Supporting Women in East Africa
Windle Trust International’s mission is to to challenge poverty and inequality by expanding access to, and improving the quality of, education and training for communities affected by conflict, displacement, neglect, or discrimination in Eastern and Horn of Africa. This includes a special focus on increasing educational opportunities for women and girls throughout the world as we strive to overcome the problems of inequality, discrimination and gender based violence that many women still face.
To mark International Women’s Day 2021, we would like to highlight just some of the work currently being done by WTI and our partners to support women and girls in East Africa.
The Adolescent Girls’ Education in Crisis Initiative (AGENCI) is a four-year (2020-2024) project funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) which supports adolescent girls and female youths to access and succeed in education. The project is implemented in Northern Bahr el Ghazal (NBG) and Western Equatoria (WES) states and addresses gender, social, cultural, and economic barriers adolescent girls and young women face in accessing education, making life decisions, and improving their equitable learning outcomes in secondary schools. This is done by addressing critical moments in girls’ education to reduce the risk of dropping out of the education system, allowing their transition to secondary, vocational training or employment. AGENCI provides mentoring of girls through life skills training, formation of school clubs, peer to peer groups, radio talk shows and door to door community outreach.
Girls’ Education South Sudan 2 (GESS2) is an inclusive programme that will transform the lives of a generation of children in South Sudan through education. The five years program is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and is implemented by Windle Trust International in Lakes and Unity states.
GESS2 operates on 5 core outputs: Behaviour Change Communication; Cash Transfers; Capitation Grants; Quality Education; and Knowledge, Evidence, Research and Learning. Through these actions we aim to create an enabling socio-cultural environment to support girls’ education. Behaviour Change Communication for example targets households through family listening groups where radios with pre-recorded messages are made available for all member of the family to learn from before passing the radio to the next family. Cash transfers support girls with payments tied to their school attendance, helping to alleviate poverty for those families who support their girls in attending schools, whilst Capitation Grants provide reliable funding for schools to remove registration fees for students and parents, allowing increasingly equitable access for all.
Ahfad University Hostels Project
Since 1998 WTI has supported a student hostels project for female students in partnership with the Gordon Memorial College Trust Fund and Ahfad University for Women in Khartoum, Sudan.
Each year accommodation is provided in four hostels in Omdurman, Khartoum, for around 80 girls so that they can live close to Ahfad University for Women in an environment suitable for study. Many of them have no family support in Khartoum or would otherwise have to live in settlements without electricity or running water on the outskirts of the city, up to two hours’ journey away. The project enables a significant number of girls to complete their degrees who might otherwise be forced to drop out.
The project supports the four hostels through contributing towards the rent and utilities, providing equipment and furniture, relevant training and supporting the student hostels committee to manage the hostels.
Nuba Mountains Undergraduate Scholarships
Scholarships have long been a part of the WTI toolkit for increasing access to education. In partnership with the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organisation (NRRDO), our Nuba Mountains Undergraduate Scholarships supports refugee females from the Nuba Mountains to study at the Catholic University of South Sudan. The scholarships aim to overcome barriers to female participation in tertiary education for those from the Nuba Mountains region and are therefore open to female applicants only. The programme particularly encourages candidates who would be the first female in their family to attend university or who have overcome family opposition to attend tertiary.
The Postgraduate Programme
Since the 1980s, WTI has been sponsoring students for postgraduate education in the UK. In 2021 we are delighted to support 5 female scholars who will go on to be future leaders and change makers in their communities once they return to their home countries.
Rahma is currently studying for an MSc in Public Health and Health Promotion at Bangor University and has experience of working as a Public Health Officer for Wajir and Garissa County Governments in Kenya. When she returns home she plans to focus on programs to reduce child mortality and eradicate gender based violence, with a particular interest in ending the practice of early marriage.
Another Masters of Public Health student, Sarah studies at the University of Leeds. With previous training in Social Work and Social Administration, prior to studying in the UK Sarah worked as a hospital administrator for 4 years and a hospital Public Engagement Officer for 3 years. She has experience in engaging patients and stakeholders from the community in health related issues. Upon return to Uganda, Sarah plans to plans to engage with health systems and partners to strengthen health service delivery and access.
Studying for an MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management at the University of Westminster, Ileka Harriet’s goal is to support Ugandan communities prone to the effects of disasters such as floods, drought, climate change, discrimination and violence, death from diseased associated with inadequate water supplies, and poor sanitation and hygiene during crises. Through her MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management she hopes to improve her skills in logistics, procurement, analysis and research methodologies so that she can create a sustainable research centre to support crises with professional expertise.
Also at the University of Westminster, Aipa is studying towards her MSc Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Enterprise Development with the goal of returning to Kenya equipped with knowledge and skills to promote sustainable career and business opportunities in her community through supporting and developing small local businesses to be innovative, viable and self-sustaining. Through this she hopes to encourage community self-reliance and reduce dependence on outside aid.
Josephine currently studies for an MSc in Agroforestry and Food Security at Bangor University but plans to develop a local programme in collaboration with the county government and other line partners focusing on the integration of agroforestry systems, practices and techniques within community agricultural activities for resource use efficiency and increased agricultural productivity and food supply.