Rural Niger, West Africa has a 10% literacy rate, and girls rarely progress past the fourth grade - instead staying at home to work or marrying as young teens. RAIN offers mentoring to at-risk nomadic and rural girls to keep them succeeding in school. Girls learn from local women volunteering as mentors in traditional and life skills. Mentors are also trained in hygiene as well as gender specific health and life issues to offer guidance and advocate with parents and teachers.
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. Girls of rural nomadic families struggle to stay in school, working against cultural norms and poverty, dropping out before reaching middle school. Nomadic families don't always understand the value of education and need their children at home to help. Early marriage contributes to poverty and overpopulation, creating an unending cycle of lost potential. Though the country is growing, without education the future is bleak for nomadic people.
How will this project solve this problem?
Mentors meet weekly with girls, counseling and teaching practical skills. They advise them regarding health, sexuality, and avoidance of early marriage, and advocate for them with parents who don't see the value of education and with teachers when they fall behind. The practical skills the girls learn motivates parents to keep them in school and fosters independence. The local women serving as mentors gain literacy, community esteem and new livelihoods through RAIN sponsored enterprise.
Potential Long Term Impact
Mentoring at-risk girls succeeding in school and raises the value of education community wide. Girls that stay in school delay marriage, have fewer children and develop more durable livelihoods. Communities with mentoring programs see an increase in attendance, and mentored girls are now graduating high school, the first to do so. Mentors gain confidence as "wise women" and profits from enterprises such as herding in part is invested back into the program.
Total Funding Received to Date: $16,237
Remaining Goal to be Funded: $3,763
Total Funding Goal: $20,000