For more than a decade, School-to-School International has implemented and refined an approach that embodies our founding principle: In order for students to thrive, they must have their basic needs fulfilled. We have pursued activities from all three components of the Whole Child Model—Education, Health, and Community Engagement. This year, we are committed to expanding the geographic reach of the Whole Child Model to benefit children in the Arusha District of Tanzania.
Children face numerous challenges receiving a quality education around the world. In Guinea, West Africa, less than half of boys and only a third of girls make it to 7th grade. Not surprisingly, only one in five adolescent girls can read.
Since 2002, STS has been working in Guinea to try to change this pattern. We’ve trained teachers, dug wells, built latrines, supported parents, and funded scholarships for at-risk girls – all to improve children’s chances of staying healthy, learning to read and do math, and transitioning to secondary school. And our research has shown results. Parents who have attended our trainings report that they have changed their behavior to ensure their girls do well in school, and stay in school. And our research shows that girls do significantly better in reading and math when they receive scholarships – a powerful motivator for staying in school.
Building on lessons learned from years of implementation and research in Guinea, School-to-School International will expand our signature Whole Child Model to Tanzania in early 2018.
Fifteen years ago, School-to-School International was created to realize a dream:
If we provided kids with support in education, health, and community engagement simultaneously, they could thrive in their early years and thus have a greater chance at success in life.
We started in Guinea, West Africa in 2002, in schools most of us would barely recognize: dilapidated buildings, overcrowded classrooms, broken furniture, few books, and no electricity, water, toilets, or food. Teachers came and went, many holding second jobs to make ends meet. Students struggled to access and engage in their education.
In the spirit of the new year, new beginnings, and recommitments, School-to-School International renews its support of the girls and boys of Guinea and throughout the world through our Whole Child Model.
Dear School-to-School International supporters:
Three years ago, I met a fourth-grade student named Fatoumata Diouf at STS’s partner school in Filimia in the Boke region of western Guinea. She was an ideal candidate for the girls’ scholarship program. In addition to meeting all the scholarship criteria, Fatoumata showed exceptional promise and enthusiasm for learning while also facing a particularly difficult home life. Fatoumata is one of these special cases.
Dear Girls of Guinea,
You inspire me. Since 2002, you have been a driving force for me each day—your education, your wellness, your potential. Through presidential elections and a coup, strikes and massacres, even Ebola, you remain strong.
For more than a decade School-to-School International has implemented and refined an approach that embodies our founding principle: In order for students to thrive, they must have their basic needs fulfilled. We have pursued activities from all three components of the Whole Child Model—Education, Health, and Community Engagement—reaching over 2,600 students in Guinea in the 2015-16 school year alone.
But what does that look like in practice? Below is a snapshot of this year in Guinea.
Although the links between girls’ education and improved quality of life and economic growth are well known, school-age girls in Guinea continue to face conditions that limit school success—from systemic impediments, such as shortages of qualified teachers, to cultural factors, like the practice of early marriage.
As a result, many female students leave school before completing the primary school cycle. Less than half of school-age girls in Guinea regularly participate in primary school (47.7 percent) and only a quarter (25.9 percent) enroll in secondary school (UNICEF 2013). It is a striking figure, and one that has been a driving force in STS’s Whole Child Model.
Recently, we partnered with the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative to produce a case study, A Holistic Approach to Girl’s Education—School-to-School International’s Whole Child Model, which examines how the Girls’ Education Program improved education, health, and engagement while addressing factors that hindered girls’ success in school.
Today, we’re happy to share some of the key findings of the report:
Dear STS Supporters,
As a member of the STS Board of Directors, I have a special place in my heart for education and providing opportunities for youth who are so often overlooked. My passion stems both from my experiences as the son of an English teacher and from my experiences teaching high school English as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lezha, Albania.
I had the privilege of teaching some amazing, highly motivated students who were so eager to learn English from a native speaker. My experience was challenging, yet so rewarding. I recall outdated methodologies that promoted rote memorization over free flowing conversation, students huddling together in the winter in unheated classrooms and grading tests by candlelight during power outages. Those experiences have in part shaped who I am today. They’ve given me an immense appreciation for education and the impact it has on our children.