Women’s Global Education Project (WGEP) was founded by Amy Maglio after she witnessed the many obstacles to attending school that girls in Senegal faced while she was a Peace Corps volunteer. She also saw first-hand how impactful girls attending school can be for a whole community. She founded WGEP to help rural girls go to school and they are now working in 65 villages Senegal and Kenya. WGEP’s approach is multi-tiered: addressing the problem at the economic, cultural, and social levels and working with the girls, their families, and the community to empower the not just the girls, but the whole community.
One of the girls they have worked with is Elosy (below) who has been part of WGEP projects since 5th grade including participating in the alternative rite of passage retreat that works to end female genital mutilation (FGM). Now Elosy is working on her bachelor’s degree at Kirinyaga University. She has said of WGEP, “I am so thankful for this gift you have given me. It’s rare that someone can give you something that no one can take away from you.”
WGEP’s mission is focused on getting young girls into school, but their holistic approach means incorporating programs that empower the whole community. Women’s literacy classes allow mothers to help their children with their homework and become mentors for their daughters. They also give women confidence and independence. One participant, Tabitha, said, “I can now go to the market and sell my goods alone. I used to ask my neighbor to go with me because I was afraid people would take advantage of my inability to read and count by underpaying me.”
To date, WGEP has provided scholarships to 1700 girls and have provided support to another 4500. In order to tailor their approach to each specific context, WGEP partners with local, community-based organizations. WGEP’s approach to a complex problem is complex. They are supporting girls, like Elosy, to be able to attend school through scholarships and mentorships which has ramifications for course of their entire lives. But they also have programs that help mothers like Tabitha empower themselves. And other programs like the goat project and computer labs and libraries support the girls’ families and community. WGEP’s mission is to help girls to go to school. To achieve their mission with girls they are empowering their whole communities.