As 2015 comes to a close, we’d like to thank you for your generous support of EPN and your enthusiastic engagement with us online. With your help, our work is making a difference for the extreme poor in Africa on so many fronts. Here are some highlights from this year:
Farmers of the Future:
After 4 years of testing we are nearing completion of the pilot phase in four villages and preparing to launch the optimized model in a fifth. Over 70 women like Hamsa Kindo participate in the program along with hundreds of primary school students who learn that farming can be a good business. Our videos of local Nigerien successes in agriculture are a huge hit and plans are under way to share them broadly around the country.
In 2015, the number of students on EPN-funded scholarship expanded to 26. The extra tutoring and mentoring program introduced last year is paying big dividends. Eighty-five percent of our scholars are in the top half of their class; 25% are in the top 5% and one is in the top 1% of her class. Not bad for a bunch of kids from the slums!! And capped by a successful Giving Tuesday campaign, we will be sending another 10 students to secondary school in 2016.
Little Rock After School Tutoring:
This is our sixth year of funding after school tutoring at the Little Rock Inclusive Early Childhood Development Centre. Currently, over 100 primary school students take advantage of the program. We foster a love of learning and reinforce that education is the surest path out of the slums. As students prepare for the national entrance exam to secondary school, tutors work with them intensively to maximize their odds of qualifying for an EPN scholarship. This year’s 8th grade cohort increased by 50%.
Songhai Women’s Capital Fund:
The Songhai Women’s Capital Fund provides low interest loans to Songhai graduates to start their own agricultural ventures. To date we have awarded 15 loans with 10 more to be extended in Q4 2015. Several women are struggling to make their new ventures a success. While it is unrealistic to expect a 100% success rate with startups, we are increasing emphasis on technical support and mentoring in these first critical years to maximize commercial success for these women pioneers.
We completed Year 2 of a 3-year test to provide affordable technical support to rural farmers in Africa. The test is being conducted with 5,000 farmers in Myange, Rwanda. Farmers learn best agricultural practices and ways to maximum farm revenue. Valuable learnings are being implemented to improve program effectiveness and farmers are seeing meaningful improvements in crop yields and income.
Thinking of donating still this year? There's still time - take a look at our Annual Appeal. At Eliminate Poverty NOW we are proud of how hard your contribution dollars work. With your support we can touch even more lives in 2016.
Have a wonderful holiday season - see you next year!