Made in Africa (MIA), a British founded chocolate brand that specialises in ensuring all its products are entirely produced in Africa, has launched the Girls’ Education Fund for vulnerable African students.
The Girls’ Education Fund was launched under MIA’s wider 1 for Change impact programme. Sponsored students receive a monthly stipend for school fees, school lunches and basic healthcare. The first two to receive the fund, Nadine and Viviane, are secondary students in the highlands capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo. They are both in their last year of secondary school where they will take exams that determine if they can pursue university studies. Nadine aspires to be a doctor and Viviane seeks to obtain a university degree in English.
The fund seeks to combat the negative trend of low school enrolment and demonstrate the value of girls’ education.
As Irenée Rajaona-Horne, director of Money for Madagascar, the UK charity responsible for the implementation of the fun, stated: “School enrollment has significantly decreased, falling as low as 55% in some areas.
“Decades of under-investment, exacerbated by a political coup in 2009 caused the national education budget to fall from US$82 million in 2008 to just $14.9 million in 2012.”
The budget cut has led to the inability of the government to pay teacher salaries and so school fees have been implemented. As girls are the first to be removed from school to assist with domestic chores and support the family income they are the most impacted.
Rajaona-Horne added: “Every 100 children who start primary school only 33 make it to secondary school.”
MIA co-founder, Sarah Lescrauwaet, said: “MIA is about proving that African communities can craft delicious value-added food on the one hand and bringing positive benefit to communities beyond our supply chain on the other. And in delivering on these promises we want to make the human connection between consumers and producer communities.
“Knowing how valuable education has been in my life, both professionally and personally, I am really excited to see MIA support the academic journeys of young women in Africa.”