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