Rakia and Fatima studying
As the new decade approaches, we are proud to share the following programmatic successes and achievements from the last year:
- 377 girls were mentored through our Mentorship Program.
- Female mentees were 15% less likely to drop out of school compared to unmentored peers.
- 100% of girls in our pilot middle school program passed their year-end national exams on the first round and advanced to the next grade. School enrollment is now up 24%.
- 18 girls received room and board through the Agadez Learning Center, enabling them to attend middle school.
- 8 girls received room and board in our partner communities in Aouderas, enabling them to attend the Aouderas middle school.
Our Mentorship Program successfully provided mentoring to 564 elementary and middle school students, 67% of whom are girls. With the right support, mentorship, and coaching, our female mentees developed the confidence to value their own education and focused on developing new life skills, building competencies, and outperforming their own expectations. Our local, trained female mentors worked with students and their families to ensure students not only attended school regularly, but also thrived and outperformed their peers. As a result, our female mentees were 15% less likely to drop out of school. This year, we also expanded our existing elementary mentorship program in Tagantassou where the school director noted the positive impact of our program on attendance, which ultimately influences students’ ability to continue their education and enroll in middle school.
In addition to serving as their mentee’s advocate, our mentors provided students with traditional and cultural skill-building practices such as weaving, health education such as WASH techniques and reproductive health, and education on issues of gender-based violence. As a result, our education programming successfully provided critical wraparound support that ensured girls’ continued education, well-being, and long-term success.
RAIN recently piloted a Middle School Expansion Program in response to the Nigerien government’s opening of new middle schools in rural communities. Despite increasing access to middle schools, many of these schools remain largely under-resourced, lacking proper facilities and teacher resources. Our Mentorship Program works to support these under resourced schools and provide students with mentorship and supplemental classes to support their educational advancement. Mentors also serve as a bridge and trusted partner to families, many of whom were reluctant to send their girls to middle schools, especially schools that required long travel to attend. Our pilot saw enormous success in its first year – 100% of students at our pilot middle school program passed their year-end national exams on the first round. This is rare in Niger as most students are obliged to sit a second-round oral exam due to low test scores. Further, our pilot also saw that middle school enrollment increased by 24% this year. With the success of this pilot, we expanded to two new middle schools in the Tillabery region and are currently working with 120 middle school students.
2020 will be an exciting year for RAIN as we expand our educational initiatives for girls. With new middle schools and, correspondingly, expanded elementary school populations, we see a unique opportunity to grow our mentoring program. There is a growing demand in our partner communities and their neighboring villages as more families start to see the positive impacts of our programs. For example, in a small village near Ingui, the community has explicitly requested more mentors. While there are already some students enrolled from that area, families are concerned about the long distances their students travel to get to school and believe that mentors’ support and consistent encouragement would help combat this issue. As such, we plan to expand to more than double the mentoring program in this area in the next academic year.
Our educational goals for 2020 are to:
1. Train 137 female mentors (including 25 new mentors) who will mentor a total of 685 youth across elementary and middle schools, 70% of whom will be female students;
2. Provide scholarships for room, board and tuition at the Agadez Learning Center for 40 youth (18 new students from villages that don’t have a local middle school), over 50% of whom will be female students; and
3. Help 75 female students to successfully enroll in or advance to the next grade in middle school. Your support allows us to achieve these milestones.
Group of Mentored Students