In mid-December, I visited the Lambs Support Village Girls' Education in Burkina Faso, including NEEED who runs the project, village primary schools, teachers, parents and grandparents, girls whose educations we support in their first year of school, and regional education officials. Parents and grandparents expressed much appreciation and gratitude for NEEED's support (that is also your support!) for their daughters'/grandaughters' educations. This sentiment was echoed by teachers and government officials as well.
The project is having a huge and positive impact. As reported earlier, the girls are doing amazingly well in school. When I asked teachers and parents why they thought these girls were doing so much better than their peers on average, they said "Because they have the necessary tools to study. They have paper, pencils and pens and books; and they have a lamp which enables them to study at night." Imagine trying to learn without such basic necessities!
Another equally important goal of this Burkinabe-run project is to change the way villagers view the education of girls. When the project began 12 years ago, many parents gave little priority to sending their daughters to school. In some villages, it was a challenge to get parents to even consider the possibility. By contrast, during my recent visit it was pointed out to me repeatedly how seriously village parents in villages in which the project has intervened take girls', and all children's, education.
I share with parents in the project region the optimism that their daughters may one day look forward to a brighter future as a result of their chance to go to school. And I share with you their appreciation and gratitude for your helping to make their daughters' educations possible. Each year, the Lambs Support Girls' Education project enables the enrollment of as many girls in village primary schools as funds allow. This year, the project enrolled girls in 26 primary schools and had to turn down requests for support from an additional 60 villages in the region. With your generous donations, we hope to respond to at least half of these villages in the coming year.
Our sincere thanks for your past, and continuing, support.
As the new school year begins, your generous support has enabled the enrollment of another 300 young village girls in northern Burkina Faso into government village primary schools. Beginning in 2003, when the first girls supportedby this project completed primary school, girls supported by this project have consistently outperformed all students in the region on exit exams from primary school by an average of 15 percentage points.
These girls are enrolling in middle and secondary school in greater numbers each year as well. We are extremely grateful to two donors who have offered a limited number of scholarships for girls in this project who successfully complete secondary school. In 2010, donations from these partners provided scholarships to: 9 girls for primary school teacher training, 2 girls for nursing training, 1 girl for midwifery training, and 1 girl who is studying law at the University of Ouagadougou; and in 2011: 3 girls in primary school teacher training, 3 girls in nursing training, 1 girl in midwifery training, and 1 girl who is studying medicine at the University of Ouagadougou. All of these girls are from poor rural farming families and some have lost one or both parents.
Given the strong academic success of the village girls we support and the exceptional response of their parents who depend upon our partnership only for their daughters’ first year of school, we are re-naming the project Lambs Support Village Girls’ Education. This new title reflects more clearly the structure of this project: your donations help purchase a girl’s first year school materials and her first lamb. Parents raise and sell their lambs, and buy school materials and new lambs, each year to support their daughters’ remaining 12 years of schooling.
Our original goal of enrolling 900 girls has been surpassed. However, the demand and the positive response of parents and village leaders has been phenomenal. In order to continue to offer village girls in this region a chance at an education and all that this implies in terms of choices in their lives, we are asking you – their partners – to continue to give them that opportunity to enter school. They and their parents will do the rest!
In that spirit, I would like to call your attention to GlobalGiving’s final Bonus Day of the year this Wednesday October 19. Online donations made to this project on Wednesday will be matched by 30% up to $1000 per donor. And if we raise the most funds, or have the most individual donors, the Lambs Support Girls’ Education project will receive an additional $1000.
On behalf of the exceptional young village girls in northern Burkina Faso, our sincere gratitude to all of you, our partners in this endeavor.
Thanks to the generous support of our GlobalGiving partners, 300 6-year old village girls in northern Burkina Faso enrolled in primary school last fall through the "Education for 900 Rural Girls in Burkina Faso" Project (also known as the Lambs for School Project in which the project supports a girl's first year of school and the purchase of a lamb; and the parents are responsible for raising and selling their daughter's lamb each year to support her remaining 12 years of school).
Village girls receiving our support have no other avenue to education due to the extreme poverty of their families. To quote Jeanne Elisabeth Sanga (who attends the public primary school in the village of Dandambara): "My parents are poor. Without this support from NEEED, I would never have the chance to go to school. My mother is proud of me."
Overall, 98% of the primary school girls supported by the Lambs for School Project passed national exams this year, qualifying them to advance to the next grade. Eighty-six percent of the girls supported by the Lambs for School Project who were in their final year of primary school this year passed national exams,enabling them to enter middle school. Both of these exam results are well above the national average.
The academic success of village girls supported by this project is creating intense pressure by rural populations in the region for the education of young girls. The awakening of the awareness of the value of girls's education has taken off with the recent success of village girls enrolled in school. According to NEEED (the local NGO that runs this project), virtually all rural parents now want their daughters to go to school, a phenomenon unheard of ten years ago. With support from its GlobalGiving partners, NEEED would like to enroll 500 girls in primary school each year in order to better respond to the demands of parents, and to contribute to healthier families and development in the region.
On behalf of the Lambs for School girls, I extend our sincere thanks to all of our GlobalGiving partners for your past, and continuing, support. We appreciate your sharing our girls' needs, and their successes, with your social networks. We welcome your questions about any aspect of the project, and we welcome your ideas about how we can expand our support for it.
“Education is one of the most important means of empowering women with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary to participate fully in the development process. It is also the mostinfluential factor in improving child health and reducing infant mortality”. (Women’s Empowerment and Reproductive Health, UN Fund for Population Activities, 2000)
Bonus Day: March 16!Dear Girls' Education partner in Burkina Faso,
I am writing to share with you that on March 16 (that's this Wednesday), GlobalGiving.org is matching at 30% all online donations up to $1,000 per donor per project! There is $75,000 available in matching funds on March 16. In addition to the 30% match, GlobalGiving is offering a $1,000 bonus to the project that raises the most funds that day and a $1,000 bonus to the project that receives donations from the most individual donors! Terms and Conditions:• Matching is applied up to $1,000 per donor per project on March 16, 2011 between 12:01am and 11:59 pm EST (GMT-4) until matching funds run out;• There is $75,000 available matching funds;• Only online donations (credit card or paypal) are eligible for matching. Donations made by check are not eligible; • Donations made on www.globalgiving.co.uk or any GlobalGiving corporate sites (including Nike, Global Action Atlas, etc) are NOT eligible for matching.We at Friends of Burkina Faso would like to take this opportunity to maximize our fundraising support for the education of village girls in northern Burkina Faso by inviting all of our partners (that's you!) to donate to this project on Wednesday March 16.
Thank you for your continued support for the education of village girls in Burkina Faso!
As a testament to the seriousness with which both parents and young girls respond to the opportunity for an education in northern Burkina Faso, a full 100% of primary school girls supported by the Lambs for School Project succeeded in their first trimester exams this school year. As indicated in earlier updates, girls supported by this project have consistently outperformed their classmates at all levels.
We are re-naming the Education for 900 Rural Girls in Burkina Faso Project the Lambs for School Project, reflecting the locally conceived and very successful strategy for engaging parents in the support of their daughters’ education. This strategy was and is to provide 6-year old village girls with the basic necessities that allow them to enter village primary school plus a lamb (at a total cost of $90). The girls and their parents raise the lambs and sell them each year in order to buy school materials for the following year and a new lamb, this for the following 12 years of primary, middle and secondary school. This project is the key which enables young village girls to enter school and get an education instead of being married off at an early age with no education and without their consent.
In a region where culture has not been very supportive of the education of girls in the past, and where extreme poverty means that parents are unable to pay the basic cost of sending their daughters to school, both village chiefs and parents are asking in ever increasing numbers for help in enrolling their daughters in primary school.
This year, in collaboration with two generous partners, we were able to send 13 Lambs for School village girls who graduated from secondary school to training in primary school teaching, nursing, midwifery and one to the university to study law.
Given the phenomenal educational success of these girls and the great demand for increasing girls’ educational opportunity expressed by many villages in the region, NEEED (the local NGO that runs this project) is asking us to increase the number of girls we support next year from 300 to 400. The girls and their parents will do the rest: the girls will continue to work hard and succeed in school; and the parents will raise and sell their daughters’ lambs to support their educational needs, and encourage their daughters to do their very best in school.
These girls, like Ouedraogo Abibata (see photo) are counting on all of us, their partners, to give them a chance at an education.
"There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls". Kofi Annon, former U.N. Secretary General
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