What is ELEVEate?
ELEVEate is a non-profit organization, based in the United States, working to improve the well-being of girls by providing them with greater access to education. Our current emphasis is on teenage girls residing in the Kaoack region of the Republic of Senegal. The challenges these girls face are ones girls confront in many nations on the African continent. Ultimately, ELEVEate plans to expand its activities to help girls in other locations in Africa. ELEVEate’s vision is a world in which every girl is able to acquire the skills needed to pursue her dreams and to develop a strong sense of dignity, self-efficacy, and self-esteem.
What is the mission of ELEVEate?
ELEVEate’s mission is to provide access to a secondary school education for girls in Africa, with a focus on those in the Kaolack region of Senegal. In Senegal, and many other nations in Africa, to advance from primary school to secondary school students must have a birth certificate and pass an entrance exam. However, about half of the young women in rural areas of Senegal do not have a birth certificate, due to cost. ELEVEate believes that providing girls with a birth certificate, and other resources to help them succeed in school, will pave the way for them to finish secondary school. Research shows that the economic and social benefits of secondary education for girls are lasting and spill over to enrich their families and communities.
How was ELEVEate established?
In the summer of 2007, Allyson Goldsmith worked as in intern with an NGO in Kaolack Senegal, and found that very few girls were attending secondary school, because they were unregistered, which means they did not have a birth certificate. Acquiring a birth certificate cost $25 U.S. With most families living on less than $2 a day, other family needs were given higher priority, so all too-often female children go unregistered. Moved by this harsh reality, Allyson began to raise funds to address this situation. Within a year she was able to raise enough money to purchase birth certificates for 172 girls in the Kaolack region. Her vision, to unlock the dreams of more girls by providing them with birth certificates, led to the formation of ELEVEate.
Do girls need more than a birth certificate to complete secondary school?
ELEVEate believes that it is essential to provide girls with the skills and support needed, along with a birth certificate, to both pass the National Secondary School Entrance Exam and to succeed in secondary school. Families in Senegal often require school age girls to stay home from school to do chores. This leads to educational gaps making it less likely for the girls to pass the Secondary School Entrance Exam. With a grant from Allyson Goldsmith the Kaolack Summer School for Girls (KSSG), which aims to prepare girls for the Secondary School Entrance Exam, opened its doors during the summer of 2008. Any girl in the Kaolack region in grades 6-11 may enroll in KSSG free of charge. ELEVEate intends to support KSSG, on a permanent basis through grants, beginning in the summer of 2009 (KSSG-09).
How does ELEVEate work?
ELEVEate makes it known throughout the Kaolack region that any girls who is eligible for a Senegalese birth certificate, but who do not have one, and who would like to be registered so they can attend secondary school can complete an application for a birth certificate grant. Applications are collected by Madam Khady Sanokho, who works for the Kaolack Regional School Board and is responsible for assisting girls in completing secondary school. Applicants are evaluated based on three factors; a personal essay detailing career aspirations and goals, prior school grades, and family need. Those provided a birth certificate, as well as girls in the region who already are registered, are also eligible to attend the Kaolack Summer School for Girls and to receive grants to cover the costs of school materials.
How is ELEVEate structured?
ELEVEate is a public charity headquartered in Virginia in the United States. Decisions are made by a Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees recieves input as needed from an Advisory Board whose members are academics, corporate leaders, lawyers, African nationalists, students, and community servants. The Board is led by Allyson Goldsmith, founder and Executive Director of ELEVEate.
Can the education of girls reduce poverty in Africa?
Education improves social, economic, and psychological well-being. Research shows that for each additional year of education a teenage girl in Africa accumulates beyond primary school, her annual earning rise by 15 to 20% and her likelihood of contacting HIV/AIDS falls. In addition, more educated women are better able to start and run successful businesses using micro-financed loans, and raise children who themselves obtain more years of schooling. Thus, educating girls is an ideal line of defense against poverty.
How is ELEVEate funded?
Private individuals donated funds so Allyson Goldsmith could purchase birth certificates for 172 girls between August 2007 and July 31, 2008 when ELEVEate was in its formative stages. These donors, and others, have continued to support ELEVEate since it was incorporated on July 31, 2008. ELEVEate plans to continue to expand its base of private donors. ELEVEate was granted 501 (c) (3) status from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and designated a public charity in July 2009, which allows donations to ELEVEate to be tax deductable for the donors. This status allows ELEVEate to seek donations from corporate funders, and foundations. ELEVEate has adopted strict financial procedures, conducts program audits, and reports on its activities to ensure transparency which contributed to its recieving 501 (c) (3) status.
How can I contribute?
Make a donation to ELEVEate on-line at our website (www.eleveate.org) or by sending a check, made out to ELEVEate, to
Arthur H. Goldsmith
Chief Financial Officer, ELEVEate
23 Grey Dove Road
Lexington, Virginia 24450
Donations can be to purchase a girl’s Birth Certificate ($25), to Sponsor a Girl (i.e., give her a birth certificate and school supplies for a year--$50), to support a particular program for a designated amount, or to the general fund for a specified amount. Funds contributed to the general fund are allocated by the Board of Directors to support the various ELEVEate programs;
- Birth Certificate Program
- Kaolack Summer School for Girls
- Public School Supplies
- Summer School Supplies
- Health Awareness and Promotion