The non-profit Karat School (KSP) is located in Yopougon, Abidjan, an impoverished area of the Ivory Coast of Africa. The Karat School provides an eclectic curriculum of diverse, culturally-relevant education to students 5-12 years of age. Because hungry bellies cannot learn, students are served two warm meals a day. Providing food for the students is the second largest cost of the school. In a country that is 51% illiterate, The Karat School provides a safe place where students can come to learn and be fed every day of the week. The funds of the Karat School Girl's Educational Incentive and Women's Farming Program will allow 21 additional girls to enroll in the Karat School and will continue to provide school meals and materials, uniforms, shoes and medical costs. At the same time, mothers of these daughters will be empowered to improve their financial situation by receiving training in land management and local sustainable farming as well as the opportunity to rent land. The crops these women produce will be divided to promote women's financial independence and security for their families, provide a consistent source of nutritional food for the school, and generate additional nutrition for the surrounding communities. This program also aims to incentivize other mothers in the community to enroll their daughters in school as a means to be welcomed into the farming program and improve their well-being.
Needs and Goals:
1) Need: Two out of three girls are not enrolled in school. Females are valued less than
males in this culture. They are sent out in the streets by their families as better
Goal: Provide an alternative source of income previously supplied by daughters allowing
them to pursue an education.
2) Need: Girls tend to marry and are pregnant in their teens leading to an increase in
mother and child mortality rates.
Goal: Girls that stay in school tend to marry and have children later, decreasing the
mortality risk. They tend to have smaller families and educate their children.
3) Need: This is a patriarchal society with little economic and societal power given to
Goal: Empower women to provide for their families through farming training, renting land,
producing their crops to share, feeding their families and and selling
their produce in the market. Having mothers who have income and can reinvest
in their children's education will enable the Karat School to welcome new girls and
widen their impact.
3) Need: Food scarcity: 46.3% of the population earns less than $1.90/day for an average
family size of 8. Not having enough to eat is a reality.
Goals: Students are served two warm meals a day and two snacks. Food is the second
largest cost of the Karat School. The women's farming program will reduce the
food costs at the Karat School by generating a consistent and sustainable source
of nutritious food for the Karat School, their families and their community.
4) Need: Illiteracy: 51% of the population is illiterate
Goal: Provide access to education to both mothers and their daughters.
1) Education of 21 additional girls in the Karat School providing uniforms and shoes,
school materials (books, pens, papers, curriculum purchases), two warm meals and two
2) Stipends: 7 women each growing cycle (6 months) will receive a monthly stipend for 6
months to help care for their families while working on the farm. There will be three
growing cycles (21 mothers total).
3) Stipends: 2 women graduates will receive a monthly stipend for 6 months if they train the
next cohort of women farmers (6 women total).
4) Land rental: One land rental per 7 women for 6 months x three growing cycles.
5) Agro-cultural specialist: Hired from a local agricultural expertise company Calivoire.
The cost of this specialist should decrease as women graduates train the next cohort
of women in farming practices.
6) Crop cost: Rice and seasonal vegetables. This cost should decrease as seeds are utilized
from previous growing seasons.
7) Tractor, plow and fertilizer cost.
Timeline: Fall 2022-Winter 2023.
The Los Altos Rotary Club will be monitoring and reporting the success of this project by:
1) Tracking new female student enrollment
2) Tracking number of mothers receiving farming skills.
3) Measuring improvement in student and mother literacy comprehension measured by basic
reading and writing competency exercises.
4) Tracking women graduates of the farming program and continuation of farming practices and
improved income and well being.
It is our hope that we can send a group of Rotarians to visit the Karat School and see the women's farming program in action. The founder Evelyne Keomian, is from the Ivory Coast and lives in Palo Alto. She visits the Ivory Coast 2x year and is more than willing to take a group of Rotarians.