Catholic Women in Nigeria Reach Out to “the boy child” with Scholarship Initiative, Address “long years” of Neglect

Dame Mary Asibi Gonsum. Credit: ACI Africa

Members of the Catholic Women Organization (CWO) of Nigeria are reaching out to the boy child with a scholarship initiative in an effort to address “long years” of neglect. 

In a Saturday, April 20 interview with ACI Africa on the sidelines of a scholarship award ceremony to 12 beneficiaries at Cor Maria Boys College in Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, where the boys are to pursue their studies, the CWO National President in Nigeria explained the positive impact of the scholarship initiative.

Dame Mary Asibi Gonsum said, “We decided to give scholarships to these 12 indigent boys because we need our boys to be educated. Over the years the attention has always been on the girl child while the boy child is neglected.

“We mothers of the Catholic Church have observed that the boy child has been relegated to the back and the boys who have no attention are becoming a menace in the society,” Mrs. Gonsum further said. 

She explained, “We cannot train only the girls and leave the boys without care. The majority of the menace we have in our society such as armed robbery, kidnapping, drug abuse and other societal ills are caused by boys and men because of the long years of neglecting the boy child.” 


The CWO President in Nigeria shared details about the scholarship initiative for the 12 beneficiaries, who are to be enrolled for the 2024/2025 academic year.

She said, “Our mode of selection is transparent because it takes N1.4 million Naira (US$1,219,00) to give scholarship to a child for one year so we picked one boy each  from Sokoto, Kafanchan, Makurdi, and Yola Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camps.”

The beneficiaries from the highlighted IDP camps, Mrs. Gonsum said, “are just based on random selections.”

Beneficiaries identified from Nigerian Provinces undergo “a whole lot of screening, (to) make sure they come out with the poorest of the poor, and then the most intelligent, so that he can compete well with the students here in the city,” she further said.

The board member of the World Union of Catholic Women Organization (WUCWO) representing West Africa thanked CWO members in Nigeria for their sacrifices, saying, “The women have really been trying with their meager resources to make sure that they put in all they have for this project to come to fruition.”

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“It has really not been easy. But I want to say thank you so much to all my women out there, including the men, our husbands, who have supported us financially and also otherwise,” Mrs. Gonsum said.

She urged Nigerian women to “remain prayerful and work hard in this difficult economy of our country.”

“I know that families are not finding it easy at the moment because of the high cost of commodities in the market but we pray for God’s intervention in Nigeria for things to change for the better,” the National President of CWO in Nigeria told ACI Africa on April 20.

Abah Anthony John is a Nigerian Journalist with great enthusiasm and interest for Catholic Church Communication and Media Apostolate. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from Benue State University, Makurdi, Benue State Nigeria. He has vast experience in Print,  Electronic and Multi-Media Production.