programs earlier mentioned were launched - Our Children Fund and The President’s Fellows.
GPFA Scholars during the 2nd Anniversary Fundraising Dinner at the Executive Pavilion in Monrovia on January 31st, 2014
 End of Project Evaluation Report of the Afterschool Enrichment Program conducted in December 2013 by Phil Tarpeh Dixon
This has been a wonderful Spring/Summer quarter for the Gbowee Peace FoundationAfrica’s (GPFA) Flagship program – the African Girls Leadership Initiative(AGLI). Like we reported last quarter, our scholarship program continuesto grow. To date, we have 18 international scholarships that we arefilling for the 2013 through 2014 school year, and we have filled 53 localscholarships already. The start of the local school year means a busy time atGPFA.
Masters Degree Scholarship inEurope
We have sent our 1st Europe-based Masters hopeful to the Ivory Coast tocomplete the application requirements to attend a Masters level program at aBelgium based-University. This includes taking the Test of English as a ForeignLanguage (TOEFL), and acquiring a visa to Belgium, where the KU LuevenUniversity, our European Master’s Program Scholarship donor islocated. All of this entails full coverage of the student's travel - thisincludes us paying for room and board, airfare, feeding and transportation.
Spring and Summer brought a flurry of activities for GPFA. We sent offseveral Scholars to Ireland, Spain, Ghana and Canada for our Spring/SummerSession Programs. GPFA is so very grateful that with the help of all of youwonderful international and local donors, we are able to continue sendingqualified women to attend colleges and universities within and outside ofLiberia. We continue to screen for females with demonstrable needfor assistance and work with media outlets, local NGOs, high schoolsand government, and the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to identifyqualified prospective students. We recently got the test scores (WAECresults) which we are using to screen college-ready, students on a need-basisfor the 2013-2014 academic year. We take pride in providinga transparent process for students to fairly access our scholarshipopportunities.
Update on GPFA's Programs
We are about to enter the second trench of our Rivercess AfterschoolEnrichment Program, to ensure that students in rural areascontinue to get supported through our Scholarship Program. With onlyone high school in the entire county, we want to be sure to provide thenecessary tools students will need to be successful. To date, we are working oncompiling the necessary books and materials needed for them to have afunctional mini-Library/Resource Center. In mid-July, we completed our Peacethrough Fair Play Annual Youth Camp at the Wulki Farms, where wehosted forty-one 4th through 12th graders, aged 10 to 16years, including 4 visually impaired students. The camp included learning aboutimproving life skills, living peacefully together, tolerating each other nomatter creed, color, or beliefs. Camp participants were fortunate to have on ofLiberia's best [retired] Soccer star come facilitate Sports day with them,They played basketball and soccer; afterward, they spoke about fair play insports, and how that can correlate with fair play in everyday life. Thecamp culminated after several conversations about defining oneself and puttinga spotlight on gender awareness. In this session, they switch roles, where theboys presented from the female point of view, and the girls presented from themale point of view. it was fun and educational and they learned to appreciateeach other more. A Mini-Career day and a Traditional Cultural Dancelearning session closed out the last day of camp. The students were able to seea lot of animals on the farm, ride horses and swim. The camp was a success andthe students had so much fun. Our next program completed was the SegalAmbassadors for Family Planning. A total of eighteen GPFAgraduate, undergraduate and high school scholars attended, representingeight post-secondary institutions and two high schools. The theme ofthe workshop was: Empowering Women and Girls: The Benefits of ReproductiveHealth, Rights and FamilyPlanning. Facilitators were drawn from Medica Mondiale (MM),the Plan Parenthood Association of Liberia (PPAL) and the African Development Alternatives (ADA). Last but not least, we justcompleted GPFA’s 2nd Annual Moving Beyond the Class RoomSymposium was. Held at the National Sports Complex, we had a hugeturnout; over200+ students gathered at the gate of the host facility, despite torrentialrainfall on the day of the program. To gauge the level ofseriousness the prospective attendees attached to learning, an open callwas put out via Radio and Newspaper Ads, along with the posting of Flyers at 36Senior High Schools. We ended up going over our mission limit and allowed one hundredand seventeen of the two hundred students into the Symposium. they hailed from13 of the 15 counties of Liberia and were 8th through 12th graders. Theprimary goal of our Symposium is to expose students to actual opportunitiesbeyond the classroom that will enhance academic performance in their studies,especially in the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Exams and otherpost- secondary assessment testing. We aim to build their competitivedisposition in order to have them seek to self-educatebeyond regular school curriculum and most importantly, have them excel amongsttheir peers globally. This process they understand will help them meet ourscholarship criteria, hence the huge turnout. Our 2nd Annual MBCSymposium was a wonderful success!
Our International Partners – An Update:
Ashesi University, Ghana
An accredited, independent university located in Ghana, AU’sScholarships provided to GPFA includes full tuition for four years, a freelaptop, free meal plan, free accommodation on campus and transportation homeduring the summer months following their first year. This year we have addedtwo more scholarships in collaboration with AU to start in the fall and wintersessions.
Eastern Mennonite University, United States
EMU is a private liberal arts university established in 1917. With fundingfrom USAID, the Foundation provided four (4) women peace activists theopportunity to continue and advance their education at the Women’s PeaceLeadership Academic Cohort Program. The program is a two-year graduatecertificate program and our cohort will be graduating soon. GPFA is exploringfunding possibilities for the 2014-2015 school years right now.
University of Leuven, Belgium
UL is offering two scholarships for African Women to earn their master’sdegrees starting in 2013. GPFA seeks a partnership with Dutch airlines KLM to provide round-trip airfare. All expenses related to study at UL will be covered under the university’s Leymah GboweeFund for African Women. For the 2013 - 2014 academic school year, UL isalso partnering with GPFA to provide two more scholarships in Africa.
University of Seville, Spain
Considered one of Spain’s top universities, UoS is offering one scholarshipfor a GPFA Scholar to earn a master’s degree. In addition to full payment oftuition and housing, UoS will provide the recipient a grant of 6000€ (7295USD) to cover international round-trip airfare, books, medical expenses, and astipend starting fall 2013. GPFA is happy to get the opportunity ofsending one student on UoS' scholarship program with the tuition, roomand board all paid up, where the Student has a choice of gettinga Bachelor of Arts or of Science Degree in any area of study of theirchoosing offered by UoS.
Vassar College, United States
Ranked among the top 25 liberal arts institutions in the United States,Vassar is providing a generous package of four years of full tuition, room andboard, international travel and a stipend for books and supplies to two youngwomen to be identified in collaboration with GPFA to enroll fall 2013. To date,we have sent out ads for the openings, had interviews and recruited two youngwomen worthy of the scholarships. Their preparation process is ongoing.
University of Arkansas - Clinton School of Public Service,United States
University of Arkansas offered GPFA one scholarship to a 2-year Mastersof Public Service degree program. This includes full tuition, housing and astipend. GPFA has set out a call in the region, for prospective recipients andcompleted interviews. At present, GPFA is finalizing the applicationprocess with the top two candidates in order to move into the secondphase of preparing them for the international testings. If successful, thescholarship year will start in fall of 2014.
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas, United States
GPFA was fortunate to have acquired a full four-year tuitionscholarship offer from Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas for two African students.Lyon College is the oldest independent college in Arkansas and is anexclusive liberal arts institution of higher learning; it is consistentlyranked highly by U.S. News and World Report.
University of Indianapolis (Indianapolis Campus) United States
GPFA was awarded One Scholarship for a Student, towards a degreeor non-degree program of their choosing. We have advertised for theopening and also directly contacted schools seeking recommendations, based onneed and grade point average. The application process is ongoing.Originally we had been offered two semesters at their Greece campus.unfortunately we cannot take advantage of this offer due to the closure of thatcampus.
Barnard College, United States
Two Students will have the opportunity via GPFA to attend Barnard College.The scholarships offer includes; Tuition, Room & Board, Books, Supplies, Insurance and the cost of each individual's international flight from their home country to Barnard University. To date theapplication process is ongoing and the successful candidates will be movinginto the second phase of preparation for international testing.
CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) LeadershipAcademy: Spain & Ghana
Two Liberian High School girls got the opportunity to take advantage oftwo non-Degree seeking Summer Scholarships to attend andexperience CIEE's Leadership Academy. Their meals, transportation, roomand board were covered by CIEE. For 2013, the countries of exchange were Ghanaand Spain and the GPFA scholars had a wonderful time, doing communityservice, meeting new friends, and learning about their host countryculture. The facilitators were highly impressed with the young women. Welook forward to having scholars who fit the criteria attend again next year.
Polytechnic University, Mozambique
Mozambique's Polytechnic University was happy to give GPFA two scholarshipoffers for Liberian students. Their school's tuition will be paid toward themstudying their Bachelors of Arts, or Bachelors of Science degree in theirprogram area of their choosing. The application process is ongoing andspecifically making a call for Portuguese speaking applicants.
With the celebration of our first year working with women andgirls and ensuring those in our program get to be their very best selves toaccomplish their educational aims, we are already looking toward the future ofthe organization. With the help of donors like you, GPFA shall continue togrow. Our happiness stemmed from the fact that we were able to offerso many scholarships to deserving young women, all with the help of financial/in-kinddonations from people like you, our GlobalGiving donors. We have addedseveral new scholarship criteria to benefit females of the disabled communityin Liberia. This was a crowning moment for us at GPFA as we always wanted to beable to give equal opportunities to people from all walks of life and thisscholarship offer serves that purpose. We continue our efforts to providescholarships for Liberian women to attend domestic colleges and universities,and establish partnerships with institutions to obtain scholarships. Withthe nearly $20,000USD raised at the inception of the Foundation's workfrom private Liberian citizens, we continue to work on placing women andgirls at major colleges, universities and technical institutions. TheFoundation’s collaborations and partnerships are broad and deep as it developsrelationships with the local and regional communities, academic institutionsand global companies.
GPFA is excited about all of the possibilities that exist futuristically. Welook forward to doubling our partners for the rest of 2013, with the aim of exponentiallyincreasing our educational placement in schools at home and abroad.
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Coordinator of External Affairs at Gbowee Peace Foundation USA