GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Club Pig Pen Project - San Benito Poite
By law, Belizean children have to be enrolled in school between the ages of 5 and 14. If the student and their family decide to further their education, they have to pay for all post-primary educational expenses such as tuition, books, uniforms, and other materials. In extremely rural villages like San Benito Poite, traditional concepts of gender roles exist, forcing girls to be pulled out of school at 14 even if they have yet to graduate.
This project seeks to assist GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Club members to become more self-reliant in funding their own education. To supplement the Pigs Dig Education Project, where girls will raise pigs to fund their educational expenses, this project will lead to the construction of nine pigpens in the village of San Benito Poite. Pigs that are raised in pens grow to market size more quickly, have a lower risk of contracting communicable diseases which in turn decreases the risk of spreading these diseases to the villagers. Currently, most villagers in San Benito Poite raise pigs and allow them to roam free for most of the day.
All pigpens have been constructed and a local NGO donated animal vaccinations and vitamins. All the pigs are healthy and many have had piglets. Once the piglets grow to full size, the girls will sell them and use the profits to pay for school expenses. Out of the original 15 members, seven of the girls are enrolled in high school whereas the remaining eight girls are studying at primary school and looking forward to being enrolled in high school in the next two years. The project leader has identified 14 new members to be involved in the expansion of the project. The community is very supportive of the project and village leaders have pledged their support to make education of girls a priority for the future.
"At our end of year certification ceremony, four village leaders--all men--stood up and gave witness to the benefits of these projects and the importance of sending girls to school. They all noted that these projects are paving way for more girls to attend high school and for more families to consider girls' education as an utmost priority." - Doreen, Peace Corps Volunteer
"This project is helping me because my parents don’t have money to send me to school. But with the sales from my pigs, I will be able to buy school supplies and attend high school." - Filomena, 12, Project Participant