Jul 19, 2018

How a Scholarship Led to a Career For Sarah

This year, WGEP will give life-changing scholarships to 213 girls in the rural Tharaka region of Kenya. Each of those scholarships includes more than just tuition--it also includes everything a girl needs to succeed, like books, toiletries, FGM/C prevention and workshops.

But that's not all. Our scholars go on become the next generation of leaders and change makers.

WGEP scholars have the support of their teachers, families, local leaders, and entire communities. Girls who have gone through our program frequently come back as event speakers, tutors, volunteers, interns, and even staff members, eager to serve as role models for younger girls who need someone to look up to and show them that the world is full of possibilities.

Meet Sarah Karegi Kiria, former WGEP scholar. Aniceta Kiriga, director of the Tharaka Women's Welfare Program (TWWP), our local partner organization, said that she began noticing that as a beneficiary, Sarah would be very active in the community. She would ask a lot of questions, arrive early for workshops and events, and volunteer to go above and beyond in making sure the other attendees felt welcome. Now, at just 21 years old, she works for TWWP as a Program Outreach Officer!

I joined the Sisters to School program in 2009 while in primary school and attended the Alternative Rite of Passage program to avoid female genital cutting as well. Sisters to School was so helpful in keeping me in school by paying for my secondary school fees and personal items a swell. The program empowered me to realize my full potential and gave me the skills to handle life's toughest challenges!

After I completed my final year of school, I was so excited to be invited to work in the TWWP office. My goal is to go to university to further my education by taking Mass Communication and Journalism classes. A lot of kudos to WGEP’s donors and all program officials for their support, because now that I have a great job, I can assist my parents in paying for my 3 sisters and brother to go to school!

Stories like this are what makes our program and local partnerships so special. Thank you for supporting young girls like Sarah as they step up to become the next generation of inspiring leaders!

Jun 18, 2018

When One Exam Could Determine The Rest Of Your Life

A scholar addresses the crowd of 300 people.
A scholar addresses the crowd of 300 people.

Have you ever felt like your entire future was riding on one test? Maybe before you took the ACT, SAT, the Bar, MCAT, or another big exam? So nerve-racking! Did you get a tutor, or try to go at it alone?

WGEP scholars in Senegal are in their final year of middle school, and are currently getting ready to take an important exam like that--they must pass in oder to proceed to high school. This is a time when many girls drop out of school, particularly if they fail the exam. Parents often decide to keep them out of school, and girls frequently end up marrying early.

That's why we are doing everything we can to make sure these determined young women have everything they need to succeed.

In May, we held a village-based community meeting in Sadgioga. These meetings are a critical part of WGEP’s grassroots approach where we engage directly with parents, village and religious leaders on the importance of educating girls. Over 300 people attended this meeting, and several of our scholars spoke.

The girls told the community members gathered how our tutoring intervention has given them the extra confidence and reinforcement that they need to pass exams. Although the academic year is not yet over, with the exams approaching, the girls expressed confidence in their ability to pass and move on to high school. These girls have worked so hard, and they are an insipiration to their whole community!

Want to help us tutor more middle school girls so that they can stay in school despite pressure to drop out? Consider donating again--we couldn't do this without you. As always, thank you so much for your ongoing support!

Apr 23, 2018

How Our After-School Clubs Allow Girls & Boys To Discuss Gender Equality

Students say hello during a CMC meeting
Students say hello during a CMC meeting

When it comes to breaking down the complex barriers that stand in the way of girls getting an education, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Women's Global Education Project and our local partners believe that to truly create long-lasting change, the whole community must be engaged. After all, women's empowerment benefits men, too!

That's why WGEP offers after-school "child molding clubs" (CMCs) to both girls and boys. These meetings are an opportunity for all students to learn about and openly discuss topics they may not have a chance to otherwise. Additionally, students have the chance to participate in income-generating projects such as animal rearing, vegetable farming, and even a barbershop project, building on life skills they can utilize for years to come.

With the core values of "cooperation, responsibility, honesty, hard work, and unity," these clubs give an opportunity for girls and boys to explore an alternative perspective regarding the key roles that girls--and the women they will become--can play in shaping the future of their communities. These clubs encourage and involve boys in supporting girls' ability to go to school, which is an important ingredient to achieving gender equality in the long-term.

Our local partners in Kenya lead these clubs to ensure they are immediately relevant, culturally appropriate, and transformative. As always, the clubs are off to a great start in 2018! Here are just a few of the topics the 12 clubs have discussed so far:

  • Assertiveness
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Self-awareness
  • Communication
  • Empathy
  • Problem solving
  • Goal setting and creative ways to achieve them
  • Critical thinking
A girl shares her experience at a CMC

This story from a CMC teacher will give you an idea of how the discussions around gender equality are happening in real time, and how we are providing ongoing support for girls seeking an education.

One the girls in sixth grade shared her experience with others on girl/boy child relationships. She said that she was in a class of so many boys that during group discussions, she was the only girl in her group. The other groups only had two girls and six boys. This made the girl reluctant to participate in the group, which in turn resulted in her being reported to the teacher, who punished her. She urged other members that they should relate as learners and not as girls or boys. The patrons and other members were very moved by this story, and requested that other pupils share their own experiences as well.

This year, over 550 students will participate in Child Molding Clubs. Thank you for being a part of our incredible community of supporters! With your help, we will reach even more students with this exciting, essential complementary programming. We couldn't do this without your continued generosity.

 
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