A new year, new projects, new countries…
Every fall, our project evaluation team has the huge task of choosing the best girls’ education project in which to invest. We look for projects that are innovative and thoughtful, well anchored in the needs of their community, and managed by experienced partners with a deep knowledge of the context in which they work. We want our funds, our investment, to have the greatest impact possible.
We invite a group of pre-selected potential partners to first submit an expression of interest to introduce their best projects to us. From those proposals, we narrow down our choices to 5 to 6 projects that we feel best represent our goals, objectives and philosophy. These organizations are then invited to submit a full project proposal that includes their budget, timeline, financial results, and monitoring and evaluation plans.
From this information, our four-person team independently evaluates each proposal and then we start the discussions together as a group. We each bring our particular perspective and experience to evaluate which projects we feel will have the most transformative impact in the community.
Each year, the choice is difficult as our partners put forward high-quality proposals. But choose we must! And we have. All three projects target girls, and boys, in three very different contexts and in very vulnerable situations for a total investment of $300,000.
In the refugee camp of Nduta in Tanzania, we will be working with our partner, World University Service of Canada, to support remedial classes for Burundian adolescent girls, many of whom are not attending school and who are particularly at risk of gender-based violence. The goal of the project is to provide them with a safe space to improve their literacy and math skills, and provide social support to ensure they stay in school or are at least better equipped to face the harsh conditions they live in.
In Liberia, we will fund a project with our partner, CODE Canada. CODE’s GALI project will support girls who are overage for the grade they are in. The after-school program will provide literacy and math instruction to help the girls accelerate their skills to allow them to enter a more age-appropriate class level. These students are at high risk of dropping out because of the pressure and demands they face. The girls will also have access to health and reproduction information to help them navigate the particularly crucial turning point of adolescence. When girls stay in school at puberty, the risk of early marriage and pregnancy decrease dramatically, and potential income increases 15-25% for each additional year of schooling.
For our third project, we will be working with Change for Children once again – this time in Guatemala. The project there will take place in the indigenous communities of the Maya-Mam in the Western Highlands. Two technology hubs will be constructed in the isolated rural areas where fewer than 30% of students attend high school. Based on the model of our Mobile Learning Lab (MLL), these hubs will house the RACHEL-Plus server and tablets to enable teachers and students alike to access some of the most up-to-date, interactive and high quality academic content available. As well, Change for Children will have 8 additional MLLs that will travel in 33 communities bringing amazing learning tools where they are needed most.
It is only with your support that we can invest in such strong transformative education projects.
President, 60 million girls Foundation
Teenagers step up to make a difference
For the past 17 years, Beaconsfield High School has held a variety show and this year was no exception. In the past, the proceeds of this tremendously popular fundraiser have gone to support charities in countries such as Nepal and Malawi. However, this year, Cassandra Bedard, a grade 8 student, approached Nancy Dubuc, BHS’s community service animator and the show’s organizer, with the proposal that the proceeds of the variety show go to benefit 60 million girls.
The variety show, held on January 18th and 19th, featured 26 acts and highlighted the many talents of the school’s students. Over 2½ hours, the audiences were treated to a medley of singers, dancers and several bands, as well as a beautiful rendition of Hallelujah by Ceri Howe and Rick O’Loughlin, and a surprise cameo on saxophone by the school’s music director, Phil Legault. Other staff members also contributed greatly to the success of the show.
On the opening night, Wanda introduced the Foundation and described the mobile learning lab and its use in our new project in Guatemala. The following evening, Nancy repeated this message. Several people made generous donations to the Foundation and, in addition, Cassandra and her friends sold 60 million girls’ t-shirts. Over the course of the two evenings, the variety show raised approximately $4,000 to benefit our project.
We are very grateful for the enormous commitment and enthusiasm of the students of Beaconsfield High School. You have made a difference!
Looking towards the future of education
60 million girls will present our very first showcase event this coming May 14th in Montreal. We will gather together Canadian NGOs in the field of education, as well as IT specialists, academics and developers, to formally present the Mobile Learning Lab (MLL) and discuss the possibilities for the future of technology in education in the developing world.
The potential is exciting. Our R&D team continues to explore innovative ways to harness technology to increase learning in isolated rural communities where qualified teachers are desperately needed and where books and class teaching aids hardly exist.
The event is by invitation only. If you are interested in participating, please contact us before March 15th at firstname.lastname@example.org.