“Study after study has taught us that there is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls” – former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Our first commitment to women and gender issues is to prioritize the education of girl students like Charity John, a nursery 2 student in Bane shown here in June 2012.

One of our female scholarship students in Bodo.

“There is probably no higher return on investment in the developing world than primary and secondary education for girls” – Larry Summers, Professor of Economics, Harvard University and former Director of the National Economic Council. Shown here in 2009 are two female primary students in Bodo, standing in front of the tower housing the school’s water tanks.

Tijen Pegg in Bodo in June 2002 meeting with the mothers of Bodo students who would later come together to form the Tijen Pegg Mothers’ Association.

Women are also a vital part of the school’s governance and support structure. Pictured here in 2004 are Michelle De Young, Tijen Pegg and members of the Tijen Pegg Mothers’ Association (TIPEMA) in Bodo. TIPEMA is the most influential and powerful constituency group at the school in Bodo and a vital part of its past, present and continuing success.

In an effort to promote self-reliance and women’s economic development, in 2006 members of the International Friends Committee purchased 30 sewing machines to help establish the TIPEMA sewing machine workshop in Bodo.

A member of the mothers’ association working at one of our sewing machines in 2009.

We are still trying to build and establish a permanent home for the TIPEMA sewing machine center. In the meantime, the mothers have been sewing in one of the school’s classroom buildings as shown here in 2011.

Our commitment to gender equity manifests itself in a variety of different ways. Shown here are members of the all-female version of the Pat and Gerry Neils Memorial Band which was established in honor of two of our earliest supporters as a parade band for the school in Bodo in 2009.

Women are involved at all levels of this project – as students, as mothers, as teachers and, yes, as school directors. Pictured here in August 2009 are Scott Pegg and Leelee Wiwa Tanen, the director of our schools in Bane and Bori.