A2Empowerment 2020-2021 School Year Recap*

A2Empowerment scholarships can make a decisive difference in the lives and educational experiences of Cameroonian girls. We regularly conduct surveys to better understand each student’s academic progress and situation as a result of the scholarship program, and to get feedback for improving our work. We are delighted to share a summary of the most recent survey results with you, authored by volunteer Ryan Mitchell. Notably, 84% of scholarship recipients reported that they would not be able to attend school without A2E’s scholarships.

The scholarships also relieved students’ non-academic work responsibilities, freeing up time for studying, extracurricular activities, and simply being a kid. Of the students who responded about how the scholarship affected their non-academic workload, 43% were able to stop working entirely and 43% were able to work fewer hours. On top of all students being involved in the A2E club, about 39% of students take part in additional extracurricular activities, which range from civic education and sciences clubs to health and sports clubs that aid further learning and socialization.

The scholarships also help reduce the workloads and financial burdens on the students’ families. For example, one student said that the A2E scholarship “reduced my parents’ responsibilities and permitted me to go to school”. Factors like reducing financial burdens and allowing girls to go to school have been shown to help girls avoid early marriages, and that is reflected in several student survey responses.

Our surveys examine further barriers to education (in addition to the costs we address) to understand and identify how we might further reduce absences. One example is our recent efforts to provide sanitary pads to girls, so they don’t have to miss school when they are menstruating, a common issue in Cameroon and other countries where resources are limited. Unfortunately, other barriers that restrict the girls’ academic progress, such as limited access to electricity, are out of our control.

Mentoring by A2E Cameroonian Partners positively contributed to students’ final grade point averages, with 71% of the survey responses identifying monitoring and support as positive contributing factors to students’ GPAs.

In summary, the positive impact of our program was evident in our survey results, and we obtained information to help us continue to improve. This impact was conveyed in the survey from a student who wrote that her scholarship “has encouraged me to have confidence in me to realize my goal and to work hard always.”

[1] For the direct quotes used in this article, the author intentionally corrected misspellings.

*The original article published on November 18, 2021 was corrected on December 3, 2021 following the receipt of additional data that had previously not been included. The previous version reflected 80% of Cameroonian Partner mentor responses, whereas the new version reflects 100% mentor participation.  The previously missing data had been stored under a different SurveyMonkey heading unbeknownst to the author.