Women and Girls in Science
February 11, is recognized by The United Nations as International Day of Women and Girls in Science. On December 22, 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution that would recognize the need and the importance of women and girls having a participatory role in the fields of science, technology, and innovation. The role of women and girls in these fields are important components of successfully achieving gender equality and empowerment of women. In order for this to happen they must have full and equal access to take on roles within these fields. According to the UN’s website, in a study conducted within 14 countries, it was found that the probability for female students of graduating with a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctor’s degree in science-related fields are 18%, 8% and 2%. In comparison, the probability for male students is 37%, 18%, and 6%.
Partners for Development believes women and girls empowerment is the cornerstone for sustainable development. In memory of Anne Johnson, former Nigeria Country Program Director and dedicated PfD team member for over 20 years, PfD created the Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship. One of Anne’s greatest passions and development issues was girl’s education. With this scholarship, PfD partnered with Life Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), located in Nigeria, to provide scholarships for girls in secondary school. With the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty, and allowing for the next generation to thrive, the scholarships are awarded to the daughters of microcredit borrowers.
Meet Vivian Nzube Izuagwu, a Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship Recipient. Vivian is 15 years old and the youngest child of Mr. and Mrs. Izuagwu, who are both petty traders. Vivian is one of two daughters in a family of five children. She attends Federal Government College, in Warri, Delta State in southern Nigeria and is in Senior Secondary School. According to her friends, Vivian is a very serious and intelligent student who always comes to school before every other student and inspires her mates to perform better in their studies.
Vivian’s dream is to become a medical doctor in the future and is studying very hard to achieve that dream. In Vivian’s words, “I like the Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship because in the past, I was always unable to pay my school fees regularly, but now, I pay my fees on time….. the burden and stress on my parents has also reduced and I have the privilege of attending one of the best schools in Delta State. So I am happy about the scholarship.”
These scholarships further help ensure that young girls can finish and pursue a higher education, a task that may have been financially impossible if not for the scholarships. Women and girls having access to higher education and roles in science help bring about some of the greatest minds, that without, possibly many innovative, and lifesaving inventions and ideas would not be exist. Donate today and become a monthly donor to support PfD’s mission to improve access to education to girls like Vivian.
To educate a girl child is to invest in a better tomorrow. The evidence is clear- investing in girls’ education results in strong economies as well as healthy and stable communities. However, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) asserts that girls have a higher chance than boys of never setting foot in a classroom. Girls continue to face indomitable challenges, which pose a significant barrier to their education; therefore, Partners for Development (PfD) has initiated a campaign to educate and empower girls.
PfD’s Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund (AJMSF), named for our late colleague Anne Johnson, aims to support the education of girls in Nigeria, where there are gender disparities in education. Boys attend secondary school at a rate that is 10% higher than girls. The literacy rate among the 15-24 age group is 76% for males and only 58% for females (UNICEF, 2013). These disparities continue to grow in the poorer northern region, where girls are forced to work rather than continue beyond primary school.
The AJMSF provides support to girls, in the form of tuition and books, to support them through Junior Secondary School thus increasing the retention of girls in secondary schools in Nigeria. The majority of donations come from individuals, and it is through their generosity that we are able to cover 40-50% of each girl’s total annual school fees, insuring the sustainability of the fund. Since its inception in the 2014/2015 academic year, the AJMSF has supported the education of 48 Nigerian girls! PfD is immensely grateful for the generous donations, which have enabled us to empower these future leaders.
Evelyn Ivie Igbalagh (pictured to the left), age 18, is the second of five children of Mr. and Mrs. Igbalagh. Her parents are peasant farmers living in a rural community, Ehor, in Edo State in southwestern Nigeria. Income from the family’s small farm makes it very difficult to afford school fees for Ivie and her four siblings (while public school theoretically should be free in reality parents are expected to contribute for school supplies, teacher compensation, and school lunches). At times, Ivie has been forced into street hawking to supplement her family’s income, a situation that can expose her to emotional and physical abuse. Ivie’s parents made the difficult choice of sending her to live with relatives in Benin City, capital of Edo State. In exchange for work that Ivie does at the relatives’ home they help cover some of her school costs.
The relocation and level of poverty in her own family has slowed Ivie’s progression through the grades of secondary school. At age 18 she is several years older than most of her classmates because of her poor family status that is unable to pay for her education) at Uselu Junior Secondary School, Uselu, Benin City, Edo State where she is in her final year. Ivie is one of the Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship recipients. She attends a mixed secondary school of about 3,000 students. Her favorite subject is Business Studies and she enjoys reading. Despite the many challenges she has faced Ivie is determined to move on to Senior Secondary School and complete the three years at that higher level. Learn more about the impact of the AJMS and read other success stories in the recent report.
In 2012, the global movement, #GivingTuesday began on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. With the kick-off of the Holiday Season, there are consumerism based days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, that fail to represent the true holiday spirit — ‘tis the season for giving back! Therefore, #GivingTuesday began to re-ignite the true Holiday Cheer, spread happiness, and promote a global, positive movement of donating to charities.
By supporting #GivingTuesday, and the participating organizations and nonprofits, you are giving hope, giving life, giving an education, giving opportunities, and giving the resources necessary to promote a just and peaceful world.
However, giving doesn’t require a significant amount of money. Please, give your time volunteering within local communities — or take a moment out of your day to raise awareness of the important causes PfD and other nonprofits represent through social media or other platforms. If possible, give what you can, even if it is just the amount of money you would spend on a cup of coffee, a breakfast or dinner. The impact of your contribution will be DOUBLED thanks to the generosity of PfD’s dedicated supporters. Read the Great Nonprofit reviews to learn why PfD is their charity of choice.
By donating to Partners for Development, you are contributing to the Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund which sends girls to school in Nigeria. It costs $250 to pay her school fees for an entire year. Every dollar counts to make it possible for a girl to be able to afford her basic human right to an education. Therefore, I urge you to contribute to PfD or a charity of your choice. No matter the amount, your gift brightens the lives of those we serve – and brings a little extra cheer to your holiday season knowing that you’ve made a difference. Learn more about the difference you will make with Lucy’s experience as a scholarship recipient.
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The current literacy rate for females in Nigeria is approximately 20% lower than it is for males1. Girls also spend an average of eight years in school throughout their lifetime in comparison to girls in the United States whom spend an average of 17 years. With secondary education in Nigeria costing around $500.00 annually, many young girls are unable to advance beyond elementary education without additional support. 70% of Nigerians1 also live below the poverty line and it may be quite difficult to use excess funds towards furthering their child’s education. With the help of your donation to the Scholarship Fund, PfD can significantly reduce the financial strain on families in order to continue to pay for education for their children.
Meet Lucy, one of the newest recipients of the Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund. Lucy is 12 years old, the second of three children and ranks at the top of her class. Lucy aspires to educate other young children one day by becoming a Mathematics lecturer after her studies. She is currently studying twelve subjects and loves learning at school, reading, and mathematics. All of Lucy’s textbooks for her numerous classes were provided by the Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund (AJMSF). Lucy’s dreams are much more of a reality with the help of AJMSF. Lucy’s mother, Mrs. Ifeoma, was so grateful to PfD for giving her daughter the opportunity to help further her education and promised to continue to encourage her daughter to do well in her studies and stay in school.
The Scholarship Fund that Lucy received was created in memorial of Anne Johnson, former PfD Country Program Director. Initially PfD, in partnership with Life Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), set a target of $20,000.00 annually to support the Scholarship endowment. However, in August 2015, less than one year after the AJMSF began, friends, family members and three institutions donated close to $30,000 in her memorial.
Since 2014, 26 Nigerian girls have been awarded scholarships from the AJSMF to support their secondary education. Each year, drawings are held to decide on the winners because there were so many girls who qualify for scholarships based on economic need. Staff members from LAPO and PfD meet with the winners a few times a year to track their successes in school since receiving the scholarship fund. Past AJMSF recipients have graduated from secondary school and will continue to receive support from PfD to further their education.
In the future, PfD and LAPO plan to give other young girls like Lucy the opportunity to help pay for secondary school and achieve their educational aspirations. To support more girls like Lucy donate $250 to the Scholarship Fund today.
In memory of Anne Johnson, former Nigeria Country Program Director and dedicated PFD team member for over 20 years, PFD has created the Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship. One of Anne’s greatest passions and development interests was girl’s education. PFD, in partnership with local partner Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), will provide scholarships to girls in secondary school. In order to help break the cycle of poverty and allow for the next generation to thrive, the scholarships are awarded to the girls of microcredit borrowers.
When you educate a girl, you can break cycles of poverty in just one generation. When 10 percent more girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases on average by three percent (Educate Girls, Change the World).
While Nigeria has made strides in recent years in educating its children, there are still disparities by gender: boys attend secondary school (equivalent to American middle and high school levels) at a rate about 10% higher than girls, with that difference growing in the country’s poorer north where households often want girls to work rather than continue beyond primary school (elementary level in the USA). Meanwhile, amongst young people ages 15-24, the literacy rate for males is 76%, but only 58% for females, a difference of 31% (UNICEF, 2013).
Numerous studies have demonstrated the relationship in developing nations between education and social and economic well-being: females with a secondary education have lower fertility levels which in turn translates to better physical and economic health for them and their families. “Educating girls can transform whole communities” (Earth Policy Institute, 2011).
On October 8th, 2014 PFD announced the first ten winners of scholarships under The Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund at a ceremony in Benin City, Edo State. In order to be eligible, families must demonstrate both economic need and support for their daughters’ education. Economic need in Nigeria is substantial: the World Bank estimates that at least 46% of the population, or as many as 80 million people live in poverty in Nigeria (some sources place the estimate closer to 60%). Chairperson of LAPO Scholarship Board, Prof. Christiana Okojie remarked on the impact of the scholarship program to families, “in the six years the LAPO Scholarship Scheme has existed, it has given succor to parents and brighter future[s] to many children of LAPO clients. Many parents have savored the joy of seeing their children excel through secondary and now through the university.”
Because there are so many girls qualifying for scholarships based on economic need, the names of eligible candidates were placed together, and a drawing was held. The educational seriousness of those candidates and their families’ support to their educational future were then assessed before the list of ten girls was finalized.
Along with the scholarship fund, PFD has provided over $2 million dollars to LAPO to loan to its borrowers, 93% of which are women. Since 2001, working with over 20 microfinance institutions, PFD has offered credit services to target vulnerable populations, particularly women, farmers and small entrepreneurs. PFD integrates training on business development and messaging on reproductive and family planning into its microfinance model.
Anne Johnson’s memory is honored and her legacy of work in Nigeria is continued through the new educational opportunities created for girls in Nigeria by the Scholarship Fund. Learn more about Anne Johnson’s life and work with PFD here.
Partners for Development (PFD) was fortunate to have a twenty-year relationship with Anne Johnson.
In 1993, Anne coordinated war-time assistance in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In supporting her team of two expatriates and twelve national staff, Anne travelled several times through violently-disputed areas in central Bosnia. Amongst other activities, the program provided seeds and tools and thereby enabled more than 5,000 extremely vulnerable families to grow their own food and be less dependent on food aid from the United Nations.
Following the assignment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Anne left PFD and returned to other work in Egypt, one of her favorite places in the world.
In 1999, on moving to Nigeria with her husband, Geof Dolman, Anne contacted PFD and began to share ideas on how PFD might play a meaningful role in Africa’s largest country. In 2000, Anne led on the design of a large agricultural support program that won funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Over time, the agricultural project in central Nigeria secured support from other agencies; PFD was thus able to create a more integrated approach based on developing the capacity of many community-based organizations while also addressing priority areas in public health and small scale credit.
In 2001, Anne and Geof moved to the Balkans to take on assignments with other employers, with both however returning as a consulting team to PFD in 2003 in Bosnia and Herzegovina to guide PFD through a complex transition in program-management.
In 2008, PFD welcomed Anne back to a second tour as its Country Program Director in Nigeria. Through Anne’s leadership, the Nigeria program began activities in the volatile Niger Delta region, increased its number of local partners to over 20, and secured a $1.5 million Program Related Investment (PRI) from the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the first such PRI for the Foundation in Nigeria.
In 2010, when Anne and Geof moved to Vermont, PFD was pleased that Anne accepted a promotion to Director of Programs. During her three years in this position, Anne’s accomplishments were many with just a few of the more notable being: leading on the design of an agricultural project in Benin that won funding of over $4 million for a four-year period; designing a Program Management Report (PMR) system that will improve PFD’s timeliness in reporting as well as better mesh results with the Millennium Development Goals; setting up Partners Consulting Group, a sister initiative to PFD; playing a key role in the design of PFD’s Strategic Plan; and serving as expert facilitator for several PFD organizational meetings.
While all of Anne’s more tangible accomplishments on behalf of PFD are important in their own right of equal import was her sterling character and how that affected so many. Anne had a very rare mix of unfailing grace and kindness, keen intelligence, an outstanding sense of humor, and an unrivaled commitment that was truly inspirational.
Anne’s obituary can be viewed at the following site: click here
Anne requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions in her name be made to Partners for Development.
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