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On Tuesday, November 23rd 2021, the announced the commencement of the Girls Education Scholarship Program. This program offers full annual scholarships and mentorship for brilliant young girls from low-income backgrounds in Nigeria whose largest barrier to quality education is financial. The first recipients of this scholarship are 12 girls from Ogun state, and they have already resumed the academic session at Vivian Fowler Memorial College, where the Coalition will fund their entire secondary school education.
In their statement, the Coalition revealed that they collaborated with the non-profit organization, Teach For Nigeria, to select the best candidates. 40 girls from Ogun state were selected to partake in an entrance examination, from which the top 20 emerged. The top 20 students were invited to participate in an interview with the members of the Feminist Coalition and Vivian Fowler Memorial College For Girls, after which the 12 were selected.
The scholarship offered by the Feminist Coalition includes full tuition fees, boarding house fees, co-curricular activities, examination fees, and other necessary school requirements and logistics. Each of the 12 founding members of the feminist coalition will also provide mentorship to one girl in the form of a “Big Sister” program which would include weekly calls, attending open days and visiting days at the school. The scholarship program will add new girls every year and in 6 years, aims to have sponsored the secondary school education of over 70 girls in Nigeria.
The Feminist Coalition, in a little over a year since their inception, have remained committed to championing the advancement of the Nigerian woman with a core focus on education, financial freedom, and representation in public office. Although they are heavily associated with the #EndSARS protests, where they raised money to provide funds for medical aid, legal aid, mental health and financial support for the victims of police brutality, the coalition has been in existence since July 2020.
The Girls Education Scholarship Program is not their first project since the #EndSARS movement. On December 16, they organized a food drive in Lagos State, Nigeria, providing bags of food for 1000 low-income women and their families. The bags provided contained rice, sachet tomato, whole chickens, maggi, salt, face masks and bottles of cooking oil. Also, in December 2020, the Coalition supported JAKIN NGO, a women-focused organization, by two hundred and fifty thousand naira and food items to their end of the year women and children outreach event.
Over 40% of Nigerian women have never received a formal education and at least 5.5 million girls in the country are out of school according to the British Council. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened these statistics and women, once again, have been left with the shorter end of the stick as we are often the last to recover from socio-economic repercussions. The Girls Education Scholarship Program is an investment in the education of the girl child with the knowledge that educating girls has cascading effects for future generations, and leads to more stable and healthy communities.