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Cablegate: Nigeria: Ambassadors Girls' Scholarship

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 001391

SIPDIS

USAID/W FOR AFR/WA, MIKE KARBELING
OES/IHA
USAID/W FOR AFR/SD, SNWANKWO
USAID/W FOR AFR/SD, SMOTEN
USAID/W FOR AFR/EA, DSHELDON
USAID/W FOR AFR/WA, HPROCTOR
USAID/W FOR AFR/SA, PFLEURET
USAID/W FOR AFR/SD/ED, CFEEZEL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAID SOCI KHIV NI AID
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: AMBASSADORS GIRLS' SCHOLARSHIP
PROGRAM OF THE AFRICA EDUCATION INITIATIVE (AEI)

REF: STATE 111151, 182108Z

1. This is a reply to the action cable STATE 111151

2. The Nigerian Mission applauds the laudable work
AFR/SD/ED has accomplished in the promotion of girls
education across Africa through the Ambassadors' Girls
Scholarship Program (AGSP), implemented through the
Education for Development and Democracy Initiative
(EDDI). We look forward to the expansion of this unique
scholarship program under the Africa Education
Initiative (AEI), which will support retention of girls
in school through awarding 250,000 primary level
scholarships, and where possible, complementary
mentoring programs to inspire and encourage girls in
their educational pursuits.

3. Based on information requested under paragraph 3 of
your cable, find below the USAID/Nigeria response:


LOCAL CONTEXT FOR IMPLEMENTATION (INCLUDING
LINKAGES TO OTHER PROGRAMS AND INITIATIVES):

Nigeria is a nation of 135 million people. It is
estimated that females constitute 51% of the
population, with an adult female literacy rate of about
47%. As the most populous nation in Africa, one of
every five Africans is a Nigerian. The average income
in Nigeria is very low (US$300 - $350 in 2000), with
the number of people living below the poverty line
estimated at 60-70%. Families do not have much, if any,
discretionary funds. Often education of the girl child
suffers under these economic conditions. Only 65% of
girls enrolled in primary schools complete this level
of education, with only 45% of these girls proceeding
to Junior Secondary School.

In Nigeria the HIV/AIDS prevalence according to a 2003
national seroprevalence survey is 5 percent, with over
4 million people infected with HIV/AIDS. The 2003
results indicates that young people, particularly women
in the 15-24 years age group, remain the most
vulnerable to infection. The large numbers of infected
persons make the case for intensifying prevention
efforts. The government plans to empower girls and
women to develop the knowledge and skills that protect
them from HIV-infection. This scholarship program will
assist in the realization of this plan, because it
focuses on assisting girls to become educated and
better informed, with women playing mentoring and
decision making roles that affect the education of
their children. The program's emphasis on the need for
community participation provides a timely and much
desired linkage with the Mission's Social Sector
Services procurement which focuses (in addition to
other issues) on community participation in Education
for ownership and leveraging of resources. The
scholarship program will also assist the Mission to
achieve its global vision of having gender as a cross-
cutting theme in all our activities, due to the fact
that it focuses on the girl child and promotes the
involvement of women role models as mentors for the
scholarship beneficiaries. The scholarship program
would also complement USAID/Nigeria efforts at
increasing access and completion of qualitative primary
school with specific emphasis on girls' education.


THE LOCAL SCHOOL CALENDAR:

The local school calendar year runs from September to
July of each year.

NUMBER AND LEVEL(S) OF POTENTIAL SCHOLARS:

The scholarship will pay for 2,500 girls (less than 1%
of the current estimate of girls in primary school in
Nigeria) to assist them in the completion of last two
years of primary school, which is grade five and six,
and the continuance of their pursuit of education
through Junior Secondary School, which is grades seven
through nine, for a total of five years of Basic
Education. According to current statistics, about 20
million children attend primary schools in Nigeria. Of
this number, only about 3 million transit to Junior
Secondary School. The purpose of this scholarship is to
encourage more girls to stay in school and transit
into, and complete, Junior Secondary School in Nigeria.

CONSTITUTION OF THE SCHOLARSHIP PACKAGE (WHAT WILL THE
SCHOLARSHIP PAY FOR):

The scholarship will pay for cost of tuition,
incidentals and boarding.

OUTLINE THE APPROXIMATE COST OF A SCHOLARSHIP PER GIRL:

We anticipate offering 2,500 scholarships.
- The approximate cost of scholarship per girl is $900
x 5 years = $4,500, for a total cost of $11,250,000.
- Under mentoring support, we anticipate 250 mentors (1
mentor per 10 girls) x $150 per year x 5 years =
$187,500.
- Annual mentor workshops: 250 x $100 per participant x
5 years = $125,000.
Grand Total cost: $11,562,500.

SUGGEST SELECTION CRITERIA FOR SCHOLARS:

As in our current program, the proposed program will
focus on girls in the most disadvantaged circumstances,
those who otherwise would have no support, no safety
net and little prospect for a good education.
Categories include girls who are orphaned (especially
HIV/AIDS orphans), living with physical disabilities
(e.g., polio victims, the blind and deaf) and those
among the poorest of the poor. Selection committees
will be established in each state to identify qualified
scholarship candidates. Committees will be comprised of
private sector corporate representatives, NGO and CBO
representatives, as well as local educators, community
leaders and participating school administrators. By
targeting private sector corporations in this activity,
we expect to foster corporate responsibility and
initiative for sustainability of the girls' scholarship
scheme.

RECOMMEND TARGET AREAS OR SCHOOLS:

The current program runs in twelve states of the six
geo-political zones of Nigeria. An additional six
states (one from each of the six-geo political zones)
will be added to the current twelve participating
states, for a new total of eighteen participating
states. This will enhance better coverage of the areas
with the most girls' education challenges. On an
average, there would be about 277 scholarship
recipients in each state. The program would encourage
girls to stay in school during the scholarship period
and beyond through complementary mentoring programs.

POTENTIAL LOCAL PARTNERS CAPABLE OF IMPLEMENTING A
SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM TO THE LEVEL PROPOSED:

World Education International
Parent Teachers Associations in all participating
schools
Guidance and Counseling Development Institute
Youth Care
Grassroots Development Association
Women's Initiative and Support Services Organization
Youth Resource Development Education and Leadership
Rural Women Foundation
Forward Africa
Anawin Home
Mallam Mamman Foundation
Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria
(FOMWAN)
Forum for African Women's Educationalists (FAWEN)
Women's Rights Advancement & Protection Alternative
(WRAPA)
Center for Reproductive Health Aromatherapy &
Development
Women support Development Initiative
Rural Women's Youth Development
Adolescent Girls Project etc
EXPECTED ROLE OF LOCAL COMMUNITIES:
The local communities are expected to play a supportive
role with regard to monitoring the mentoring NGOs,
advocacy for community support, monitoring
participating schools, participating in mentoring
workshops, participating in selection committees to
select girls.

DESCRIBE THE MANNER IN WHICH HIV/AIDS WOULD BE
INCORPORATED INTO THE PROGRAM:

In all our programs in the USAID/Nigeria Mission,
HIV/AIDS is a cross-cutting theme. The Mission is
receiving a $35m PEPFAR funding for HIV/AIDS work in
selected locations in Nigeria. HIV/AIDS would be
incorporated into this program by training the mentors
on HIV/AIDS and related issues, with the expectation
that the mentors will provide step-down training for
the girls as part of the life skills training. The
current HIV/AIDS program of the Mission will also find
ways of reaching the beneficiary schools with HIV/AIDS
Interventions, and share IEC materials with schools.

DESCRIBE THE SCOPE OR ACTIVITIES OF AN ANNUAL MENTORING
PLAN:

The mentoring program is a complementary program that
would be developed with local non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), community based organizations
(CBOs), and religious organizations, to encourage the
girls to stay in school during the scholarship period
and beyond. Mentoring will involve regular visits to
the scholarship recipients to encourage the development
of good study habits, teach life skill, and present
positive role models for the girls. From experience
with the current scholarship program, we know that
mentors need an opportunity to hone skills (study
skills, life skills enhancement, HIV/AIDS awareness and
prevention, workforce skills development etc) and to
provide feedback on the girls under their charge to the
program's administrators. Therefore we will include
annual mentoring workshops at the regional level to
meet this need.

4. USAID/NIGERIA is supportive of the Ambassadors
Girls' Scholarship Program (AGSP), and we look forward
to working with AFR/SD in implementing the new program.

CAMPBELL

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