I just got word from our colleagues in Burkina Faso that the school enrollment will be 400 this year (50 more than I had guessed); and based on this increase, there will likely be 600 students next year. The cost of lunches for next year will be $24,000 and for the following year $36,000. We have already paid for lunches for the past school year. (Based on enrollment and number of school days per year, the cost per child per day is US$0.33, including ingredients, preparation and cooking fuel.)
These girls from rural villages are doing extremely well academically........... but of course, as with any project like this that grows so fast, it becomes more challenging to keep up the financial side.
NEEED, the organization we support, and which runs this girls' education project, is:
a.. planning to double the capacity of the girls' middle school in order to accomodate all girls out of rural primary schools who qualify. (NEEED will need to ultimately limit their enrollment at 1000 students.) They just received a surprise $10,000 and are beginning construction of the foundation of a new bloc of classrooms.
b.. seeking funds from other sources to build two new public middle schools in the region, and negotiating with the Ministry of Education to move these potential new public schools up the priority list for the MOE budget, in order to continue to ensure all girls (and boys in the case of the public schools) who successfully finish primary school a place in middle school. In addition to benefitting the girls they support in primary and middle school, NEEED also hopes to demonstrate to the government the capacity of these young girls and the benefits of educating women so as to nudge the government to do more in women's education in other regions of the country.
I'm very proud to be a partner with such forward-thinking, energetic and generous people........and of course do want to miss opportunities to help them achieve their goals.