Dear Girls Education International supporters,
Thank you for helping to give 47 girls in Bong and Margibi Counties, Liberia, a year of schooling!
Fundraising for this project has been slow so far, and we have had to pull funds from our general operating fund to make our first 2011 payment to our partner agency, Common Ground Society, this month.
Girls Ed has been funding education for these girls since 2008, and Common Ground Society reports that all 47 girls have remained enrolled in school and that a group of 10 high school seniors (who were sophomores when we started the scholarship program) will be graduating this spring. We are honored to be a part of these bright girls' lives!
In his end of year report to Girls Education International, Marvin Garbeh Davis, our project officer with Common Ground Society, described conditions in Liberia with regard to educating girls: "In Liberia there are many social, cultural and economic barriers to girls’ schooling, both for enrolling and staying in school. Parents see limited economic benefits to educating girls. Daughters attending school are less available to help with household chores and childcare for younger siblings. Cultural norms are that sons support parents in old age while girls marry out and leave their parents.
The issue of poverty is a major hindrance. Schooling usually involves substantial sums for fees, books, uniforms and transportation. When family resources are limited, parents usually give higher priority to sons. Decisions about schooling for girls are often influenced by social norms related to sexuality and marriage. In traditional societies where chastity is highly valued, parents may be reluctant to allow girls to travel to school and be taught by male teachers. "
Marvin's report reminds me of why we believe that Girls Ed has a unique program service model with great potential for success - we partner with local organizations that already work in the regions we serve. These local organizations already have relationships and infrastructure in the rural communities that allow us to maximize existing resources through strategic partnerships, while respecting existing culture and values. They understand the culture/politics and have staff available to mitigate any unforeseen challenges.
Thank you so much for continuing to provide support to our girls in Liberia and giving them this opportunity to continue their education!