750 Girls Get Education Scholarships
“My parents got me out of school a while ago I was in class three,” said 10-year-old Asha* who dreams of becoming a teacher when she grows up.
Asha, is one of the 750 girls who were registered for scholarships from 35 schools in Gaalkacyo, Guri-Ceel, Mogadishu and Dhuusamarreeb. The girls are from primary and intermediate school levels.
The exercise is part of an education project whose goal is; to enrol more girls in schools, inspire them to stay in schools and make sure they graduate with the knowledge that enables them to break the cycle of poverty. The project will benefit 7, 300 girls from South Central Somalia.
CISP is one of the organizations in the consortium of Non-Governmental Organisations implementing the project.
Over the last year, the organisation and partners have been talking to parents, children, teachers and other community members. The discussions were aimed at finding out reasons behind low school enrolment and attendance. Participants of these discussions also suggested practical solutions.
Lack of school fees was identified as the main hindrance of access to education and sponsorship was recommended.
In conjunction with education authorities, the process started in September 2014. School head-teachers and members of the CECs were also involved in the exercise. Community Education Committees (CEC) played a big role in informing communities about the availability of the scholarships, and when they can register their children.
“I had five daughters and three sons and none of them has ever been to school because I am unable to pay their fees. I am lucky that my daughter is getting this scholarship,” said Habiba*.
According to CISP’s Monitoring and Evaluation officer for education, the scholarship will cover monthly school fees, stationery and uniforms. While benefiting from the scholarship, the performance and attendance of the girls will be closely monitored to ensure that any problem they face is identified and promptly addressed.
“My son is a student at this school and I have now brought my daughters aged thirteen and five,” said Fahima*. “The girls have never been to school because of the hardships we are in,” she added.
The beneficiaries of the scholarships included children from families that have been displaced from other parts of Somalia, “we used to live in Qoryole but have now moved to Mogadishu. I was in class seven there but I have been out of school since we came here. I want to go back to school and finish my studies,” stated 15-year-old Farhiya*.
According to a World Bank report the average gross enrolment rate of girls at the primary level in Somalia is 22%; the grants come in handy.
*Pseudonyms used for confidentiality.
By Hussein Somo, Communication Officer, Mogadishu