For the past three years we have worked with Girls Educational International as implementing partner of the organization's Scholarship initiatives. During this tiime of our professional partnership, Girls Educational International has sponsored 47 girls on the scholarship program in two coounties in Liberia: namely, Margibi and Bong counties. All the girls on the scholarship program are sitting to the West African Examination this year and the GEI has agreed to pay the exam fees for all the girls. By the end of 2011, we will be able to graduate 10 girls from high, another 10 will enter high school, another 10, junior high school, another 10 completing elementary school and 7 entering elementary school. These achievements are only possible through the GEI girls scholarshp pogram. After the civil war in Liberia, the education of girls remain a serious national concern. Coming out of a war situation, the government is unable to provide adequat access to education for all girls. It is organization like GEI that is helping to improve access to girls education through the provision of scholarship. Such assistance remain a very crucial part of our progress to recovery and very important for rural girls, many of whom will not go school without financial intervention from other sources. I hope the GEI will find necessary resources to continue to support girls on this continent.
The challenge of "Bedari" (a women rights NGO in Pakistan) is phenomenal as the discrimination against women and girls is massive and deep rooted. Bedari's experience of over 18 years tells that post primary level education for girls can be an effective strategy to address the issues of discrimination and violence against women. However for the poorest families of remote rural villages, where the secondary schools are far away, the post primary level education is not affordable, financially. they need direct support to afford the transportation and other expenditures to send their girls to secondary schools. This is where larger international NGOs and donors do not help out. These larger donors are trying to follow the "right based approach" but missing a point that the poorest of the poorest are mostly left out of development programs due to non availability of direct support for them. Bedari was being approached by a far off village Laphi, none of their girls were attending secondary school because they were not able to afford it financially. we visited the village met wit girls and their families and started trying to find resources, but found it very difficult until we suddenly know about Girls Education International (GEI). GEI provided us with the necessary resources and now there are 30 girls from the village Laphi who are attending a secondary school. All of these girls who used to see, helplessly, their brothers and cousins going to secondary schools in the other village while they were left behind to do household chores, rear livestock and bring fuel wood. They were really excited to know that they will be able to attend school in another village which is around 40 minutes away by local transport. They expressed it smiles and laughs and tears and hugs. The girls, their families and us all are grateful to GEI for making this possible. The approach that GEI is following has made it possible for the poorest of the poor to participate in the project. it is about post primary education of girls. The project has the potential to keep the girls at school till the age of 16 or 17. Which means that they are protected against domestic labor, teenage arranged marriage and pregnancies and the resulting impacts on their health. It will make them the most of educated person of their households, so they may have some say in important decisions at individual and household levels. The end result is empowerment of women these girls. it is groups of 30 girls they will have some say at community level as well. Bedari is working with them for their self-growth and leadership skills for this very purpose.
This group is dynamite and I can't say enough good things about them. Mountain Fund acted as their fiscal agent when they first started because they had so much passion, drive and determination we were more than willing to help them get their feet on the ground. They have matured as an organization and I am sure they will continue to evolve into a major force in the field of education for girls. We are proud beyond words to have had an affiliation with them and ready at anytime to work with them in the future as well. Scott MacLennan, Executive Director, The Mountain Fund
Girls Education International (GEI) promotes girls education in the developing world with projecs in Nepal, Pakistan, Liberia. Teach one girl to read and you empower not one woman but three generations, improving the future of her children and grandchildren and many others in her community. GEI is a group of committed volunteers, who enjoy mountaineering and wish to give back to the mountain regions where we climb.
I read a story in Climbing magazine about Heidi and how she started Girls Ed. The story is fascinating. I visited the website and would like to learn more about how they help women all over the world with the gift of education.
Girls Education International (GEI) is a young non-profit working to increase access to education for girls in underserved and underdeveloped regions of the world. The work GEI is doing right now is impacting the lives of many young girls and women in three countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Recent reports from GEI's in-country program directors and teachers of the girls indicate great successes. Many of the girls in Liberia are excelling in their studies, ranking top in their classes, scoring high on their exams and planning to go on to college when they finish secondary school. The opportunity afforded these young women through GEI's work will likely lead to increased access to education for their children in the future as they have a firsthand account of how education can improve life. GEI has a lot of growing to do and will continue to improve its organizational structure and governance, but the programming is hopeful and the positive impact on the girls involved is undeniable.