Scholarships ensure that young women and girls can pursue quality education by providing a consistent source of support.
The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified hardships for young women and girls around the world due to school closures and financial pressures induced by economic recession. As a result, the World Bank forecasts that the pandemic will cause lower levels of schooling, learning, and future earnings for girls.
The impact of COVID-19 on girls’ education
Many of the obstacles women and girls face when pursuing education have been exacerbated by COVID-19. Due to COVID-induced unemployment, a loss in household income may mean that women and girls no longer have the money to afford tuition fees, and as a result girls leave school to earn money or are married younger as they are seen as an economic burden.
For example, COVID-19 has posed a significant challenge to students we support at Tewa Training Centre in Kenya. Due to repeated lockdowns and school closures, young women have been expected to take on additional childcare responsibilities and household chores. This prevents them from accessing opportunities to learn from home, and makes it difficult for them to continue their education.
Gender-based violence has also intensified during the lockdown – adolescent girls aged 15-19 have especially been vulnerable to violence perpetrated by family members, without access to health services or social protective networks.
Online learning has created additional obstacles for women and girls due to its reliance on digital technology. For Alexa Louise, a student at Banilad school in the Philippines, the COVID-19 pandemic brought many difficulties to her family. Due to the government-mandated lockdown, her parents were not able to go to work and her family had to rely on donated relief goods during this time. While Banilad transitioned to online learning, and the lack of data and internet connection made this highly challenging, as students like Alexa Louise could not afford the new digital resources necessary to continue learning.
The global pandemic has also impacted teachers, who are often underpaid or work on a volunteer basis. Female teachers also cope with the burden of caring for children and sick relatives, which could lead them to leave their profession. Scholarships not only ensure girls can pay their tuition fee, but in doing so, that teachers are paid. Having access to scholarships also helps teachers reach students who do not have access to internet or digital resources.
Three ways scholarships help women succeed
Scholarships can help transform the lives of women because they provide a stable, reliable source of ongoing support for students.
- With a scholarship, women and girls are able to pursue their education, without having to choose between their school fees and other financial needs. With her scholarship, Adedayo from the Wavecrest College of Hospitality in Nigeria can continue her education during the pandemic via online classes, which require additional technology and data. Since her parents do not have the financial capacity to support her education, her scholarship has been instrumental in helping Adedayo continue her studies at Wavecrest.
- Scholarships give women confidence in themselves, and inspire other young women to follow in their footsteps. When a woman receives a scholarship, she receives the message that someone believes in her. Charlie, one of our students from Ecole Yarani in Côte d’Ivoire, explains that her mentor Lydie is her biggest inspiration as she has been deeply supportive throughout her training and wants to get the best out of her. Lydie has supported Charlie through all of the difficulties she encountered during her studies, and helped her to be determined in her academics.
- Scholarships lead students to stable employment opportunities and reliable income into the future. Benedicte, a student from ISSI in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is pursuing a 10-month placement at the paediatrics department of the Monkole Mother and Child Hospital Centre alongside her trainings at ISSI. Her scholarship has opened her up to a variety of career options and she hopes to become a five-star nurse after she finishes her training.
How can you provide scholarship to women?
By joining the Thrive Fund, you can provide our students with consistent access to a scholarship to support them in their educational journey. Our members are committed to donating £7 or more each month in order to provide long term support for the young women and girls in our programmes.
By providing women and girls with scholarships, you will not only be giving them the gift of education but also a brighter future for themselves, their family, and their community.
Author: Dowon Kim, volunteer at WONDER Foundation