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.
We call our approach the Whole Child Model. This year, based on our experience in Guinea, we are expanding the model to Tanzania, where life is equally tough: only half of students make it to 7th grade and even fewer complete high school. We’ve already identified several schools and communities where we will start our work.