Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal

by Women's Global Education Project
Congratulations to our WGEP Sisters-to-School Senegal scholars on their recent academic achievements!
  • 98% of our elementary school scholars passed into the next grade, with 78% placing at the top of their class
  • 92% of our middle school scholars passed into the next grade, with 64% placing at the top of their class
  • 79% of our high school scholars taking the national BAC graduation exam passed, compared to the national average of 38%
Additionally, WGEP Senegal found that the overall number of girls enrolling in high school increased in the region where we work:
  • Female student enrollment was 48% of all students in 2011, up from 33% in 2007
  • The number of girls who successfully passed into high school was 63% in 2011, up from 36% in 2007
WGEP is also pleased to announce that community radio station "Radio Niombato 91.1 FM," based in the Fatick region of Senegal where we work, has recently been broadcasting our WGEP Sisters-to-School Senegal program activities. Radio Niombato is widely listened to in Fatick, which means our message is reaching more and more people in the surrounding Faitick villages.

Thank you for supporting this important work!


Scholars from WGEP Sisters-to-School Senegal
Scholars from WGEP Sisters-to-School Senegal

"We are solving a full range of challenges, beyond just funding scholarships and supplies--we are helping to change the culture to value girls' education."
This is what WGEP Board Member April Donnellan says about our work in Senegal after recently visiting the WGEP Sisters-to-School program there with her 11-year-old daughter. While there, they went to numerous schools and programs, visited scholars and their families at home, took part in an adult literacy class, joined a community meeting, and attended an education conference.

"It was very special to be there with my daughter, as she was able to meet girls her age and learn about their daily lives," April says. "Our WGEP program--with its mulch-tiered emphasis on family and community support--is really making a difference for these girls. We met several families whose daughters would clearly not be able to attend school were it not for our program. Teachers and tutors say our scholars learn faster than other students, participate more in class, and have confidence in themselves and their abilities.

"In many schools in our region, we are seeing more and more girls in school, and in some cases even outnumber the boys. This is reverse of long-standing traditions of devaluing education for girls. Seeing our Senegal programs at work really inspired me!"


WGEP Senegal is a "Give Knowledge" finalist in the 2012 GlobalGiving Photo Contest! You can help us by casting your vote here-- -- between now and noon EDT on August 15. The organization with the most votes wins $1,000 from GlobalGiving, with the winning photo displayed on the GlobalGiving homepage for a full day. Thanks for your support!


Our Sisters-to-School project in Senegal added an Adult Literacy program for women and a Textbook Library Exchange program for secondary scholars.

The Adult Literacy program, modeled on an existing WGEP Kenya program, gives the mothers of our scholars and other women in the community a way to learn literacy skills and participate in empowerment and support sessions.

The Textbook Library Exchange program will help alleviate textbook costs for scholars by allowing them to share several commonly owned copies of otherwise expensive textbooks.

 CLICK HERE to read more about our WGEP project 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.”


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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Organization Information

Women's Global Education Project

Location: Oak Park, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Amy Maglio
Oak Park, Illinois United States
$201,924 raised of $215,000 goal
1,165 donations
$13,076 to go
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