Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal

by Women's Global Education Project
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Elementary teacher and WGEP graduate Fatou
Elementary teacher and WGEP graduate Fatou

WGEP is proud of our graduates, who are living proof of the power of education to change lives--and of the multiplier effect of its impact on families and communities!

Meet Fatou
Fatou's family was poor and illiterate, but they believed in education and were determined for Fatou to go to school. The family worked hard to make this happen, but they struggled to make ends meet and still pay for Fatou’s education. Then Fatou was enrolled in WGEP’s Sisters-to-School Senegal.

“I really benefited from this program,” Fatou says. “It allowed me to be among the best students in my class and to succeed on the first round on the Baccalauréat.” After passing the “BAC”--Senegal’s notoriously difficult national graduation exam--Fatou graduated from high school and went for training in elementary education.

Now Fatou is impacting the next generation as an elementary teacher in the village of Soum. “Graduates like me must now be the pioneers of Sisters-to-School,” she says. “I try to help the families send their girls to school and reduce their domestic work so they can study. I give free coaching to girls whose parents are poor and illiterate. With my small salary, I help the girls with their supplies. I try to motivate my students every way I can.”


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Congratulations, Mariama!
Congratulations, Mariama!

Congratulations to WGEP Senegal Scholar Mariama Diagne Diop, Winner of the Kergui Association Poetry Writing Contest!

Elsewhere, in the unknown
by Mariama Diagne Diop
translated from French (below)

Why do they go away to unknown horizons?
Why do they go away to hostile horizons?
Why do they go elsewhere?
To this elsewhere which gives them nothing without suffering
Yes, why!
You the immigrant, you the accursed of the earth
You send yourselves far from your homes, to Europe, to America
Oh yes, I understood you went away
Because your earth is stripped bare
Because fertility has deserted your soil
Because sun and fire have burned down your forests
Because your malnourished animals give nothing more than a small pittance
Because the greatly reduced food can no longer provide a subsistence
Because sometimes war, hideous war, has destroyed your homes
So, you launch yourselves into the music of the unknown
So, you disappear into the terrible belly of the Atlantic
Yes, I understand you, this is the wretched misery that withers you
And me, I pray that the skies of heaven would open themselves
For the abundant waters to bathe and revive the earth
That beautiful harvests will grow in your field.
That there will at last be a return of abundance and laughter will blossom in your homes,
    henceforth, happiness.

Mariama is part of WGEP’s Sisters-to-School program that currently helps 270 girls in rural Senegal attend and succeed in school. To read more about WGEP Senegal, please visit us at

In the original French
Mariama Diagne Diop

Pourquoi s’en vont-ils vers des horizons inconnus?
Pourquoi s’en vont-ils vers des horizons hostiles?
Pourquoi s’en vont-ils  ailleurs?
Vers cet ailleurs qui ne leur donne rien sans souffrances
Oui, pourquoi!
Vous les émigrants, vous les damnés de la terre
Vous vous envolez loin de chez vous, vers l’Europe, vers l’Amérique
Oh oui, j’ai  compris vous partez
Parce que vos terres sont dénudées
Parce que la fertilité a déserté vos sols
Parce que le soleil et les feux ont brûlé vos forêts
Parce que vos animaux mal nourris ne donnent plus qu’une faible pitance
Parce que la nourriture bien réduite ne suffit plus à la subsistance
Parce que des fois la guerre, la guerre hideuse a détruit  vos demeures
Alors, vous vous jetez dans l’inconnu des airs
Alors, vous vous enfoncez dans le terrible « ventre de l’Atlantique »
Oui, je vous comprends c’est la misère sèche qui vous sèche
Et moi, je prie pour que les gargouilles du ciel s’ouvrent
Pour que l’eau abondante baigne et ravive la terre
Pour que de belles récoltent croissent à vos champ
Pour que enfin l’abondance revienne et fleurisse de rires vos foyers  désormais heureux.


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WGEP scholar Maimouna
WGEP scholar Maimouna

News from Women’s Global Education Project Senegal:

Scholars Succeed Academically

  • Congratulations to our WGEP elementary scholars, 100% of whom passed into the next grade for the 2011-2012 school year
  • Congratulations also to our 37 elementary scholars (71 percent) who placed at the top of their class
  • Special congratulations to elementary scholars Aminata and Marie who won a local poetry competition in Sokone village organized by the Keurgui Association
  • And congratulations to the 53 middle school scholars (91 percent) who passed their grade-level exams for promotion into the next grade!


Secondary School National Entrance Exam Revived

WGEP Senegal has just learned that the Senegalese government has reinstated the notoriously difficult 6eme grade-level national exam, used to weed out grammar school students before entering secondary school. The exam is especially challenging for students from poor, rural families who have fewer resources and less access to the quality education and academic tutoring needed to pass the exclusive examinations. WGEP Senegal remains committed to helping our scholars succeed at these exams so they can continue their education to the highest level they are capable of.


Community Awareness Programs Making a Difference

We have also learned the encouraging news that nationally, the number of girls going to school in Senegal is on the rise! This is a testament to the community awareness and outreach programs run by organizations like WGEP, and that our programs are making a difference. On a local level, we continue to see increases in the number of girls in school in the villages where our programs operate, and we are seeing more and more support for girls’ education in the community. For example, earlier this year, one of our secondary scholars from Karang village, Adele (name has been changed), was pressured into an early marriage, which normally would mean that she would drop out of school in order to tend to her house and start a family. However, because of the work that WGEP has done in Karang to raise awareness and support for girls’ education, the many members of the community rose up in support of Adele staying in school so that she can finish her education. Even the local police brigade spoke up for her! As a result, Adele was able to stay in school.

We thank you again for your support. We are making a difference, and we could not do this work without you!

WGEP scholar Ndeye
WGEP scholar Ndeye


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16 WGEP Senegal Scholars Receive Academic Honors
WGEP Senegal congratulates our 16 secondary school scholars who received honors for academic achievement in 2010! Special recognition goes out to Maimouna Diallo, a 10th grader from Sokone High School who received four awards for academic excellence.

WGEP Senegal 2010 Retention Rate at 93%
Retention rates for WGEP Senegal scholars reached 93 percent by the end of the 2009-2010 school year. Retention rates this high are rarely seen among girls in rural Senegalese communities due to intense family, social and cultural pressures to prioritize other matters--including early marriage or supporting the family--ahead of school.

79% of WGEP Senegal Scholars Pass Baccalaureate National Exams
WGEP scholars who took the 2010 Baccalaureate national exams had a 79 percent passing rate, up from 75 percent in 2009. The Baccalaureate is a notoriously difficult exam that is often used to weed students out of the school system. All of the scholars who failed the exam in 2009 retook the exam in 2010 and passed.

185 WGEP Senegal Scholars Participate in Female Leadership Mentoring Program
In 2010, WGEP Senegal enrolled 185 high school scholars in its Female Leadership Mentoring program, where the girls were able to meet and talk with female role models, many of whom successfully broke into traditionally male-dominated fields. The students got to meet Dr. Marie Sarr, one of the head doctors of the Fatick medical district and had the opportunity to visit Senegal's Goree Island and visit the national Women's Museum there.

300 WGEP Senegal Scholars Receive Health Training
300 WGEP Senegal scholars and their families participated in our 2010 health training programs, receiving health education on a variety of health topics like sanitation, nutrition and disease prevention. Additionally, the program treated 120 cases of illnesses ranging from earaches to bronchitis, reducing health-related absences from school.

These reports from the field encourage all of us at WGEP that our work is making a difference in the lives of real people. Thank you for supporting our work!


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Thank you for supporting the work of Women's Global Education Project to fight global poverty through the empowerment and education of women and girls! These recent numbers of our IMPACT TO DATE show that our work is making a big difference: **WGEP has provided 1,254 scholarships since our inception in 2003: 997 through our Senegal program and 257 through our Kenya program! These scholarships make it possible for girls who otherwise could not go to school have the opportunity for an education. **Retention rates in both our Senegal and Kenya programs have remained at 90 percent or higher over the past four years! This is especially impressive since the communities where we work have historically been known for high dropout rates among girls due to the prioritization of education for boys' over girls', over reliance on girls for home and farm chores, and the prevalence of early marriage. If you would like to learn about our sister project in Kenya, please visit our WGEP Kenya GlobalGiving page at or you can visit us at If you would like to further support our work in Senegal and Kenya, GlobalGiving will be matching gifts made via on Wednesday, March 16, 2011, up to $1000 per donor, with $75,000 in matching funds to be dispersed. We would not have been able to do this work without your support. Thank you for making a difference!


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Women's Global Education Project

Location: Oak Park, IL - USA
Project Leader:
Amy Maglio
Oak Park, Illinois United States
$225,495 raised of $300,000 goal
1,794 donations
$74,505 to go
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