The School Scholarship Programme
In 2006 Blue Ventures launched a scholarship programme that provides bright children within the Velondriake Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA), southwest Madagascar, with funding so that they can attend school in Andavadoaka, Morombe, and Tulear. Without this source of funding, the majority of these children simply would not have the opportunity to study. Even “free” public education is not free in Madagascar; there are entry fees at public school, and entry fees as well as monthly fees at private institutions. The quality of education tends to be superior at private institutions, in large part due to changes in the Malagasy government since 2009, thus many of our Blue Ventures’ scholars attend private school, especially at the primary level in Andavadoaka.
The Blue Ventures’ education programme works with members of the Velondriake Committee to select scholarship recipients, basing their choice on financial need and academic achievement. Blue Ventures’ staff and Velondriake Committee members work closely with school administrators, parents, teachers, and students to ensure the highest quality education, and the most robust support possible. This includes not only ensuring the essentials – school fees, notebooks, pens, pencils and other supplies – but also addressing individual issues that can jeopardise learning – like minor health problems, insufficient meals at home, and housing issues. This year, the expanded Blue Ventures’ education programme has even been able to offer support to teachers through training workshops and materials.
Each year since 2006, the number of students requesting sponsorship from Blue Ventures has grown; and every year more and more children are being given opportunities for education that would otherwise be impossible for them. In the 2011 - 2012 school year, a total of 190 children from across Velondriake received scholarship assistance to attend school and to purchase supplies necessary for their education. Of that total, 123 were from the village of Andavadoaka and the remaining 67 from remote neighbouring villages.