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Cablegate: Nigeria-Education for Development And

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

261434Z Nov 03

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 002028

SIPDIS

USAID/W FOR AFR/WA, MICHAEL KARBELING
USAID/W FOR AFR/SD/ED, SARAH MOTEN
USAID/W FOR AFR/SD/ED, CAROLYN COLEMAN
USAID/W FOR AFR/SD/ED, SHARON NWANKWO


LAGOS FOR ADMIN


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA-EDUCATION FOR DEVELOPMENT AND
DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE (EDDI)-AMBASSADORS' GIRLS'
SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM


REF:(1)ABUJA 01439 DATED AUGUST 22, 2003, AND(2) ABUJA
595 DATED APRIL 01, 2003 ON NIGERIA-EDUCATION FOR
DEVELOPMENT AND DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE (EDDI);
AMBASSADORS' GIRLS' SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM.


1. This is an action cable. Please see paragraph 7.


2. As 2003 rapidly draws to closure, the USG Nigeria
EDDI Committee is concerned that we have not yet heard
from USAID/AFR/SD regarding a decision on the
appropriate mechanism that would allow for the
financing and oversight of the remaining two to three
years of the current Ambassadors' Girls' Scholarship
Program (AGSP). We are herein repeating the text of
our earlier cables, Abuja 595 dated April 01, 2003,
and Abuja 01439 dated August 22, 2003, on this matter
and await your decision and reply.


3. Summary: The USG EDDI Committee is concerned about
the mechanisms that will be used to implement the
Ambassadors' Girls' Scholarship Program, as presented
in earlier cables and in debriefings with USAID/AFR/SD
in Abuja in July 2003. Post requests specific
guidance on the disbursement and oversight mechanism
for Girls Scholarships over the next two to three
years, given the current contract is due to end in
December 2003. End Summary.


4. Background: The current Ambassadors' Girls'
Scholarship Program in Nigeria provides scholarships
and mentoring to 600 girls. The scholarships assist
the girls to complete one full cycle in the Nigerian
education system (the three years of the Junior
Secondary School, grades 7 through 9) or to attend
special needs schools. The mentoring component is
implemented through local NGOs in each of the
participating states, and provides for a mentor to
visit each scholarship recipient at least once a term
over a two-year period. The NGOs are not "paid" for
their services, but instead volunteering to act as
facilitators for the mentors, with each mentor
receiving about $100 to cover transportation costs for
the series of visitations with their students.
Scholarships are for an average annual amount of $900
per student, disbursed in three yearly allotments of
about $400, $250 and $250. The first year's funds
cover a number of items that are used for the duration
of the scholarship period (desk, chair, uniforms,
etc). Funding to date has covered Year 1 (October
2002-July 2003) costs of this program. Remaining
funds are for Year 2 (October 2003-July 2004) and Year
3 (October 2004-July 2005), with the program, in
theory then, concluding in FY05. However, due to a
delayed start-up in Kano State, this state is a year
behind, necessitating support and oversight through
FY06.


5. The current program began in August 2002, with a
budget of $600,000. About $540,000 is for the
scholarship component, and about $60,000 facilitates
the mentoring activity. Administrative costs for
implementing the program in Nigeria are provided from
EDDI central funds, administered through the Science
Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as the
prime contractor. Winrock International, a U.S.-based
private, non-profit organization registered in
Nigeria, is the sub-contractor under SAIC implementing
the program in Nigeria. While it appears that SAIC's
contract with EDDI has been extended through September
2004, Winrock's subcontract is currently only valid
through December 2003, well before the promised
scholarships are scheduled to end.


6. Pipeline Analysis: As of September 2003, a total
of $235,287 program funds are expected to have been
committed. The balance of $364,714 is earmarked for
the remaining years of the current scholarship scheme,
to complete the three-year Junior Secondary School
cycle promised to each girl scholar participant. At
present, Winrock plans to open bank accounts for the
current scholarship recipients, to ensure availability
of funds for the remaining two to three years of their
scholarships. Given that the Winrock contract will
end in December 2003, it is not clear how the
remaining scholarships and mentors will continue to be
funded.


7. Action Requested: The USG EDDI Committee is
unclear as to the mechanism that would allow for the
financing and oversight of the remaining two to three
years of the current scholarship program. Will there
be an extension of the current Winrock subcontract
with SAIC, and of the SAIC contract itself, to allow
disbursement and oversight of the scholarship funds
over the next two to three years? Or will there be a
mechanism to transfer scholarship funds, and
responsibility, to a new African Education Initiative
(AEI) contractor? In short, how will EDDI ensure that
the current scholarship recipients actually receive
the promised support for the remaining two to three
years of their scholarships? Failure to fund the
remaining years would pose an extreme embarrassment to
the USG in Nigeria. The education of some 600 girls
in Nigeria, who now depend on these scholarships, is
at stake. Please advise.


MEECE

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