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By Sarah Henry
Around the world, about 117 million school-age children aren’t attending school, and about 53% of those absentee students are girls. Women’s Global Education Project (WGEP), our current Education beneficiary, is working to change that, with a focus in Senegal and Kenya.
WGEP originated in Senegal in 2003. Its founder, Amy Moglia, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, where she helped her village sister enroll in school for the first time.
After its launch in Senegal, WGEP expanded its programs to Kenya, with a focus on female education and the prevention of female genital mutilation. WGEP works with local community partners to ensure that their goals are being met. In Kenya, WGEP partners with Ntanira Na Mugambo Tharaka Women’s Welfare Project (TWWP), an organization that pledges to improve living conditions for women and girls in the Tharaka/Meru region of Kenya. The biggest drive that WGEP has put into play in Kenya has been the Alternative Right of Passage program. This program works to educate girls and their role models about school and women’s rights, and celebrates girls’ passage into adulthood with the cutting of cake, rather than the cutting of genitals.
In Senegal, WGEP is working closely with Union Democratique Des Ensiegnantes de Senegal (UDEN), a 20-year-old national organization of Senegalese primary and secondary school teachers dedicated to supporting education and the teaching profession throughout Senegal. One main focus of WGEP and UDEN’s partnership is the development of the Sisters to School program. Sisters to School works to provide need-based elementary school scholarships to young girls, and achievement- and need-based scholarships for secondary schooling. WGEP also has lots of community goings-on in Senegal and is always working to provide the next level of education and care to girls and women in more rural and poorer regions of Senegal. Right now, WGEP is also working to provide health and safety seminars and first aid kits to families and groups, and to organize more advanced training for teachers in Senegalian schools, because, as any student can tell you, having an excellent teacher serves as an extra motivator. WGEP also works to provide education to women who are no longer school age, organizing trade workshops to teach women for-profit work, and teaching adult literacy classes, so that women are more able to support and understand their daughters’ new schooling.
Women’s Global Education Project is working in Senegal and Kenya to guarantee that women and girls are receiving the best education possible, and Foundation Beyond Belief is happy to support them in their efforts. You can follow WGEP’s efforts on their website, their Facebook page, and their YouTube channel.