Catherine Bertini’s career includes public service at all levels, and she was the driving force behind reform of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) from 1992 to 2002. After winning the World Food Prize in 2003 for her contributions to food security, Ms. Bertini used her $250,000 reward to start the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education. The Bertini Fund aims to improve access to training and education for girls by supporting innovative efforts to reach and empower girls. WFP USA is pleased to host this initiative.
WFP USA hosts the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education that provides grants to local organizations that improve access to training and education for women and girls.
Below are brief summaries of our grant recipients. For more information, see the Catherine Bertini Fund for Girls Education Quarterly Report. We expect to make the next round of awards in Spring 2015.
Founded in 2005, Advancing Girls' Education in Africa (AGE Africa) helps over 600 Malawian girls in 16 government schools gain better access to the resources and support needed to excel in their studies and beyond. The Bertini Fund will contribute to AGE Africa's CHATS curriculum, a two-year after-school program that combines sexual and reproductive health education with leadership training and career guidance.
The Girls Education Initiative in Ghana (GEIG) provides girls with academic and financial support so they may access secondary and higher education and professional opportunities.
Chicuchas Wasi (CW) School for Girls in Cusco, Peru provides free, primary education, emphasizing personal development, empowerment, and academics. In addition to educating our students, we also educate and prepare their mothers with workshops and classes on how to improve their own lives. The Bertini Fund grant will provide safe transportation to and from school for rural students.
Chance for Change enables girls from poor families in Burkina Faso to pursue higher education. The organization identifies qualified candidates, visits them to discuss roadblocks, and coordinates resources to facilitate their academic studies. In addition to paying school tuition, the organization organizes resources for the women to excel in their studies—computers, motorized scooters, and materials for school projects. Their Bertini Fund grant will provide scholarships for women, cover shipment costs for 12 donated computers, and enable one Master’s student to complete an Agro-Ecology project to help 17 local women grow sesame to sell at market.
To reach a total of 597 girls and women, AFN is expanding three educational projects in Ghazni:
Khurasan Learning Centers to provide 4th through 12th grade education in math, science, and English to 500 girls annually
Women’s Literacy and Vocational Training Programs for 80 widows/adult women
University Scholarship Program to break down barriers for 17 exceptional graduates to attend college
In partnership with the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa (IHSA), GEC has begun The Kitenga Village Project, which will strengthen the well-being of the community by educating girls and addressing critical needs. The heart of the project is the Kitenga School for Girls, which will immediately serve 120 Tanzanian students. Fully realized, the boarding school will provide 1,500 girls with health and life skills education, workforce and agricultural training, advanced technology and leadership development.
The Komera Project
Through supporting secondary education of girls in Rwanda, the Komera Project aims to improve girls’ health, earning potential, and sense of self-worth while also increasing opportunities to break the vicious cycle of poverty. The organization has used to host a girls' fun run and empowerment camp, provide school materials, and hire a social worker to mentor the Komera Scholars.
The Empowerment Project provides opportunities for young Kenyan women to explore leadership and scholarship in conservation and science. When granted funds, the organization invested in vocational training, Mentorship Connection Days, and a lecture series with featured women. They have also been able to expand programming to include a mentoring program called Grassroot Girls.
“Elève” means students in French, and ELEVEate’s goal is to provide students in Senegal with an opportunity to break through barriers and reach their potential through education. They determined three focus areas for the awarded grant funds:
To provide birth certificates for unregistered 5th grade girls, removing the barrier to secondary school and encouraging them to focus on studies during the coming year.
To establish and operate girls’ clubs led by trained female mentors.
To provide secondary school uniforms for girls from resource-constrained families.
HOPE for Ariang
HOPE for Ariang aims to improve access to and quality of schooling for South Sudanese children, with a special focus on girls due to the unique barriers they face. With funds provided by the Bertini Fund, HFA hired a female teacher and completed the construction of a pit latrine, both of which have increased the amount of girls continuously enrolled in school.
WFP Laos Country Office received materials to complement existing School Meals efforts. Often students are forced to walk long distances to attend school. Many choose to board at school or live in make-shift shelters rather than travel back and forth each day. Funds were employed to provide 1,155 female students with a mattress, blanket, pillow, mosquito net, cooking pot, bucket, plate, bowl and set of utensils. WFP Yemen Country Office was awarded funds to purchase furniture and restore water supply for one year. The purchase of desks and chairs enabled the students to be more comfortable and focused during school. Clean, continuous water for fountains and toilets ensured that students were able to stay in school for a full day, all year long.
To donate via U.S. mail, please make your check payable to World Food Program USA, add "Catherine Bertini Fund" to the memo and mail to:
World Food Program USA
1725 Eye Street NW, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20006