Creating a New Future: Girls and Women’s Education in Afghanistan and Somalia

World Food Program USA
Published March 7, 2023

World Food Program USA is proud to announce two new grantees for the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education: the Lamia Afghan Foundation and the Galkayo Educational Centre for Peace and Development (GECPD).

Hunger affects women and girls disproportionately: They make up 60% of the world’s hungriest people. This disparity is due almost entirely to unequal access to education, resources, and tools for personal and economic success. The Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education works to change this by empowering women and girls with the knowledge, training, and leadership skills necessary to achieve food security and reach their full potential.

Lamia Afghan Foundation

The Lamia Afghan Foundation (LAF) is a volunteer-powered nonprofit that helps the people of Afghanistan through humanitarian aid, educational opportunities and vocational trainings.

Recently, the LAF successfully implemented a “home schools” model for young girls in the eastern city of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Through these home schools, Afghan girls who cannot attend their own village schools are able to receive an education. Students and teachers are provided with classroom items including books, stationery and a whiteboard. LAF volunteers work closely with community elders to establish these home schools and select teachers for each class. The Catherine Bertini Trust grant will support 150 girls across 10 home schools.

“This generous grant From the Catherine Bertini Trust will allow us to continue educating girls who have been pleading with us to continue the operations of their schools,” said John Bradley, President and CEO of the LAF and Retired Lieutenant General of the United States Air Force. “ Girls will be in a safe environment with excellent teachers. They will become educated women who will ultimately change Afghanistan for the better. The education the girls get from this grant can never be taken away from them.”

Galkayo Educational Centre for Peace and Development

In Somalia, the Galkayo Educational Centre for Peace and Development (GECPD) aims to:

  • promote education for women and children
  • strengthen women’s access to income-generating opportunities and healthcare
  • protect the physical, psychological and social well-being of girls and women

The grant-funded GECPD project seeks to provide education opportunities and skills-based training to 150 girls from low-income families in the Mudug Region of Somalia.

The education program equips young girls with foundational reading and mathematics skills. This program gives girls who have passed the age limit to enroll in lower primary classes, or who do not have schools in their hometowns, a second chance at gaining access to a formal education. In addition to the core curriculum, students will receive psychosocial support and participate in awareness raising sessions on women rights issues including Female Genital Mutilation/Violence Against Women, child rights and protection, HIV/AIDS and environmental conservation.

Those who participate in the skills-based training will learn employable skills including tailoring, carpentry and food production. These skills will enable participants to secure an income  and support their own as well as their siblings’ education.

“Only one in every four Somali girls of school-going age is attending school,” explained Founder and Executive Director of GECPD Hawa Aden. “With this grant, we are able to enroll an additional 150 girls under our integrated education program and equip them with the knowledge and skills that will empower them to champion their rights and improve their livelihoods.”