USAID AGSPAGSP  

Mentoring

A critical component of World Education's approach is providing mentoring and support activities for scholars. These support strategies vary widely from country to country, but their purpose is one and the same: to provide the scholarship recipients with role models, access to sound advice and someone to share ideas with about the future. The mentors monitor the girls' presence in school, provide the students with academic help and are resources for other questions related to issues such as nutrition, adolescent reproductive health (including preventing unwanted pregnancies and HIV/AIDS), environmental issues, and future opportunities for girls who wish to continue their education, such as technical or trade education, attending university or professional school.

In collaboration with school directors, teachers, Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs), Mothers' Associations (AMEs), and other community based organizations focused on education, World Education's NGO partners organize tutoring groups, remedial classes and study groups to strengthen basic academic skills and/or explore life skill themes. The remedial sessions are usually supervised by teachers and are open to non-scholarship recipients as well. Sessions to prepare sixth grade scholars for the end-of-year exam have also been held.

When feasible, World Education's NGO partners organize exchange visits which allow scholarship recipients to meet their peers in other communities and regions and for many, to travel outside of their communities for the first time.

Girls at a Public Announcement Ceremony in Sierra Leone.

Depending on local needs and capacity, girls' education festivals are organized to increase girls' and boys' awareness of gender issues in education. In a number of countries, these are organized to celebrate National Girls' Education Day. Children identify issues on a common theme in their communities and present their expression in an artistic form through poems, songs and dances. The objective is to enhance critical thinking of both girls and boys on gender issues in their communities. In some instances, the girls as well as their communities have been sensitized on hygiene, the negative impact of child trafficking, female and child abuse including female genital mutilation, the negative impact of early marriage. In other instances, parents have raised funds (building a well and charging money for its use, for instance) to help support future girls' education activities.

During the 2005-2006 school year, WEI hosted a number of workshops giving NGO partners an opportunity to learn from each other about successful mentoring activities. In Benin, a regional workshop with representatives from Benin, Burkina Faso and Senegal took place. That was followed by a regional workshop in Ghana, with representatives from Ghana, The Gambia and Liberia participating. In-country workshops also took place in Guinea, Mali, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo. These workshops resulted in the development of the a mentoring manual for NGO partners based on lessons learned and experiences. This manual was shared with all partners to enable them use in the field and to hold similar activities with field staff and mentors in the program.

The Girls' Mentoring Resource Guide developed by USAID in 2008 covers multiple topics pertinent to the scholars' lives and represents for the mentors a wealth of information that can guide them in their work.