After winning the World Food Prize in 2003, Catherine Bertini, the former executive director for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), recognized an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for women’s empowerment. Bertini used her winnings to establish the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education, a fund that supports innovative grassroots initiatives around the globe that boost access to training and educational opportunities for girls. Since 2008, the Bertini Fund has awarded nearly a dozen grants.
This year’s grantees work in Africa to empower young girls and women through better access to educational opportunities and support systems, both inside and outside-the-classroom. Our grants will increase students’ ongoing commitment to their education while providing them increased attention and access to resources that will fuel and inspire greater achievement in the future.
AKILI GIRLS PREPARATORY SCHOOL PROJECT
The Akili Girls Preparatory School in Kenya is a project of the Riley Orton Foundation (ROF), which was founded in 2010 to improve the quality of life of children, young people and women living in the slum through the provision of quality education, affordable housing, health care and socio economic empowerment. Akili Girls Preparatory School strives to provide underprivileged girls in Kisumu County with affordable quality education to help them break the cycle of poverty. The project goal’s is to generate sufficient income by focusing on horticulture, poultry, dairy cows, and renewable energy systems to meet educational, nutritional and medical needs of the students.
The Bertini Fund’s support will enable the Riley Orton Foundation to send 30 girls to the Akili Preparatory School, a boarding school located in a serene environment and away from the challenges they face every day in the slum, giving them an opportunity to get a free quality education and escape poverty. The project also empowers young women economically by employing them as teachers, matrons and cooks so that they can be independent and support their families.
BRIGHT GENERATION COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
Founded in 2006, the Bright Generation Community Foundation exists to assist the needy and disadvantaged, reduce poverty and instill a spirit of self-reliance in Ghana. The Bright Generation Communication Foundation seeks to create innovative projects that advance the social and economic welfare of young people especially young women. The organization has a rich history of working in schools and at the community level in the areas of menstrual hygiene education, as well as HIV and reproductive health rights issues.
The Bertini Fund’s support will help Bright Generation empower vulnerable school girls by ensuring better menstrual hygiene management. Funding will be vital to building a support system for young girls through: (1) providing reusable menstrual pads for needy girls to curb the high rates of menstruation-related absenteeism, (2) training female teachers and dispelling myths and (3) raising awareness about the importance of proactively managing one’s reproductive health in order to stay in school and improve the opportunity for better life outcomes.
Founded in 2010, Pathways Togo’s mission is to advance the education of women and girls in the country of Togo through scholarships, mentoring, conferences, and life skills training. Pathway Togo’s unique programming model gives its scholars the opportunity to continue their studies until they complete university while effectively creating a class of female leaders empowered and eager to make positive changes in their society. The Bertini Fund’s support will fund its book-lending program, Karren Waid Dream Award and its Middle and High School Program Administrator.
The book-lending program will not only provide much-needed access to school books in science and math, but a forum for each scholar to share resources with their peers and school community. The Dream Award gives six exceptional scholars—3 middle school and 3 high school scholars—the tools to fulfill their potential and the opportunity to implement small-scale projects to benefit their communities. Lastly, the Bertini Fund will support the hiring of a second Program Administrator, in order to best monitor and provide valuable oversight and programming. The Program Administrator will focus solely on the middle and high school scholars, in addition to manage the day-to-day operations of the Aiming Higher initiative.