AGSP/Mali At a Glance:
2.Kidal, Association Malienne pour la Survie au Sahel (AMSS),
3.Timbuktu, Sahel Etudes Actions pour le Développement (SEAD)
In Year 6, 5,469 scholarships were awarded, 4,955 to girls and 514 to boys in 121 schools (see Table 1). The AGSP/Mali covers scholars at the primary school level. AGSP is scheduled to end in 2011, so to avoid raising expectations and to help bring the program to a responsible end, this year, as instructed by the donor, no new scholars were selected. As a result, the number of scholars this year is significantly lower than previous years. To date, 34,987 scholarships have been awarded to 33,117 girls and 1,870 boys. Scholarship packages include a uniform, shoes, a backpack, textbooks, exercise books, school supplies, lanterns, and sanitary pads (for the girls only). The scholarship also covers school fees and school meals.
Table 1 AGSP Scholars in Mali Year Six
Table 2. AGSP Scholarship Distribution in Mali
Remedial classes and home study groups are the mainstay of the mentoring component. Sensitizations and discussion sessions on HIV/AIDS awareness for students is another main activity. In addition to discussion on HIV/AIDS, the danger of female circumcision is included in these sessions. In Gao, the women role models continue to visit the girls. In Timbuktu, AMSS organized remedial classes in all 33 AGSP schools, placing special emphasis on the remedial classes for 6th graders, as they will have to sit for the 7th grade entrance exam in June. AMSS put AMEs (Mothers’ Clubs) in charge of monitoring the remedial classes as well as health and hygiene in school by organizing students for the cleaning tasks in school.
PARTNERSHIPS/ COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION
World Education has partnered with three local organizations in Mali (AMSS, SEAD and AEDS) to help provide scholarships, find and train mentors, and oversee the program. World Education also conducts capacity building activities with each NGO to strengthen their skills.
SEAD in Gao garnered additional financial support (from a local architect in collaboration with an organization in France) to build additional classrooms and latrines, and purchase new school desks, all of which benefited the entire student body. AEDS in Kidal, and AMSS in Timbuktu involved the PTAs, School Management Committees and Mothers’ Clubs (AMEs) in the close monitoring of the in-home study groups and especially the remedial classes, as teachers get paid to perform those. The AMEs together with AMSS female field agents identified 331 girls who would benefit from the sanitary pads. The explained to the girls how to use the pads then proceeded to distribute the pads in the discretion of the girls’ homes, not in public. AMSS reports that girls who used to skip school during the menstruation periods to avoid teasing by the boys, now can attend school in peace. AMSS with other organizations also built separate latrines for the girls and that also has contributed to more regular school attendance by the girls. AMEs continue their sensitization of mothers to alleviate the house chore burden on the girls to provide them more study time at home. Additionally, through income-generating activities (school gardens, artifacts, and petty trade) PTAs, SMCs and AMEs have contributed to the payment of health cost for students, teachers’ salaries in rural areas, and the improvement of canteen meals in schools.
Communities draft their action plans every year and submit them to donors for support while they contribute either in cash or in kind to the implementation of the activities. The table below depicts specific activities that communities have carried out in support of the children under NGO guidance.
At the Cheick Nouh de Kabara School in Timbuktu, three girls of the same age who started school together in first grade, three best friends who are now in 6th grade, three excellent students who hold 1st, 3rd, and 4th place in their class after the first semester results, are the pride of their parents, the Mothers’ Association and especially of the school administration. AMSS visited the school to talk to the girls and learn more about who they are and why they are exemplary academic examples in their school. The school director said “the girls are about to achieve a miracle at the school. As teachers and parents, we can only rejoice in these girls’ success. They are a motivating factor for so many of the girls in lower grades who consistently work hard in school, go to class every day, and strive to go to the next class in hopes of also receiving scholarships.” AMSS will be sure to follow these girls throughout the year.
Ambassabors' Girls' Scholarship Program (AGSP) is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development