Last year, thanks to a generous donation from the Stone Family Foundation and their commitment to girls’ education, Girl Up Initiative Uganda awarded 10 adolescent girls from the 2016 cohort with a one-year scholarship. Those selected were economically challenged and showed devotion towards academic excellence, as well as active participation in the different activities of the Adolescent Girls Program. The school scholarship support enabled the girls to continue their studies in primary school by covering their school fees that their parents and guardians were not able to pay.
Our school scholarship program aims to support the basic education for girls living in slum areas of Kampala. By having access to an education, adolescent girls have the potential to break the cycle of poverty and transform their futures. Ensuring young girls from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds have equal access to education as their male counterparts has always been at the center of the organization's mission. In 2016 alone we directly reached over 400 girls with our leadership and sexual and reproductive rights and health (SRHR) training program to encourage girls to become responsible, informed and healthy young women with a sense of agency and self-efficacy. Financial limitations remain a significant barrier between hard working and gifted students and their education. Other barriers include household chores, as well as a lack of effective menstruation management which our programs also address.
Of the 10 girls selected in 2016, 3 girls have graduated from primary school thus far, and many have joined the Big Sister Mentorship Program - a peer-to-peer mentoring initiative. This allows them to continue being part of the Girl Up family, while serving as role models both for the upcoming class as well as their communities. The scholarship program has also allowed us to directly involve parents - who comment on the girl’s development and performance - which broadens the scope of our impact. We tasked the parents (in contracts signed at the beginning of the year) to support and encourage their daughters and provide Girl Up Initiative Uganda with termly evaluations and reports. The program has also allowed us to further engage with the female patron teachers. From the two schools where the girls were selected, our female patron teachers have continued to support the scholarship awardees and follow up to ensure that the girls achieve their academic goals.
(Photo: Teachers' review meeting)
Evaluations of their performance as scholarship recipients was based on both school class work performance, general conduct both in school and in the community as well as commitment to sharing the goals of Girl Up Initiative Uganda. We hope to have an even higher rate and number of success stories this year, as we strive to assist the best and brightest to complete their primary education.
Following the success of the last scholarship, we will be awarding another set of 10 girls (including the 7 current awardees).
We welcome your thoughts, comments, and questions. What other activities do you envision that Girl Up Initiative Uganda conduct to ensure our girls have access to an education and complete primary school? Let us know below.