We work in partnership with non-governmental organizations in West Africa. We look for organizations that take a holistic approach to creating access to education for low-income girls.
Currently our partner organization is Amenons Nos Filles a l’Ecole – ANFE (Bringing Our Girls to School).
ANFE began in the summer of 1996 by Mauritanian native, Coumba Dieng. Coumba was inspired by a 14-year-old girl who was to be married that month. This girl approached Coumba and said that she wished she could be just like her with the same opportunities and choices Coumba had made in her life.
Coumba’s heart broke. She knew that the only solution for girls like this was education. Only 23 percent of Mauritantian females make it to the secondary level of school. Coumba strongly believes that an educated population is essential to the future progress in Mauritania. More education equals more choices.
ANFE started out as a simple idea that enabled five girls to go to school. Coumba and her husband, as well as three friends, each sponsored a girl. Since then, the project has grown to sponsor 92 girls for the 2008-2009 school year.
Early on, Coumba realized that it was no possible to help the girls without helping the mothers. ANFE took on a secondary program that forms microcredit group with the mothers.
In Coumba’s words:
“Peace Corps had the idea of ‘Bring Your Daughter to Work’ for its International Day. I was the host mother for one of the girls. During one of the meetings, one girl who was 14-years-old told me if she had a choice for her life she wanted to be like me. We asked her why she did not have a choice and she said she would be married as a second wife when she got home, ending her schooling. I was shocked and cried a lot and asked myself why is this happening to her and not to me? It was only because I was more educated than she. I decided at this moment I needed to do something to help girls in my country and the key for me is education.
The more a girl or woman is educated, the more choices she has in her life. In 1996 I decided to bring girls to school but the big problem is that the public school in my country is really bad and for many parents it is better to keep the kids at home. There are approximately 100-200 children in each classroom and they need to do rotation two times per day to give other children the classroom. I decided if I’m to help, I want to take as many girls as possible out of this discouraging public school system. For the beginning of my project, I brought five girls to private school. I paid for one, my husband another, and three friends paid for the others girls. This was the beginning of Bringing Our Girls to School.“