Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school

by Mozambique School Lunch Initiative
Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school
Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school
Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school
Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school
Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school
Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school
Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school
Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school
Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school
Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school
Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school
Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school
Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school
Empower Mozambican girls to go to high school
Students ready to board the school bus!
Students ready to board the school bus!

Our girls school bus program has become a reality! 

Logistics

Thanks to your support, we launched the first two school buses in February 2022, serving rural students from six primary schools. We hired two existing transporters (minivans and drivers), one to cover four primary schools (relatively smaller schools) and one to cover two primary schools (relatively larger). MSLI pays each bus driver $12.60 per student per month – a very cost-effective solution! The buses make multiple trips every day in order to transport all of the students. The students also continue to benefit from our school lunch program, receiving a hot lunch at their local primary school, which also serves as the pick-up and drop-off point for the buses.

Impacts

To date, this project has already succeeded in more than doubling the share of students transitioning to eight grade in the target rural communities. Of these students who enrolled in eighth grade in 2022, 89% of the students from Chate and 69% of the students from Cumba are using our free school buses! Furthermore, many students who had dropped out of secondary school have reenrolled thanks to the school buses. In addition to the 46 eighth grade students who passed seventh grade in 2021, we are also transporting 45 eighth graders from other years (who had previously been out of school), 28 ninth graders, 19 tenth graders, and one eleventh grader. In the coming years, we expect the school bus to greatly contribute to secondary school retention and completion rates by making it easier for students, especially girls, to go to school. In total, almost two-thirds of the students using our school buses this year are girls!

Mentorship

In addition to the school buses, in April 2022, we started a mentorship program to support the girls going to high school. Each village has a "girls club", which meets every week with our coach who works directly with the girls to motivate them and help them navigate the challenges of adolescence and high school. Since most of these girls are the first in their families to go to high school, having a good role model they can turn to for support and advice can make a big difference in keeping them in school. We will continue to provide more updates on this aspect of our program as the months go on.

You have made a difference

Your donations have directly contributed to making the dream of a high school education a reality for these girls. Thank you for your support!

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Girls now have the chance to go to eight grade
Girls now have the chance to go to eight grade

Mozambique's schools will re-open for the 2022 school year on February 3rd, and we are so excited to launch our latest initiative: a girls school bus! This school bus, run by the Mozambique School Lunch Initiative, will transport girls from rural communities (where there are no high schools) to the nearest high school so that they can continue their studies. We are starting in Cumba Village, where the local primary school only goes until the seventh grade. To continue with eighth grade, the nearest high school is about a 30-minute drive away. None of these students have access to a vehicle and there is no public transport. This leads to most students abandoning their studies after the seventh grade. For girls, this often results in early marriages as well. 

That's why, we're bringing a bus to make sure these girls still have the chance to go to high school! The bus will pick the girls up early in the morning, take them to school, and then drop them off back home later in the afternoon. We have worked closely with the local community leadership and parents to ensure that everyone is supportive of the project and will help ensure its success. Our school bus driver is also well-trained and will be driving extra safe to ensure these girls get to school safely.

We expect to have over 25 students for our first bus, and we'll have the final numbers once schools officially begin on February 3rd. This is potentially a life-changing opportunity for these girls. A high school education dramatically increases a young woman's skills and income-earning potential in Mozambique. A tremendous thank you to everyone who has made this new initiative possible! We look forward to sharing more stories and photos in the coming months!

Students in Cumba Primary School
Students in Cumba Primary School
Carolina, a student who inspired this project
Carolina, a student who inspired this project

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Seventh grade students at Bombofo Primary School
Seventh grade students at Bombofo Primary School

Only 11% of Mozambican girls ever make it to high school. At the Mozambique School Lunch Initiative (MSLI), we work closely with rural primary schools and see how many girls finish the seventh grade (the last grade in Mozambique's primary system) and then never get the chance to go to eight grade or beyond. We are working to change this. The first step is figuring out what are the main barriers for girls continuing on to high school and how they can be overcome.

As we've been gathering funds to launch our pilot girls high school program next year (January 2022), the MSLI team has been holding meetings and discussing with students, teachers, parents, and community leaders about what are the main challenges that girls face in going to high school and what support is needed. The main issue is that most high schools are in urban areas, so girls from rural villages have to travel long distances and that is usually not feasible on a daily basis. For some girls, having a bicycle could be a solution. For others, staying with a host family or relative is another option, but they need support to pay for food and board. Finally, the school fees at the high school level are higher because there are more subjects and materials to purchase.

Based on this assessment, MSLI is putting together a tailored package of support for girls in various different situations. Our goal is to test these solutions next year and see which one works best. We really appreciate your support in helping us launch this pilot and we look forward to updating you over the coming months!

Education for all!

Students in the classroom at Chate Primary School.
Students in the classroom at Chate Primary School.
Community meeting to discuss with parents
Community meeting to discuss with parents

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Organization Information

Mozambique School Lunch Initiative

Location: SPOKANE, WA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Cara Myers
SPOKANE, WA United States
$4,120 raised of $20,000 goal
 
33 donations
$15,881 to go
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