Chadian woman named as first recipient of AfDB Women’s Scholarship Fund

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The African Development Bank’s Women’s Network (AfDBWN), in its bid to boost African girls’ access to higher education and as part of its commitment to achieving gender equality, has announced the first laureate of its Women’s Scholarship Fund (WSF), Jeanne Dina Kitoko. The announcement came on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8.

Jeanne, 17, is Chadian and has lost her father. Her family lives in a remote area of the country. Her ambition is to become a meteorologist and she is currently registered at the Department of Geography at the University of Moundou in Chad. The scholarship will allow her to continue her program and achieve her goal.

Contacted by the Bank’s Communications and External Relations Department, Jeanne expressed gratitude to the Bank Group and said she was glad she was selected for the program. “This scholarship offered to me by AfDB Women’s Network will enable me pursue my higher education, will positively impact my life and that of many other young girls. It is a concrete way to empower less fortunate young women like me, and to promote Africa’s development,” she said.

Jeanne was chosen by a committee, at the end of rigorous selection process. The selection criteria were as follows:

  • Selection of the zone in the continent: The WSF candidates are selected by rotation of geographical zones in alphabetical order: Central Africa, Eastern Africa, Northern Africa, Southern Africa, and Western Africa: The first zone selected is Central Africa.
  • Selection of the country: The first country selected is the one with the lowest enrollment ratio of women in high school. In Central Africa, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics 2012 report indicated that Chad has the lowest percentage of female students in tertiary education (15%); the country also records the highest school dropout rate in Africa. On this basis, Chad was selected as the first beneficiary country.
  • Selection of the candidate at country level: The selection of the candidate at the country level is done in collaboration with the Bank Field Office (FO), the Government and partners in the education sector in the country. The WSF Committee with the FO set up a Committee comprising representatives from: the Gender Ministry, the Ministry in charge of Education, and the Ministry in charge of Social Affairs, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE)/Chad, and an Umbrella of Women Association in Chad. The committee analyzed the records of the girls/women admitted to the Bachelor's degree in 2014 and made a list of girls admitted in order of merit. 

AfDB strongly supports inclusive education policies. AfDB Women’s Network initiative echoes the Bank’s special attention to gender as outlined in its Strategy, and its effective response to qualitatively increase the number of Africa’s women at school, by providing them with appropriate vocational and higher technical education.

AfDB’s Women's Scholarship Fund (WSF), was initiated by the AfDBWN in 2013, and designed as a channel to allow Bank staff to contribute to the development of the continent, and the empowerment of women, through access particularly to higher education. The WSF aims to support the Bank’s efforts to promote inclusive growth, but also to respond to the challenges posed by gender inequality in Africa.