Over 40% of Nigeria women have never received a formal education and at least 5.5 million girls in the country are out of school (British Council, 2014). Drop-out rates are highest at the sixth grade of primary school and higher among girls than boys (NPC, 2009). These statistics have only worsened since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, where almost 90% of the world’s countries shut their schools down at the height of the outbreak — in efforts to slow its transmission. Eventually, this goes on to disproportionately impact the girl child, who, unfortunately, based on gender bias, is the first to be negatively affected in situations of unrest and often the last to recover from the socio-economic repercussions.
The Feminist Coalition believes it is every girl’s right to access quality education. Women’s rights & safety is one of three pillars of our work and, undoubtedly, girls’ education is a space we are committed to working within, for the protection and advancement of Nigerian women.
This is why we decided to start the Feminist Coalition Girls Education Program. An annual full scholarship & mentorship program for brilliant young girls from low-income backgrounds in Nigeria, whose largest barrier to a quality education is financial.
In July 2021, we reached out to Teach For Nigeria, a non-profit committed to ending educational inequity across the country. Teach for Nigeria was integral in selecting the right students for this opportunity. Together, we shortlisted 40 students from Ogun State to participate in an entrance examination. Of the 40 students, the top 20 from the examination were selected for an interview with members of the Feminist Coalition and our chosen school for the Girls Education Program.
We decided to partner with Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, one of the leading all-girls schools in Nigeria, known to offer not just academic guidance to their students, but also a balanced education that enables students to cope with life and create fulfilling careers.
Of the 20 students who were interviewed, 12 were selected for the Feminist Coalition Girls Education Program, and we will now fund their entire secondary school education at Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls.
The scholarship provided by the Feminist Coalition not only includes full tuition payments, but also covers the boarding house fees, co-curricular activities, examination fees and other necessary school requirements and logistics.
Here’s a summary of the activities leading up to the students resumption day on September 11th 2021:
In addition to the all-inclusive scholarship, each founding member of the Feminist Coalition is assigned to a student and will provide mentorship in the form of a “Big Sister” program. This includes weekly check-in calls with each ‘little sister’, attending open days and visiting days at the school.
In the long term, we aim to continue to sponsor this first batch of girls through the 6 years of their secondary school education.
In addition, we aim to add a new batch of girls each year. As the program grows, the older students will become mentors for the younger ones creating a network of women who uplift other women. At the height of the program, we will have a batch of girls in each year of secondary school. In 6 years we are aiming to have sponsored the full secondary school education of over 70 girls in the country.
Annually, we are selecting girls with outstanding academic performances from low-income communities in Nigeria.
We know that educating girls and women leads to more stable and healthy communities. Educated women are less likely to die in childbirth and more likely to have healthy and well-nourished children. Investing in the education of one girl has cascading effects for future generations. Countries with higher levels of women’s education experience more rapid economic growth, longer life expectancy, lower population growth, and improved quality of life.
The Feminist Coalition is committed to championing the advancement of the Nigerian woman with a core focus on education, financial freedom and representation in public office.
This program is only the beginning.
Thank you for the support.
The founding members of the Feminist Coalition.