Thanks to the generosity and support of the Stone Family Foundation, Girl Up Initiative Uganda (GUIU) has awarded 10 girls from our 240 cohort with a one-year scholarship. This will enable the selected students to stay in primary school, and also get the Girl Up experience to help secure their futures.
Supporting girls' education lies at the heart of Girl Up Initiative Uganda's mission and vision, and so it made sense for us to invest in addressing what we identified as a major barrier to education for many of the girls we are trying to reach - financial constraints. Many of the girls that have been unable to complete our Adolescent Girls Program program have also dropped out of school, because their parents or guardians could not afford school fees and/or would rather have their daughter at home to complete household chores.
This scholarship program also complements GUIU's work that we began in Gulu in Northern Uganda to facilitate school sponsorships for two secondary school girls for our partner organization Project Hope.
Here are the girls that we are supporting with primary school scholarships for this year!
Ultimately, Girl Up Initiative Uganda believes that what needs to be tackled are the socio-cultural, political, and economic root causes that underlie the challenges many girls face in accessing an education, as well as related program and policy frameworks. Our Adolescent Girls Program works to identify and change these root causes so that families are encouraged and have the resources to send their girls to school. For instance, our staff visited the guardians of all the girls who were identified for the school scholarship to ensure that the need was real and that the parents would do their part to support their girl to excel in school.
Also, there are many other issues that impact the overall enrollment and drop-out rates among girls, such as son-preference regarding who gets to attend school when resources are constrained, the impact of poor menstrual hygiene management, and social gender norms within the household that leave girls with little or no time for homework. It is pertinent that girls have access to education and other opportunities, as they are often the gate keepers of their communities and responsible for the economic and social well-being of their families when they become mothers. Investing in girls, therefore, is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do, with ripple effects that benefit the whole society!
As always, thoughts, comments, and questions are welcome! What do you see as being the biggest challenges to girls getting an education? And how can key stakeholders ensure effective, sustainable solutions are implemented to address them? Let us know below.