The West Foundation’s Impact on Nurturing Minds

Nurturing Minds is a US-based non-profit whose mission is to support quality education, life skills, and entrepreneurship to help vulnerable girls in Tanzania become leaders in their communities. Nurturing Minds achieves this through partnership and support of SEGA (Secondary Education for Girls’ Advancement), a non-profit organization based in Tanzania whose purpose is to improve the quality of life for vulnerable Tanzanian girls.

Nurturing Minds proudly supports SEGA’s programs, which aim to lift girls out of poverty by providing educational opportunities and tangible skills that strengthen girls’ ability to find jobs, become financially self-sufficient, and lead productive lives. We are thankful for the funding support we have received from The West Foundation since 2015, which has helped provide continuing education and job placement for students, as well as basic necessities and supplies to support a safe and educational environment at SEGA Girls’ Secondary School.

From contributing writer Jane Celestin, Program Officer, Nurturing Minds

The SEGA Girls’ Secondary School removes numerous barriers that Tanzanian girls face to pursuing education, including a lack of funds to pay for school, transportation to and from school, domestic abuse, and domestic duties. SEGA has demonstrated that by providing basic necessities, a safe and rigorous learning environment, medical care, and mental health counseling, girls living in poverty can become academically successful and thrive.

Results of the Tanzanian National Exam taken during the final year of secondary school determine the next level of education for SEGA students. Now in its 13th year, SEGA School has graduated nine classes of students with very high pass rates (100% compared to 81% nationally). For the past two years, 100% of our secondary school graduates (compared to 3% nationally) have gone on to continuing education in programs such as nursing, teaching, business, non-profit management, and A-levels (an additional two years of advanced level high school required to enter university). In addition, 28 SEGA graduates are currently attending university.

How have you used the most recent funding support from The West Foundation to advance your mission?

Recent funds from The West Foundation have supported SEGA School’s Entrepreneurship Program, which forms a vital component of SEGA’s mission to teach girls practical, income-generating skills in addition to academics. Under the leadership of SEGA’s Business Coordinator, students learn business planning and management skills by running their own on-campus shop, where they sell food products and toiletries. In addition, students participate in a Poultry Program, where they learn how to care for chickens and oversee egg production, and in a Sewing Program, where they learn tailoring skills. Students also participate in tourism and hospitality, and honey production. Through their participation in SEGA’s Entrepreneurship Program, SEGA students acquire the necessary skills to become successful businesswomen – skills that they use to benefit their families and communities.

What new projects are in the pipeline?

  • SEGA is piloting the Girls’ Business Development Program, which will assist SEGA School graduates and graduates of its Modern Girl Program (girls ages 10-18 who have been mentored and taught reproductive health and life skills by recent SEGA graduates) in improving the profitability of their business enterprises. This program will also provide small loans to help graduates grow their existing small businesses.
  • SEGA’s Modern Girl Program, which aims to reduce teen pregnancy and early marriage, will continue expanding to mentor and educate 1,100 girls in 25 communities. The Empowered Girls Network, which brings Modern Girl graduates together to connect and support each other, also continues to grow.
  • SEGA is working to improve campus security through the purchase of new security cameras and solar powered security grade lights.
  • SEGA will build an additional biology lab to meet the needs of its growing student population and increase its focus on STEM learning.

Please visit nurturingmindsinafrica.org to learn more about their work and how you can support their mission to transform lives and communities by educating and empowering Tanzanian girls.

 

Photo courtesy: Nurturing Minds, Students carrying food items to a classroom