Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal

 
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Women's Global Education Project to Speak at United Nations Girls' Education Initiative Global Conference

Women's Global Education Project is proud to announce that we have been selected by the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative to speak at their global conference this May 17-20 in Dakar, Senegal!

Executive Director Amy Maglio and Women's Global Senegal Project Coordinator Adji Senghor will be among the 150 presenters and delegates from around the world who will be attending and speaking at the "E4: Engendering Empowerment: Education and Equality" conference.

Amy will be speaking about the work of Women's Global in Senegal and Kenya, talking specifically about barriers we found to girls' education in the communities where we work. Amy will also present ways in which Women's Global has helped our communities remove these barriers so more girls enroll, attend and succeed in school.

During her trip to Senegal, Amy will also visit our program in Sine-Saloum, a day-long bus ride from Dakar. Women's Global has worked in the rural Sine-Saloum region since our inception in 2003.

Links:

Mossane Thiaw, age 13, is in sixth grade at Sainte-Thérèse Elementary School in Senegal and has been a Women's Global scholarship recipient since 2005. Because there was no school in her home village, Mossane mostly lives with her grandparents who live near Sainte-Thérèse.

Mossane and her grandmother, Sylvie, recently caught up with Women's Global:

Mossane: I visit my parents regularly but live with my grandparents and my six uncles, all of whom go to high school. I live with them so I can go to school. I get up at 6 a.m. every day to sweep the house and help wash up after the family breakfast. I also help with all the meals. We often eat couscous in the morning, maybe thieboudienne (Senegalese dish of fish, rice and tomato sauce) at noon, and couscous again at night.

At 7:30 am, I leave to go to school. I take courses in math, history, geography, observation, civic education, ethics, health education, drawing, French, and singing. My favorite subject is math, and I always do well in it.

One of the proudest days of my life was the day I received my books and school bag for the first time. I am so thankful for this scholarship that allows me to go to school. When I finish my studies, I want to be a doctor and help others who have no means to help themselves.

Sylvie (Mossane's grandmother): My husband and I wanted to help Mossane because there is no school in her village. I have no daughter, and I want to help Mossane with her education. We are thankful that she can receive a scholarship because my husband’s salary is insufficient to fully support our family, much less send her to school.

Because she is in school, Mossane has a better outlook on life and work, and she has developed good habits that will help her throughout life. The whole neighborhood sees her success and wants this same scholarship!

Women
Women's Global Senegal secondary students

Women's Global Education Project is proud to announce that our Senegal program finished school year 2008-2009 with flying colors:

* 60 percent of our secondary school full scholars finished in the TOP FIVE of their class

* Nearly half of our primary school full scholars finished among the TOP FIVE of their class

Their success is especially commendable considering many of these scholars are the first girls in their families to go to school and can be among only a handful of girls in their classroom. Their academic success is a testament to the effectiveness of Sisters To School, the commitment of their families, the hard work and dedication of our girls, and the support of people like you who keep this project going!

Throughout our years working in Senegal, we have found many challenges that can keep girls from finishing their education, even after they manage to enroll in school. Because of your support, Women's Global has been able to focus support programs on these issues to help our scholars stay in school despite these enormous challenges:

Bias towards boys and overreliance on girls for home and farm chores: Women’s Global works to bring awareness about the importance of educating girls to a community as a whole and works with families and communities to help them give time and space to their daughters for schooling and homework.

Lack of overall support in the community and lack of role models: Women’s Global community awareness programs target all members of a community to promote the importance of girls’ education to girls, boys, men, and women. Our mentorship programs bring scholars into regular contact with female role models, and our adult literacy classes are aimed specifically at helping mothers support their daughters in school. We also provide tutoring to help scholars excel and pass rigorous national grade-level exams.

Health issues (including menstruation) and cultural practices such as early marriage: Women’s Global provides mosquito nets, medical treatment and health workshops to scholars and their families to prevent malaria, dysentery and other illnesses. We help educate girls about menstruation and help them get access to sanitary supplies. Our community awareness programs encourage girls and their families to finish school before getting married.

We truly could not do this work without you. Thank you for supporting Women's Global Education Project!

Women's Global Senegal staff have recently been visiting the homes of our scholars to get feedback about how the program has been working for the scholars and their families. When possible, village leaders have also been included in these visits. The feedback has been very positive, and has been a testimony to the personal difference our work is having on individual lives, families and communities.

Here are comments from two of the parents who spoke with us:

Lucie Diatta, gardener, mother of scholar Christine Diouf. Christine is a star student who leads her class

“This program is wonderful! We know how much you’re investing in our daughter, and we want more than anything for her to succeed. I serve as president of our village women’s group, and I’ve told them at every meeting they need to send their children to school. I actually used to go to school as a girl, but I had to drop out quite early because my parents could no longer afford it. Now, as the only woman in the group who went to school at all, it’s me who has to do all the accounting. If it were not for your support, we might not be able to afford to keep Christine in school either. I am thankful there is another option for her.”

Saliou Segnane, vegetable carter, father of scholar Aissatou Segnane

"Now that I understand the importance of education, I'm going to try my best to have the rest of my children attend school--even if I have to sell my cart! This program really helps those of us in poor villages. Without this program, Aissatou would not be going to school, because we would not be able to afford it. We pray a lot for you because we know what this program does for our children. Aïssatou is the first of my children to go to school, because before, I didn't know how important school was. Now I've told all my neighbors to send their children to school, especially the girls!"

We would not be able to have this kind of impact without all your support--thank you!

Thank you for your recent support of Women's Global Education Project Senegal! With your help, Women's Global is making a measurable difference in the lives of our scholars, their families and their communities, and is making a positive impact on the state of girls' education in the villages where we work.

Women's Global Senegal partner Union Democratique Des Ensiegnantes de Senegal (UDEN) recently completed an analysis of the impact of our scholarship, support and awareness programs. Their analysis found that:

1. After a specific community participated in our girls' education awareness programs, there was a marked increase in the number of resident girls in that community who attended school

2. Over the five years that Women's Global and UDEN have worked in these communities, the number of elementary and secondary schools have steadily increased as more community leaders recognize the value of education, especially for girls

3. In these communities, academic success among girls has been on the rise, and fewer girls are dropping out of school prematurely

We could not do this work without your continued support. Thank you for your commitment to the fight against global poverty through the education of girls!

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Project Leader

Amy Maglio

Founder
Oak Park, Illinois United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal