By Emily Muir - Education for Girls in Ouelessebougou
Girls still have lower education rates than boys in West Africa, particularly in Mali and the Ouelessebougou Region. Largely in part because in rural villages young girls are married very young and face economic hardship and extreme poverty. Girls are most often married before they are emotionally and physically mature or prepared. They are married because their own families can no longer provide for them. After they are married, young girls most often become young mothers and their education becomes non-existant.
Educating girls is an essential process in empowering women and also helping to further the development of Mali. When girls marry young they drop out of school, experience poor helath, have more children over a longer period of time and earn less money as an adult. When women have access to education, they make it a priority to seek out better health care because they are educated about it. They develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. They teach their children about the importance of education and health care. When girls are educated they are more likely to develop a skill or trade. They become empowered and have the ability to lift their families, children and villages from poverty.
Most young girls that do receive a primary education still drop out by 5th or 6th grade. Ouelessebougou Alliance supports 12 village schools in the Ouelessebougou Region. It is our goal to educate as many girls as possible but also to provide them with a quality education. Education for girls is vital for the health and prosperity of villages in Ouelessebougou. Women and their children are faced with extreme hardship on a daily basis but if they are educated they are much more likely to be able to conquer these problems. In addition to 12 schools the Alliance provides Literacy Workshops in 12 villages for girls ages 12 and older. Girls can attend the literacy workshops in the evenings. The Alliance provides training for the teachers on reading, math and lesson planning. Last year, 24 teachers attended and 96 textbooks were distributed. In addition, the Alliance supports 12 village schools. All village schools are supported by Education Councils who work with schools, teachers and parents on literacy goals. Village parents are taught the importance of education for girls in Mali! Last year, 43% of students enrolled in our village schools were girls! Help us continue our success and by educating girls in Ouelessebougou.
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