Help send sixty girls to primary school!
Dear Friend –
Somalia is experiencing a significant and prolonged humanitarian crisis: many thousands of people are malnourished, have no clean water, lack basic sanitation and are without adequate health services. Many are at risk of violence or forced to keep on the move, with no clear path to a stable future. In this situation, women and girls are particularly vulnerable.
A crisis like this can seem hopeless. But there are solutions. All over the world people have found that when you educate young girls you create powerful, positive change within societies. In Somalia, some inspiring organisations are working to empower young girls by giving them access to a free education. Last year I had the good fortune to see some of these organisations in action. Their work is incredible, but they don’t have enough resources to educate all the girls who need it.
This is where you come in. During my 60th year on the planet, I am asking all my friends, colleagues, family, acquaintances, even strangers I meet on the train, to help me raise enough money to send 60 Somali girls to primary school for six years each. The funds we raise will go to two organizations who are already educating young girls in northern Somalia: Hanaqaad and GECPD (Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development).
I know this is an ambitious goal. One year of education for one girl costs $200 (£130, €180) – multipled by sixty over six years that’s $72,000 (or £47,000, or €65,000). That’s A LOT of money! But even if we only raise $200, that is one girl who has been given a chance at a better future she wouldn’t otherwise get. Just think –
“If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.”
Please help as much as you can – whether it’s $6 or $60, or $600. Together we can build a brighter future for these young girls.
This is great – how do I donate?
It’s important that the money we raise goes straight to these organisations and the young girls in Somalia, so I am not using a crowdfunding site. Instead, I have set up a dedicated Savings Account at Yorkshire Building Society. This account will be fully audited for transparency, so you can trust that your donation is going to the right place.
To donate from the UK, transfer money to the following:
Sort Code: 609204
Account number: 92411745
Role Reference: 92411745-07; Dr Philip Scott Jones
To donate from overseas, use PayPal. Simply:
Go to paypal.com and create an account
Go to My Account
Click Send Money to Friends
Enter Scott’s email address: email@example.com
Choose the amount of money you wish to donate
Click Send Money Now
And you’re done!
If you’d like to learn more about this campaign, I’d be delighted to talk with you about it. Reach out at +44 (0)7799 118454 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once again, thank you.
I’m interested, tell me more…
Where did this idea come from?
Last year, I had the good fortune to evaluate Norwegian humanitarian assistance work in northern Somalia. While in the contested areas I witnessed great struggle and hardship – but some wonderful success stories.
Many girls and women who would have no chance for education, are getting that chance through the two organisations whose work I saw, and whose beneficiaries I spoke with – Hanaqaad and GECPD (Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development). They are skilled, committed and successful – building peace and improving lives in northern Somalia, day by day, every day.
There are needs across the world. But chronic conflict and political instability in Somalia makes it hard to find peace, or the means to stabilise communities, livelihoods and people’s futures. The women and girls I met are deeply interested in providing that peace and stability, despite huge barriers. Through their education, they have developed the knowledge, skills and confidence to do so.
I am not an easy person to convince – I’ve seen a lot of things that do not work and are unlikely to work. But I left the contested areas of Somalia feeling greatly encouraged by what I saw. The girls, the teachers, the administrators, the financial integrity and commitment, the men who guard the school and are deeply committed to girls education in spite of threats against them, the sacrifice of people who have ended up in jail because they dare to educate females and stand up for women and girls, and several of the politicians who, despite the odds, are starting to make progress at different levels.
This is a tough, tough situation. Things are as difficult as I have seen in peace and in war across 40+ countries. GECPD and Hanaqaad need supporting not just because they are trying – but because they are succeeding.
Every child deserves every chance to succeed. It is tough for young boys in Somalia but especially tough for girls. Across the world, twice as many girls as boys do not attend school, and cannot read or write. Years of research clearly shows that, on average, women with education have fewer and healthier children, increase family income by ~15%, are more likely to invest in their community, and encourage their own children into education.
After 30 years in international development I am convinced that the most strategic impact on reducing conflict and improving economic development will come from educating girls and women, and having more women and girls in positions of influence.
What are these organisations that will receive the money?
All the money raised will be divided equally between two organisations I have met, that have been audited by international development agencies, and whose work I trust. GECPD (Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development) work with girls from minority groups, displaced and nomadic families that have no chance at all of supporting their girls’ education. The money would support the next cohort of girls in their Harfo School. Hanaqaad is an umbrella organisation for 27 NGOs working and is based in Sool Region. The money would support girls at their school in Las Anod and the surrounding areas.
Hawa Aden Mohamed, the founder of GECPD, has been received many awards for her work.Here she is talking about the importance of educating Somali girls on Kenyan TV.
On August 20th, she wrote this letter in support of our campaign:
This is just to inform you that schools reopened this week for the scholastic year August 2015/May 2016. Already 546 students (320 Girls and 226 Boys) have enrolled and more are still turning up. We anticipate that the number may double by the close of the second week of reopening. At Harfo Girls alone, a total of 240 students have enrolled so far and the number is still growing.
Although we do not have any funding so far to run the program, we could not turn away these hundreds of children who are too enthusiastic to acquire some form of education with the great hope of transforming their lives and bringing change to their communities.
The zeal with which they turned up when schools reopened left us with no choice but to enrol them with the hope that help will come along the way. We have been encouraging the community to support the continuation of their education but with the high levels of poverty and loss of livelihoods experienced in the recent years much may not be done.
How will these organisations get the money?
This fundraising campaign will end on my 61st birthday, February 7th 2016. After that, the passbook for the dedicated Savings Account will be given to Mind the Gap’s Accountant so that she can audit it and officially note all transactions for the UK tax authorities and state where the money was sent.
The money will then be transferred to GECPD’s international account at the Dahabshil Bank International, from where it will go to their local account in Galkayo. Hanaqaad will pay for internal transfer costs through their local Dahabshil Bank in Las Anod.
How can I trust that the money raised will go to the people who need it?
Good question! For several reasons:
- I have met both organisations, seen what they do, met with beneficiaries and worked alongside those who have supported the organisations in the past. What they do is wonderful, and they are fully audited. I trust them.
- UNICEF, DFID, OXFAM, Norwegian People’s Aid and other organisations have supported these organisations and recognised their good work. You can find references on their websites.
- External auditors for this fundraising campaign are Mind the Gap’s accountant, Mr Ahmed Farah Mohammed, and Mr Khamis Chome Abdi. Please let me know if you want their contact details.
How do you know this will work?
I have lots of photos and interviews from my time in Somalia that show the powerful change already happening. One of the great things I saw at Hanaqaad was their ‘Second Chance’ programme for women who had not had a chance for education. Two young women I met were now turning a profit for their market trading because after primary school they could read, write and do arithmetic. Before school, they were unable to turn hard work into income for their families. A young nomadic woman was so successful after GECPD school, that she has sponsored 2 other girls through school and does volunteering for the school.
 For more details, check out: http://csis.org/publication/somalia-remains-worst-humanitarian-crisis-world, http://www.unocha.org/somalia/about-ocha-somalia/crisis-overview, and http://www.rescue.org/news/irc-aid-agencies-warn-deteriorating-humanitarian-crisis-somalia-4351
 Educating girls has been shown to decrease poverty and improve health, not just for them but for their families and communities. Check out this article for more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socioeconomic_impact_of_female_education
 Commission on the Status of Women, Fiftieth Session, 4th & 5th Meetings. 28 February, 2006. “Absence of Women for Leadership Positions Undermines Democracy.” www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/wom1541.doc.htm.