In the fall of 2011 AGE Africa will begin to offer its complete Mentoring Program to 62 young women at 4 public schools in Malawi. After almost 2 years of piloting pieces, designing and honing our curriculum to meet our students needs, we are finally ready to scale this critical addition to our scholars' learning.
We know that scholarship provision is critical for our girls’ success, but have also learned that scholarships alone are not enough to get students to the academic finish line. This is why in 2010 AGE Africa added a mentoring program to target the multiple causes of girls’ dropout. Research on girls education in Malawi and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, suggests that cost is just one of many reasons why 73% of girls drop out of school before graduation. Distance to school, early pregnancy, early marriage, lack of knowledge about career paths, and the value of education all contribute to the low retention rates of female students. AGE Africa’s mentoring program offers two tracks of extra-curricular education that are designed to halt this attrition by helping our young women cultivate the ability to IMAGINE a future that's different AND the power to ACT to achieve it.
Unlike traditional scholarship programs that fund fees-only bursaries, AGE Africa’s success rate is a result of a unique three-pronged program strategy:
- Comprehensive scholarships that cover the entire cost of secondary school.
- Peer-Led Life Skills Education that focuses on sexual and reproductive health education & peer-led mentoring that is badly needed in a country with high rates of HIV and early pregnancy. Our curriculum seeks to build leadership, self-advocacy skills, knowledge of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), as well as gender-based violence, in order to reduce dropout based on these issues. Our innovative curriculum is grounded in youth participation, and youth development as the fundamental approach to adolescent engagement.
- Career Guidance Education that encourages students to pursue continuing education post graduation as well as help students to identify how they can use their education to develop incomes and support their families back at home. Our curriculum focuses on exposure to multiple career tracks, how to access tertiary education, as well as small business entrepreneurial skills.
- Tertiary Transitions Program that helps those from the most impoverished communities access tertiary educational opportunities once they qualify. In 2011 AGE Africa launched its Tertiary Transitions program, to coach and subsidize entrance examinations for vocational training, Teacher Training College, Nursing School, and University for all our students who qualify for such opportunities. We are currently awaiting the exam results of our first cohort.
This FULL curriculum is being implemented at all four of AGE Africa's school sites with 62 studets as of September 2011. We need your help to ensure our students continue to receive this vital curriculum throughout 2012.