We focus on three signature programs:

  1. Girls education
  2. Women’s microfinance and business development
  3. Community empowerment

For over 10 years we have been working together to impact the lives of hundreds of girls and their families in Mauritania, West Africa.

We believe that education is the key to unlocking a girl’s potential. In partnering with Amenons Nos Filles a l’Ecole (ANFE), we provide life-changing educational opportunities to girls and women through fellowships, microfinance, and community activities. ANFE was started in the summer of 1998 by Coumba Dieng, who believes every girl deserves the opportunity to define their own future. Heather Arney worked with Coumba during her time in the Peace Corps. She came back to the U.S. determined to support her vision for all girls to have a high-quality education. This opportunity stops early marriages and gives them the chance to beat the cycle of poverty.

With a team of hard-working volunteers, in 2009 we formed a board and established our own nonprofit – Girls to School – to support Coumba and her vision in Mauritania.

Progress over 10 years:

  • We’ve sent more than 1,000 girls to school
  • We’ve built a community center, which gives girls a safe place to study, connect with mentors, relax and have fun!
  • 300 women have participated in microfinance groups
  • We’ve consistently raised around $10,000 every year to support ANFE’s education and microfinance programs
  • Girls who have been sponsored since elementary school have graduated and gone on to university
  • From just a few women in microfinance groups in the beginning, now there are 150 members! Loans have evolved from very small ones for plastic sacks to sell nuts in the local market, to large loans for land and housing.

Participating families have seen the importance of educating their girls, which is creating a gradual acceptance within their communities of supporting girls’ education.

It is not enough to simply create schools or provide tuition. Oftentimes girls do not have adequate food or clothing. Rarely have other members of their families completed an education and can provide help with their school work. Instead, the girls are expected to help their family’s work.

If we are to provide low-income, at-risk girls with a foundation for long-term success, all of these obstacles must also be addressed, which we work to do alongside our main programs.

We continue to be encouraged and inspired by the tangible progress and work on the ground that we are able to support. Thanks for helping make all of this incredible work possible!