The number of girls now attending school in OA's 11 schools increased to an all time high of 846 during this most recent school year! Our work educating parents on the importance of girls attending school continues to make a difference and YOUR support continues to fund educational opportunities for those girls whose familes can't afford it.
It is our moral obligation to empower these young girls. But even from a practical standpoint, it makes sense. An article from November 2013 in The Economist states, "Economists see reducing sexual inequality in education as a vital part of promoting development. The failure to educate girls limits economic growth in the developing world by wasting human capital."
Please continue to invest in these young girl's lives and we'll do our part to ensure that their schools are well-equipped with qualified teachers, books and supplies.
The Alliance's Field Director just visited the village of Kaban. We support a primary grade school in Kaban and are so pleased that out of all students enrolled, 51% are girls! This has not always been the case due to practical and cultural reasons. Historically, girls were expected to stay at home and help with chores such as gathering firewood, finding water and watching their siblings. As the Alliance started partnering with villages to build primary grade schools, one of our top priorities was to establish Village Education Councils.
The councils are comprised of members from the village, including women. They work with Alliance staff to set the education goals for the village AND share the information they learn with others. And, one of the key pieces of information they learn is how important it is for all children to receive an education.
We especially love the photo of the little 3 year old who just loves going to school because she is already learning to read and write.
A few quick facts from a UNESCO 2013 fact sheet:
Educated women are less likely to die in childbirth.
Mothers' education improves child nutrition
Girls with higher levels of education are less likely to have children at an early age.
Girls with higher levels of educaiton are less likely to get married at an early age.
YOUR SUPPORT CHANGES LIVES!
A new school is rising in Bassa and plans to be open by November 1st! We are thrilled by the involvement of Bassa villagers in helping this happen. Villagers saved10% of the cost and created some goals they want to meet with the wonderful addition of this new school. A top goal of the village is to increase enrollment, especially among girls. In addition, they want to offer more adult literacy classes to women in the village.
The message is clear: If you want to change the world, educate a girl. We are grateful for your support to keep girls in school and look forward to sharing enrollment statistics at the end of the 140-15 school year!
The Alliance is committed to increasing the number of girls in school and seeing those girls complete their high school education. We work with the village education councils and the student/parents associations to educate them about the importance of young girls going to school. We build latrines with each of our schools so that girls feel safe and comfortable at school. The vaccinations we give and the mosquito nets we provide help ensure that each child in our schools will hopefully avoid major illnesses and maintain a high attendance.
Through out partnership with Days for Girls we learned that once young women start having their periods, they often miss up to one week a month from school. For those in remote villages, feminine hygiene products may consist of leaves or old rags. For those who can afford it, a pack of 10 sanitation pads costs a dollar--and most of our villagers live on less than $1 per day.
Women and girls from Utah worked furiously to complete 1200 feminine hygiene kits that we then delivered to various school when we were there in February. The young women in Mali were grateful not only for the kits but also for the fact that young women across the world cared enough about them to make these "gifts."
Alliance Project Director provided trainings on the kits and menstruation at each school--so that the girls left with a kit knowing how to use it and how to better understand their own bodies.
Making sure girls are attending school and actually learning involves many different things. The Alliance starts by working with a village to create a Village Education Council. Council members determine the goals of the village and are encouraged by Alliance staff to recognize the value in all children receiving a quality education.
The Alliance partners with villages to make sure a school is in close proximity to the village and that is has a latrine (which definitely increases the percentage of girls who attend).
This past month the Alliance focused on two other important factors: Handwashing buckets and teacher training.
83 handwashing buckets were distributed to our 11 schools. Teachers and students were trained on the importance of hand washing in preventing disease and infection. The more you wash your hands, the healthier you will be and the less school you will miss!
We also had 55 teachers participate in teacher training during late October and November. The trainings were on fundamentals of math and how to teach French reading and writing. During the month of December teachers were also trained in Bambara, the native language of Mali.
For our students to achieve academic success we know we must invest in quality teachers and many other little things like handwashing buckets so thank you for all your support! It definitely takes a village to send a girl to school!
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