AGSP/Senegal At a Glance:
2.Groupe d’Action pour le Developpement Communautaire (GADEC)
3.Organisation de Formation et d’Appui au Developpement (OFAD)
In years 1-5 of the program, Scholars were selected through a transparent process to promote accountability and inclusiveness. With active participation from the NGOs, schools, parents, and local authorities, a selection committee was formed including a USAID representative, the AGSP consultant, a representative from the NGO, the governor’s office, education inspectors at the regional and department levels, parents’ association members, women leaders, women teachers, MOE/SCOFI members (girls’ education advisers at various MOE levels), and other local organizations. In year 6 of the program no new scholars were selected. Instead World Education continued to work with its three local NGO partners Femme, Enfance, Environnement (FEE), Groupe d’Action pour le Developpement Communautaire (GADEC), and Organisation de Formation et d’Appui au Developpement (OFAD) to provide scholarships to 1,747 continuing scholars, of which 841 are girls and 906 are boys (see table 1).
Table 1. AGSP Scholarship Distribution in Senegal
Together the NGOs implemented the program in 147 schools. To date, 9,575 scholarships have been awarded to 6,828 girls and 2,747 boys in Senegal.
Scholarships are comprised of school supplies, books, a hurricane lamp, and money for school fees and food, and sanitary pads (for the girls ).
Table 2. AGSP Scholarship Distribution in Senegal
The more than 100 mentors in Senegal are volunteers in the AGSP communities. Mentoring activities in Senegal involve checking on scholars both while in school as well as at home. Mentors in the Fatick region, where implementing partner FEE operates the AGSP, report that during their home visits, they also address certain issues that affect the scholars of the region. In particular, the mentors talk with parents about the negative effects of early marriage and the dangers of sending girls to urban centers to look for work. Mentors work with school administrators and parents to monitor girls’ attendance and follow up if there are any problems on the home front that may be interfering with school.
The USAID Mentoring Resource Guide, an integral part of the activities, is used for the NGOs’ facilitation of training of trainers. Mentors also facilitate remedial classes in preparation for exams.
In Senegal, radio is an effective way of sensitizing people about the importance of education, empowering the public, parents, mentors, authorities, to share the message about children’s rights to education and learning. NGO partner, FEE, was accompanied by a local radio journalist from Fatick FM on its scholarship distribution tour. The event was broadcast live on the radio, which not only gave the program greater visibility but also served as an effective and extensive communication tool.
In May, the WEI AGSP Program Director went to Senegal to visit each NGO partner and conduct site visits to some of the schools. As part of her visit, she held focus groups with the adolescent girl beneficiaries who received sanitary napkins donated by Procter & Gamble as part of the AGSP scholarship award. The purpose for holding the focus groups was to find out the girls’ and their families’ reactions to having received sanitary napkins this year. The Director also took the opportunity to facilitate a session on puberty education and personal hygiene, and how to properly use and dispose of the napkins (there isn’t always a safe, discreet place for disposal). This is a concern to World Education and will need to be looked into further. Despite this issue, the girls and their families expressed their appreciation and said that they would continue to use the pads and even purchase them on their own despite the disposal issue because it gives them the protection they need.
Community involvement is an important element of the AGSP in Senegal. Parents collaborate with Mentors, particularly in the monitoring of students function. They play a very active role in ensuring students attend their remedial classes. Despite the on-going challenges related to teacher strikes, parents are vigilant in their efforts to keep students engaged in their studies. During exam periods, teams of parent association members helped out by making sure students were provided with lodging and meals, and everything they needed to be in the best possible study conditions was available to them.
Sinthiang Samba Coulibaly was a young girl whose parents were on the verge of divorce. Then something remarkable happened. When the couple stopped to recognize the effect of their daughter being an AGSP scholar, it triggered a brand new awareness in them. Through chance and good fortune, their daughter was awarded a scholarship through a program supported by the American people. It inspired such hope in that they decided to reconcile their marriage. Most of the community shares the belief that the scholarship saved their marriage, and a girl’s education.
Ambassabors' Girls' Scholarship Program (AGSP) is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development