Three out of the 63 female students benefitting from the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA) scholarship programs, have been dropped due to pregnancy, the 2011 Liberian Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee announced over the weekend.
Madam Gbowee, founder and president of the GPFA, told newsmen that the “pregnant students” violated a contract clause, which prohibits female students from getting pregnant while on the GPFA scholarship.
Madam Gbowee stated that two of the students are from the Cuttington University in Suakoko, Bong County and the is from the Star Institution of Professional Studies. Their names have been withheld.
Happily, all is not over for those students. Madam Gbowee stated that after they shall have delivered their babies, they may reapply for the scholarships and would be reaccepted if there are available spaces.
“We are not against girls and women getting children, but these scholarships are intended to empower girls and women to promote their holistic transformation,” she said. “Someone can’t spend their hard-earned money to pay your fees and you get pregnant instead of focusing on your studies? Families, who are sponsoring these scholarships, want to see value for their money.”
Another female student from the Tubman University has also been dropped because she failed to reach the minimum GPA of 3.0 after four semesters of hiring instructors to prop her up.
Madam Gbowee, an educator and peace activist, hailed six of their scholarship students who have successfully passed all the required courses in their various institutions of learning.
She named Madam Vaiba Flomo, Grace Jarson and Gwendolyn Myers, who earned Certificates in Conflict Transformation from the Eastern Mennonite University in the USA; Korto S. Johnson, BSc in Public Administration, UL; Welmu Ewu, AA in Nursing, Mother Pattern College of Health Sciences; and Ernestine Vulue, a high school diploma, Effort Baptist Church School.
Accordingly, Madam Gbowee said Eastern Mennonite University scholarships provided the GPFA and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and cost about US$90,000 for the three students; while the other three students’ tuition amounted to US$5,000.
“We thought to highlight this to the media because when you journey with a group of people, it’s important to stop and take a note of your progress to let the public know what you have done,” Madam Gbowee said. “It’s also good to pat yourselves on the back,” she added.
She disclosed that a Belgium University has offered a scholarship to GPFA for a Master’s candidate; while a US university a scholarship. A Scottish university has signed a 3-year scholarship program with GPFA and owing the failure of Liberian females to meet the requirements, Ghanaian and Nigerians have been selected.
Madam Gbowee further indicated that the GPFA, for the second time, has awarded a full scholarship to a male student to attend any university or college of his choice because of his constant high averages from 9th to the 12 grade classes.
She has meanwhile expressed satisfaction that her foundation has sent out 18 students on internship at hospitals and other institutions. She disclosed that each of interns is given a monthly per diem of US$100.
Madam Gbowee uses her global platform to build partnerships with institutions of higher learning all over the world to provide women and young girls opportunities to acquire undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The GPFA identifies young women who have achieved academically but lack the financial resources to study abroad. The foundation provides support through the application process, secures required health exams, passports and documents. GPFA hopes that qualified candidates in need of support will commit themselves to use their education for the development of Liberia.