FNIF Girl Child Education Fund

Florence Nightingale International Foundation
A Nursing Initiative for Orphaned Girls

What is the Girl Child Education Fund? |
How Educating Girls Can Save Lives and Reduce Poverty |
The GCEF Fundraising Kit |
One Girl’s Story | What We Have Achieved | Approach |
Our Partners | Background | Frequently Asked Questions | How To Donate


The Girl Child Education Fund (GCEF), a signature initiative of FNIF, supports the primary and secondary schooling of girls under the age of 18 in developing countries whose nurse parent or parents have died. Your donation to the Girl Child Education Fund will go towards school fees, uniforms, shoes and books. Donations to the Girl Child Education Fund can be made by credit card, bank transfer or cheque.

school girls school girls FNIF school girls
Since the initiation of the programme 385 girls have been enrolled in the GCEF, and we have enabled 184 of these to complete secondary school. In 2015 we will be supporting a total of 178 girls, and ask for your kind donations to sponsor them. A contribution of just US$ 200 will help cover the costs of uniforms, school books, and fees for the primary education of a girl child for one year, and US$ 600 for secondary education. Approximately US$ 5,000 will secure the education of a girl throughout her primary and secondary schooling years.
What the nurse volunteers and teachers have to say:

The glamour and joy I see in the eyes of these girl children when I interact with them through this fund gives me the inner peace which gives me the impetus to carry on.

Before she was under your programme, she had some sort of inferiority complex, you could see that she was depressed and didn’t know what was next with her education but now she feels very secure. She mixes so easily with friends in sports, other clubs and academic work. She therefore participates fully.

Girl child education is very important in our society now because previously the girl child’s position was known to only be in the kitchen but those days are gone. The girl child must forge forward and attain the highest level of education. [One of the GCEF girls] is even earning to reach university which we know she will definitely do.

What the guardians and parents have to say

It has relieved me from the burden of thinking of what the future holds for her and how I was going to be able to scout for funds to cater for her financially.

Now that she has been in the programme for two years I can see a bright future for the child as she will manage to finish school/education. There are changes since she has joined the programme: her performance at school is promising, and she is a happy girl as she knows that the programme is meeting her needs.

When my husband died in 2004, my children were still very young.  I knew that no one was going to help me raise my children, let alone take them to school. I started looking for part time jobs and doing small businesses to raise funds for food and school requirements.  The funding that we get from [the GCEF] will help my children complete their education. Without this programme I do not know what I would have done.

What the girls have to say:

This program is my mother and my father it means everything to me.

The future is promising because the GCEF came into existence and my dreams will be accomplished.

This programme is the reason I am in school and why I am where I am because, trust me, when I lost my father in my primary everything seemed to have come to an end because he was the sole provider and I have other siblings so it was not easy for me to continue.  My paternal relatives wanted me to get married and someone was telling me to enroll in something else so if I am to tell any one about this I would say this is the reason I am in school.  It is the reason why I am where I am today via my academics and my school and my future at large because many other girls like me have their future in education.

What I love about this programme is that we as girls would continue our education and not drop out of school. I would like to see the programme help other girls like me who will need help. And I wanted to say thanks for everything you people have done for me and what you people are doing to encourage girl child education.


What is the Girl Child Education Fund?
Sending girls to school – Securing healthy futures

Poverty, natural and man-made disasters, the HIV pandemic and the re-emergence of TB and malaria in developing countries are causing premature death, leaving behind millions of orphaned children, including those of nurses. Many will not be able to go to school unless we can help. Through the Girl Child Education Fund (GCEF) the orphaned daughters of nurses in developing countries are getting back to school. The GCEF supports the primary and secondary schooling of girls under the age of 18 in developing countries whose nurse parent or parents have died, paying for fees, uniforms, shoes and books. We work in partnership with member National Nurses Associations to ensure that the money goes directly to education costs. Every girl in our program is paired with a nurse volunteer to monitor her progress at school and at home.


GCEF graduate speaker at the FNIF 75th Anniversary Luncheon at Congress
The FNIF 75th Anniversary Luncheon was held on 2 July 2009 at the ICN Congress in Durban, South Africa. The highlight of the Luncheon was the speech given by a graduate of the Girl Child Education Fund, Nondunduzo Dlamini, from Swaziland. A video of her presentation can be seen by following this link. Please note that you will need to install K-Lite codecs to access this presentation.
Nondunduzo Dlamini, from Swaziland


How Educating Girls Can Save Lives and Reduce Poverty

  • Educating girls saves children’s lives: Each extra year of a mother’s schooling reduces the probability of infant mortality by 5% to 10% (UNICEF 2011). In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 1.8 million children’s lives could have been saved in 2008 if their mothers had at least a secondary education (UNICEF 2011).
  • Educating girls raises lifetime incomes for them, their families and their countries. (Herz & Sperling 2004). Girls who have one more year of education than the national average earn 10 to 20 percent more, on average – even more than the increase for boys.  In particular, girls with secondary education have an 18% return in future wages, as compared to 14% for boys. (Levine et al 2009)
  • Educating girls lowers HIV/AIDS rates: Women with postprimary education are five times more likely than illiterate women to be educated on the topic of HIV and AIDS (Vandermoortele & Delamonica 2000).
  • Educating girls reduces violence: Educated women are more likely to resist abuses such as domestic violence, traditions like female genital cutting, and discrimination at home, in society or the workplace. (Women Deliver)
  • Educating girls educates the whole family: an educated mother is more likely to send her children to school. (UNICEF). An educated mother's greater influence in household negotiations may allow her to secure more resources for her children. (UNFPA)
  • Educating girls improves maternal health: Educating girls for six years or more drastically and consistently improves their prenatal care, postnatal care and childbirth survival rates. (UNICEF). Every year of education delays a girl's marriage and reduces the number of children she has. (UNICEF 2007)

If you would like to help raise money for the Girl Child Education Fund, please click here for the GCEF Fundraising kit. We thank you for your support.


One Girl’s Story

Sarah is the youngest of five children. Her mother was a nurse at the district hospital and her father operated a carpentry shop.  In 1998, Sarah’s mother became ill and was often in and out of hospital.  Sarah did not know what was wrong with her mother.    In 2003, her father also became ill.  Her parents’ illness meant that most of their income went to hospital fees so Sarah’s older brothers were forced to drop out of school.  In June 2004, Sarah overheard her brothers talking and discovered that her mother had AIDS.

Six months later, her mother died on 25th December 2004, Christmas Day.  Three days later, Sarah received her school results: she had passed all her exams and could go to secondary school.  Although her father was very ill, he continued to work so that Sarah could go to school.  However, he could only pay the first term fees and in the second term, Sarah was also forced to drop out of school.  Her elder brothers were now doing casual jobs to take care of the family and the medical expenses. Sarah also began to look for a job as a house maid.

In November 2005, Sarah’s father died. But two days later, some good news finally came her way. A former colleague of her mother came to tell her that she would be sponsored by the Girl Child Education Fund to continue her education.

When the school term began, the same woman came to escort her to school. Her fees, uniform and school meals were all paid for.  Sarah was able to go back to school without interruption.  Her performance in school has improved dramatically.

Sarah says: “The GCEF is a project that has made a significant difference in my life.  It has transformed me from being a house maid to a student who will be a professional and contribute to the lives of many others as nurses have contributed to my life. Thank you very much for this noble project.”


What We Have Achieved

The GCEF was launched in 2005 with just 10 girls in four sub-Saharan countries. We are currently supporting 182 girls: 24 in Kenya, 27 in Swaziland, 20 in Zambia and, thanks to a grant from the Symphasis Foundation,111 in Uganda. All these are the orphaned daughters of nurses who would otherwise not have been able to attend school.

In addition, the GCEF has enabled over 180 girls to graduate from secondary school. In order to continue to support these girls so that each and every one of them can graduate, we depend on your kindness and generosity. Please help us keep these girls in school and give them the chance of a brighter future by making a donation today.


FNIF’s approach is one of working in partnership with National Nurses Associations to ensure that the funding goes directly to support the education needs of girl orphans.  We believe this is in the best interests of the child and is the most effective use of donor money. Protecting the dignity and privacy of the Fund beneficiaries is of paramount importance to us. This means that there is no personal or direct relation, obligation, or contact between the donor and any beneficiary.  We will however provide general information about the initiative to our donors at regular intervals.

Our Partners

National Nurses Associations in sub-Saharan African countries – Kenya, Swaziland, Uganda and Zambia – are working in partnership with us to implement and administer the Fund on the ground.  The associations receive applications from many prospective students and identify the neediest girls.  Each beneficiary of the ICN/FNIF fund has lost a nurse parent and would otherwise be unable to continue their education.  Each of these four countries has a GCEF coordinator, whose duties include screening, recruitment and follow-up of the girls.


Nurses have been involved with children’s issues for a long time.  In 2000 FNIF launched the Girl Child Policy and Research Project to address health policy issues affecting girls aged 10 to 14.  In the course of this work, ICN and FNIF have been increasingly drawn to the issue of orphaned children, particularly those of our nurse colleagues.

We know that nurses are dying daily.  We also know that, amazingly, most children whose parent or parents have died have been cared for within the extended family.  Families, at great cost, continue to take responsibility for around 90 per cent of orphans in the region.  However, without support many of these children will not be able to go to school.

This led us to think about developing a broader initiative to address the overwhelming needs and numbers of orphaned children in Africa: thus the Girl Child Education Fund was born.  Launched at ICN’s 23rd Quadrennial Congress in May 2005, the response from the world’s nursing community has been spontaneous and generous. However, much remains to be done and ongoing support is vital.

Your Donation Will Make a Difference

The Girl Child Education Fund (GCEF), a signature initiative of FNIF, supports the primary and secondary schooling of girls under the age of 18 in developing countries whose nurse parent or parents have died. Your donation to the Girl Child Education Fund will go towards school fees, uniforms, shoes and books. Donations to the Girl Child Education Fund can be made by credit card, bank transfer or cheque.

We would like to thank all our donors for their generous gifts and hope that you will continue to support this important project.