4 October 2009d
With the Karren Waid scholarship program, it seems that the organizers have been treading water for several years now. We’re supporting about 40 girls – almost half of them are in university this year. This is exciting and fantastic – and depletes the money we have very quickly. So we need to develop effective fundraising and the previous reliance on fundraising among the volunteer community is no longer viable – this is for two reasons: first of all, volunteers shouldn’t be doing fundraising at all, second – expecting volunteers to donate money from their limited resources is inappropriate.
Some motivated but ultimately too busy returned PCVs tried to start a foundation with 501c3 status in the states, but the process ground to a halt at the federal level. So we are starting over again – this means developing new administrative record-keeping, financial accountability and developing sustainable plans for staffing. It also involves funding a group of interested people in the states who have the motivation, time and energy necessary to create a foundation and serve on its board. This is an exciting turning point on an organizational level.
Exciting new ideas on project delivery as well. One of the biggest obstacles that organizers have faced every year is how to track down and contact the scholarship recipients in order to get their report cards and give them the scholarship money. Because many of these girls have been in the program for several years, there are not necessarily local peace corps volunteers in their village anymore. Every year they become harder to find. This also means that girls are missing out on having a mentor to encourage them, help with study skills, etc.
In order to address both concerns – we’re planning a revival of an old aspect to the program: Karren Waid regional conferences. We will gather the scholarship recipients in each region for a weekend program of sessions on study skills, future planning, and self-confidence. The conferences will be in late August/early September – meaning that girls can turn in their report cards and receive their scholarship money at the same time. (The timing of the conferences is yet another reason why I will probably extend my service.)