White and Blue Nile Undergraduate Scholarships – A new scholarship for Sudan
Windle Trust International has supported over 5,000 students to complete undergraduate courses at in East Africa since 1988. In Sudan, various organisations, including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), assist refugees to go on to university, however, there is currently no support for indigenous Sudanese living in rural and conflict affected areas.
Following on from the recent opening of our new office in the capital of Sudan’s Blue Nile State, Damazine, Windle Trust International is also pleased to announce the launch of a new scholarship programme: the White and Blue Nile Undergraduate Scholarships. In these regions in particular, educational aspirations are in dire need of support. According to UNICEF, in Blue Nile State only 43% of primary age going children are currently enrolled in and attending school and only 28% of those progress to secondary education. Out of the 28% who in secondary schools, only 30% of these progress to higher education. Early marriage for girls is common in these areas, as is female genital mutilation and trafficking. The scholarship programme continues WTI's work in supporting girls’ education in East Africa, whilst also directly contributing to the development of some of the most impoverished regions of the Sudan. In the programmes first year it is proud to have achieved its target of 70% female enrolment, with 28 scholarships awarded to females, and 12 awarded to males.
In addition to scholarships that cover tuition and living expenses, scholars are supported by a wrap-around care programme. Alongside pastoral and academic welfare, this also includes mentorship training as part of a programme of community mobilisation. They will learn to act as leaders and role models to cascade the value of education down to younger students in their home communities. As part of this, students are specifically trained on the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation and the importance of safeguarding while they are at university. This will give them additional skills, give them confidence, build capacity and prepare them for life after school.
Through these scholarships we hope to achieve improved access to education at all levels. This is essential to the development of Sudan and the eradication of poverty. Education, especially higher education, is a great equalizer: it can open the door to jobs, resources, and skills that a family needs to not just survive but thrive. Access to education is a globally recognized solution to the cycle of poverty. This is, in part, because it also addresses many of the other issues that keep communities vulnerable. Education is the secret ingredient to ending extreme poverty as it stimulates economic growth, reduces income inequality, reduces infant and maternal deaths, reduces vulnerability to HIV and AIDS and reduces violence gender based at home and in society.