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!
Why all the fuss about getting more girls in school?
If you educate a girl, you can change the world. There will be less poverty, fewer cases of HIV, there will be fewer child brides and fewer cases of young girls dying in childbirth.
Education gives girls the power to make choices. The power to get an education, stay health, marry when she wants to, and have health, happy children when she is ready.
If you haven't alread seen the short video, The Girl Effect, please take a look.
The Alliance is proud to focus our education efforts on increasing the number of girls who receive a quality education.
Thanks for joining us in this important effort!
The Alliance is committed to expanding educational opportunities for village children, especially girls. School latrines and village wells have opened the door for many more young women to pursue their goals. In addition, our outreach with village education councils has helped them see the importance of both boys and girls receiving quality educational instruction.
Thanks to our donors efforts, our schools have a 21% higher female enrollment rate than the national average in Mali!
This upcoming year we plan to construct a new school in Neneko. In addition, we will add increased professional development for our teachers. We will partner with the Ministry of Education to provide in-depth training on reading and writing fundamentals.
I will be visiting our schools in September and can't wait to share some inspiring stories with you then.
700 girls are enrolled in 11 elementary schools this year due to the Ouelessebougou Alliance's involvement and the donors that have made it all happen! Our staff and board continue to have so much hope for the village children in 11 rural villages. Unlike their parents, these children have access to a school, teachers, and quality learning. The Ouelessebougou Alliance began its role in education in the early 90's. At that point few villages had an education program and the idea of sending girls to school was uncommon and unrealistic. Our partnership with the Mali Ministry of Education over the years has been a great benefit to the teachers in our schools. Our teachers have made great progress over the years as they have learned to transition from corporal punishment and rote memorization techniques to participatory learning in the classroom.
This year it costs just $20 to give a girl the opportunity to go to school, learn from a trained teacher, and have the supplies needed for quality education!
Thanks for your support of this important and progressive initiative!
Sincerely, Jen Beckstead Executive Director
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