Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal

by Women's Global Education Project
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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

Links:

NEWS FROM THE FIELD: WGEP SISTERS-TO-SCHOOL SENEGAL

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!

Links:

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 http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/educate-girls-and-fight-poverty-in-kenya/ or you can visit us at www.womensglobal.org. If you would like to further support our work in Senegal and Kenya, GlobalGiving will be matching gifts made via GlobalGiving.org 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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The 2010-11 school year is well underway in Fatick, Senegal, and in addition to providing tutoring, health and mentoring support to our scholars, WGEP Senegal is reaching out to the local community to promote and strengthen support for girls’ education in the area, meeting with local government, health and education officials, including the Regional Council of Fatick, the new Inspector of Education for the region, and the Project of Support for the Education of Girls run by the Senegalese Ministry of Education.

WGEP Senegal Project Coordinator Adji Senghor also participated in a community round table hosted by the Regional Council of Fatick last November 11, 2010, to mark the National Day of Education for Girls. Adji raised awareness for the importance of helping girls stay in school amidst all of the issues that can pressure girls into dropping out such as early marriage, overreliance on girls for house and farm chores, and preference on boys for education.

Community awareness, support  and buy-in is key to the success of our scholars in school, which is why it constitutes a major part of our work.

READ MORE ABOUT WGEP SISTERS-TO-SCHOOL SENEGAL

Links:

Diama and her father Oussman
Diama and her father Oussman

Thank you for your support of Women's Global Education Project-Senegal in 2010!

You have helped us touch the lives of girls in remote, rural areas of Senegal and help them have the chance for an education--a chance that they might otherwise never get. Because they are now able to go to school, our scholars can have hope of a changed life and of building a brighter future, and they in turn are also changing the minds and hopes of family, friends and communities around them.

One such girl is Diama Gaye.

Although unusual for their rural community of Diossong, Senegal, Diama was sent to school at a young age. This was because her mother valued education and wanted her daughter to have opportunities in life that she herself never had. But when her mother suddenly died, Diama's father, Oussman, withdrew his daughter from school and kept her at home to take over the house chores.

The young Diama was befriended by Maimona Ndong, a teacher at the local school, who began to mentor her. Maimona saw how much Diama wanted to go back to school and decided to talk to Oussman. At first, Oussman was unwilling to send his daughter back to school, especially because he could no longer afford the school fees.

Maimona, however, wouldn't give up. She told Oussman about Women's Global Education Project and our Sisters-to-School scholarship program and promised to help Diama apply for a scholarship to pay for the school fees.  It took some time, but eventually, Oussman agreed.

Now 12 years old, Diama is doing well in school and is aspiring to become an entrepreneur to help her community. Her father is proud of her success and has now become a strong advocate in the village for girls' education. As a religious leader, Oussman has been key in helping to change minds and in persuading other families to send their own daughters to school.

"School has been very positive for my daughter," Oussman says. "After seeing what it has done for her, I now believe that it is very important for girls to go to school."


 

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Organization Information

Women's Global Education Project

Location: Oak Park, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.womensglobal.org
Project Leader:
Amy Maglio
Founder
Oak Park, Illinois United States
$201,164 raised of $215,000 goal
 
1,152 donations
$13,836 to go
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