Guinea - 2012
Partnership Helps Young Girls Obtain Quality Education in Guinea
Educating young girls in Guinea is an ongoing challenge, but a partnership between Alcoa Foundation and FHI 360 is helping students in four primary schools remain in school and obtain a quality education.
In 2009, the partners began providing support to two primary schools in the Boke region of Guinea to improve the overall quality of education and reverse the trend of a dropout rate that reached upwards of 10%. The program added two additional primary schools in the region in 2011.
There are myriad reasons young girls in the country do not complete their primary education. These include household chores, premature weddings, and the need to repeat a grade level. The partners realized that to be successful, the families and community needed to be involved.
The program addresses the issue in multiple ways. Key components include:
- Life skills training, such as cooking;
- Weekly one-on-one mentoring provided by 15 trained mentors;
- Training programs for female teachers, which will help sustain the mentoring once the project ends;
- Increased participation by parents and community members, including quarterly parent/teacher meetings, school competitions that are open to the public, and school visits by working women who discuss their careers;
- Scholarships to help cover school costs;
- Best Mother award to honor the mother whose daughter has not missed school during the year; and
- Increased dialogue between mothers and daughters by having the daughters discuss their assignments and learning and the mothers review their daughters’ school notebooks daily.
The project is showing early results. At the end of the 2011/2012 school year, 70% of the girls in the four schools passed their final exams compared to 50% to 60% at the initial two schools prior to the program’s implementation. The dropout rate is now 1% to 2% compared to the historical 8% to 10%.
“The community is satisfied with the program, because it has increased parental involvement in school activities and established a dialogue between mothers and their children,” said Thierno Bah, deputy director of planning and development at the Boke Prefecture Directorate of Education. “In addition, the tutoring and mentoring have helped the girls achieve success at school.”