10% of public sector registered nurses in Malawi are GAIA Scholars.
GAIA Nursing Scholars: Building Healthcare Capacity & Empowering Women
GAIA created its Nursing Scholarship Program to both empower vulnerable young women and girls, as well as build healthcare capacity in Malawi to improve the country’s response to its severe HIV/AIDS epidemic. The program selects qualified students in extreme financial need, providing them with university education and a bridge to economic empowerment, gender equality, fulfilling careers as nurses in Malawi’s critically under-staffed public health sector. The ripple effect of training a nurse in Malawi is profound:
She and her extended family are lifted out of poverty.
More than two-thirds of participants report using their stipends or salaries to provide for younger siblings, including making sure they can stay in school.
Her nation’s health system is strengthened.
Each GAIA nurse graduate will provide high-quality care to approximately 300,000 patients over the course of her career.
She is a role model to her community, especially disadvantaged girls, of what is possible with an education.
In addition to receiving comprehensive support — including tuition, a modest living stipend, essential materials and supplies — one of the key distinguishing elements of GAIA’s program is our ongoing follow-up and support to help the girls overcome challenges of staying in school and transitioning to careers as nurses. These young women often have faced huge obstacles in order to pursue an education, including caring for and supporting younger siblings, heading orphaned households, and living in extreme poverty. GAIA program staff checks in with Scholars and with the university regularly to monitor academic progress and coordinate additional tutoring and support as needed. This has resulted in on-time graduation, improved pass rates and improved clinical competency and readiness for practice upon graduation. In exchange, GAIA Scholars commit to work in government health facilities upon graduation, in service of the country’s poorest people, for the same number of years they were sponsored.
“I am also a helping hand to others, because GAIA helped me.”