AGSP/Nigeria At a Glance:
In Year 6, 2,205 scholarships were awarded (1,057 girls, 1,148 boys) to children in primary and junior secondary schools (see Table 1). There are 509 schools with AGSP scholars in Year 6. The NGO partners were instructed not to select additional scholars for the duration of the 2 year extension However, in previous years, the 8 NGOs followed the same selection criteria: girls and boys from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, orphans, students with disabilities, and HIV affected students were selected to participate in the AGSP.
To date, 11,555 scholarships have been awarded to 7,340 girls and 4,215 boys in Nigeria (see Table 2). Scholarship packages are comprised of two uniforms, sandals, socks, a backpack, textbooks, exercise books, and school supplies. In addition, the scholarship covers school fees, and in some cases, school meals and transportation.
Year 6 was a late start for the AGSP as everyone waited in anticipation for news regarding a possible extension of the AGSP. In October 2009, it was announced that the AGSP was extended an additional two years, through July 2011.
This year, AGSP Nigeria placed a great emphasis on attending as many scholarship distribution ceremonies as possible and inviting USAID Nigeria and U.S. Embassy staff to participate. The outcome was a success. The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency Robin Renee Sanders, participated in the distribution ceremony in Kano, while the Public Affairs Officer, Jennifer DeWitt Walsh represented the U.S. Ambassador at the distribution ceremony in Abuja, F.C.T. Mr. Haladu Muhammed participated in ceremonies in Sokoto and Abuja. In addition, WEI/AGSP Nigeria team members, Kaye Efem and Toyin Zakariya, presided over ceremonies in Niger, Lagos, Borno, and Enugu States.
A major highlight in Year 6 was a visit from Joel Lamstein, President of World Education. He was in Nigeria from March 13-20, 2010 and visited the Garki Junior Secondary School on March 19, 2010 to meet with AGSP scholars and their parents. The ceremony was well attended. Several scholars from various schools, parents and school officials from area schools were present. Partner NGO FOMWAN organized the event, and FOMWAN President Hadjiya Maryam Othman presided over the ceremony.
The scholars welcomed President Lamstein with a song. The scholars and their parents expressed their immense gratitude to AGSP. Scholars shared their experiences as to how there lives have been transformed positively, because they are in school and have hopes for a better future. A gift was presented to Joel on behalf of the scholars. FOMWAN also presented him with a plaque and magazines of its activities. Joel thanked everyone and said he was pleased with the kindness of the people he met during his visit. The local television station, NTA was present during the ceremony. They interviewed Mr. Lamstein immediately following the meeting.
The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency Robin Renee Sanders visited scholars at the West African People’s Institute (WAPI) in Calabar, Cross River State on June 11, 2010. The visit was part of the Ambassador’s farewell tour before she departed Nigeria in July 2010. Mr. Toyin Zakariya, Lead Country Consultant, was present at the ceremony. Youthcare officials were in attendance too. The Ambassador first met with the school officials. After the meeting, she met with the 18 AGSP scholars, who received school bags and books from the Ambassador.
Table 1 AGSP Scholars in Nigeria Y6
Table 2. AGSP Scholarship Distribution in Nigeria
The scholars receive mentoring in the form of one-on-one mentoring, plays, role playing, skills building, peer counseling, and discussions on topics such as: HIV&AIDS, personal hygiene, career choices, child trafficking, the importance of role models, and puberty education.
A total of 192 Mentoring Guides were copied and distributed to the NGO partners. The NGOs were trained on how to use the Guides during a training workshop in Ghana last year. This year, the NGOs organized training workshops of their own to train their mentors, and distribute the guides to them. Mentors have expressed their appreciation for the Guides because it helps them to discuss sensitive topics.
The AGSP scholars are enrolled in remedial courses during the academic year thanks to funding from USAID. Some of the NGO partners organize remedial courses for the scholars during extended holiday breaks and the summer period. They realize the importance of keeping the scholars focused on academics, and occupied during long breaks.
The eight NGO partners organized puberty education talks for adolescent AGSP scholars. Procter & Gamble provide funding for the talks, and donated Always feminine pads for the girl scholars. The facilitators used the USAID Mentoring Guide, and covered topics such as menstruation, puberty, personal hygiene, and female and male anatomy. At the end of the sessions, each girl received Always feminine pads.
Community members have been active in assisting the AGSP. The NGOs report that the local PTAs, Community Development Committees, local government officials, chiefs, traditional rulers, all have contributed in various ways to ensuring the success of the scholars.
Samuel IrohSamuel Iroh is a male student from New Layout Secondary School in Enugu. He lives with his widow mother, who cares for her four other children too. Samuel joined the AGSP in 2008. Samuel had completed his primary education prior to joining the AGSP. However, he had poor results in primary school, and junior secondary school due to poor reading skills. Samuel was enrolled in remedial courses, and he worked with mentors. During the last cumulative exam, Samuel placed 7th position out of 834 other students in JSS3.
Oluchi AnwusiOluchi Anwusi from Metropolitan Girls Secondary School, Enugu is 14 years old, and in JSS2. She placed in 4th position out of 744 JSS2 students in the school. Oluchi lost her father when she was 6. Then, she began living in different families as house help. Oluchi always yearned to go to school and was overjoyed when she was selected to participate in the AGSP. In September 2009, YORDEL discovered that Oluchi had been sent to the village because she had lost her caretaker. NGO staff searched for, and found Oluchi and brought her back to school. The staff is thankful that Oluchi is back in school, as she has had outstanding results in school. Oluchi said, “I will continue like this, I will even do better on my next result because I have all I need to do well in school because of the AGSP program.”
Ambassabors' Girls' Scholarship Program (AGSP) is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development