With estimates of the literacy rate for women in Nigeria reaching above 50%, the disparity in basic education enrollment, retention and completion among girls in Nigeria represents a serious constraint to its development.
Educating girls is widely viewed as the most effective investment a developing country can make. In fact, the United Nations Population Fund maintains that a 0.3 percent boost in economic growth results from a 1 percent increase in the number of girls finishing secondary school. Since per capita gains in developing countries seldom exceed 3 percent a year, that's a very significant boost.
In an effort to help eliminate some of the barriers that discourage or exclude girls from the benefits of basic and advanced education, PCNAF established its first scholarship program for Nigerian girls in 2003. The scholarship recipients were selected from each of the six regions of Nigeria, giving the program national scope. The program targeted girls enrolled in the final level of junior secondary school (grade 9), and supported the scholarship winners for the full three years needed to complete their secondary school education. Fifteen girls received scholarships through that program.
Building upon the success of the inaugural program, PCNAF currently sponsors three scholarship programs for female Nigerian students: one for secondary school girls in northern Nigeria, and two for college students (one for students in the United States, and another program for students in Nigeria).
This program provides financial assistance to needy girls entering senior secondary school in six states in northern Nigeria, where only 4 percent of females complete secondary school. The program supports the scholarship recipients for the three years that it takes for them to graduate. Each scholar is chosen on the basis of her academic record, financial need and service to her community. PCNAF is collaborating with the Kano-based Inclusive Community Education and Development Association (ICEADA) to implement the program.
The Young Women's Scholarship Program is for female Nigerian undergraduate college students in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. It was created in an effort to help ease the financial burden of students with outstanding academic and leadership potential who are facing difficulties finding the money to stay in school because they have an international student visa. These students are not allowed to seek outside employment to finance their education. The program provides financial support to young women entering their junior or senior year at a participating college or university. 2016 Application Form
PCNAF has partnered with Friends of Nigeria (FON) and American University of Nigeria (AUN) to create a scholarship program at AUN that is administered as part of the President's Crisis Fund. The purpose of this fund is to provide assistance to AUN students who experience sudden, unexpected financial problems. Students in need of such emergency support are evaluated on a case by case basis by the AUN President and Vice President for Finance to determine which students are most deserving. In addition to need, the focus is on students who have a strong academic record as well as significant participation in community service. The scholarship program targets female students from northern Nigeria who meet these criteria.