Why is 1,200 a magic number? Because it refers to all of the young Rwandan women from vulnerable families who will have a chance to finish their schooling thanks to a project co-created by the Rwandan Chapter of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE).
The 2008 recipient of the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership, FAWE started in the early 1990s when the female ministers of education in five African countries decided that more education advocacy was needed on behalf of women across the continent. FAWE’s inception in five countries has grown to 32 African countries today.
This month FAWE’s Rwanda chapter in collaboration with the Canadian MasterCard Foundation has launched The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme to enable as many as 1,200 schoolgirls to continue their educations through the elementary, secondary, and university levels.
Already, in the weeks since the scholars program began, some 200 school-age women have been enrolled in the program, according to a report featured in The New Times of Kigali.
Eugénie Mukanoheli, the Rwanda chapter’s coordinator, said a similar project will soon be operating in Ethiopia as well.
“The idea is to keep as many girls as possible in school,” she told The New Times. “The scholars will have everything they need to study comfortably… but the beneficiaries must be schoolgirls who are academically bright but from vulnerable families.”
When the new program is fully operational, organizers plan to identify potential candidates across the country, including at least ten selected high schools.
In a related story: 15 girls in a FAWE secondary school in Sierra Leone have also received scholarship assistance that will ensure that they are able to complete their school year.
The young women were having their educations supported by an American church, but with that church’s closure, funding ended. A Sierra Leone news outlet reports that the Krio Descendants Union, an organization devoted to supporting the ethnic groups of the country, is supplying scholarship assistance that will cover the costs of crucial items, including annual school fees, school uniforms, a school bag, textbooks, exercise books and shoes.