WGEP has worked in the Fatick region of rural Senegal since 2004 to implement locally-driven, holistic and multi-tiered strategies that address the complex issue of girls’ access to education. One of our programs, Our Sisters Read, focuses on improving foundational reading skills, motivating students to read, and promoting literacy in the community. To date, over 10,000 students have participated in WGEP's locally-driven reading activities in Senegal!
But a love of learning shouldn't be contained to schools or community centers. Curious students need resources and enthusiastic encouragement from their families to continue reading at home, too. Bridging the home-school gap with an emphasis on reading for pleasure will ultimately contribute to an enduring shift in attitudes towards literacy, and future generations--especially girls--will benefit from this shift.
In an independent evaluation of the Our Sisters Read program, 97% of parents surveyed reported that their opinion of the importance of reading changed positively during the program. These families reported that compared to before exposure to the program, they now:
Allow time for reading at home
Encourage children to borrow books
Ask children to read out loud with a sibling
Tell them they are a positive example
Reward them when they read
This feedback shows that even parents who can't read themselves genuinely value literacy and are sure to make time for their children to read at home. We are so grateful for these families and their participation in the focus group.
We look forward to growing this groundbreaking program, reaching even more families, and expanding this lifelong culture of reading--all thanks to advocates like you. Thank you for supporting WGEP's education programs in rural Senegal!
WGEP congratulates our newest Alternative Rite of Passage program (ARP) graduates, 181 young women who stood up with their families and publicly said "No!" to the harmful practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C).
ARP is a week-long event that is held each December with our Kenyan partner organization, Tharaka Women’s Welfare Project (TWWP). This program combats the practice of FGM/C by addressing its cultural and social underpinnings on multiple levels. Since its initial implementation by WGEP in 2007, the ARP program has helped 1,940 rural Kenyan girls and their families abandon the harmful and deeply rooted tradition of genital cutting.
WGEP also included 78 boys in an ARP-like retreat program last month. Participants discussed safe male circumcision and publicly supported their sisters, cousins and female friends in standing up against FGM/C. Since its initiation in 2013, 307 young men have participated in this program.
WGEP has worked in rural Kenya for over a decade to provide access to quality education and supplemental programs to empower women and girls to build better lives and foster equitable and sustainable communities. Recognizing that educating girls in marginalized and impoverished communities is a multi-faceted challenge, WGEP employs a holistic approach by involving entire communities and finding solutions for the varied contextual barriers that may keep girls from accessing an education.
Thank you for supporting WGEP programs like the Alternative Rite of Passage!
Advancing Health Knowledge to Build Healthy Futures
By Amy Maglio - Founder & Executive Director
Since 2004, WGEP has worked in rural Senegal to provide access to quality education and supplemental programs to empower women and girls to build better lives and foster equitable and sustainable communities. Recognizing that educating girls in marginalized and impoverished communities is a multi-faceted challenge, WGEP employs a holistic approach by involving entire communities and finding solutions for the varied contextual barriers that may keep girls from accessing an education.
As part of our support to help girls thrive in school, WGEP offers reproductive health education to lower incidences of teen pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Our targeted workshops and seminars inform scholars on a range of important topics including: anatomy, puberty & development, sexually transmitted infections, contraception and family planning, consent and decision-making.
This is important because 22% of women in Senegal give birth before the age of 18, with rural girls having a higher rate of teen pregnancy (25%) than their urban counterparts (12%) (DHS, 2012). Teen pregnancy is a major health and social concern because of its association with higher morbidity and mortality for both the mother & child. It also has other adverse social consequences, particularly for educational attainment, as women who become mothers in their teens are more likely to drop out of school. Comparatively, Senegal is a model in the control of HIV/AIDS among African countries. The national HIV rate has remained below 1% for over two decades. However, this success hides a stark geographical disparity in access to education and treatment: only 3 in 10 Senegalese women have a comprehensive understanding of HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS, 2010).
Our reproductive health education workshops have proven greatly effective in expanding our scholar's base of knowledge. WGEP Senegal scholar Sadio said of the workshops: "I am so thankful for everything I learned. I now want to continue my education and become a nurse so that I can help the women of my village."
Thank you for supporting WGEP programs like our reproductive health workshops!