The attitudes and behaviour of parents, teachers and other children have been identified by girls themselves as the key barriers to participation. In addition, teacher training often does not address gender issues or child-friendly teaching techniques, which lead to the marginalisation of girls within the classroom.
By working in a combined and sustainable manner with girls, boys, parents, teachers and other actors, we can improve the retention and achievement of girls in schools and have a wider impact on how far girls’ voices are valued in decisions that affect their lives.
Most ActionAid-funded programmes around the world are working to improve the education of girls in one form or another, and our ground-breaking projects in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Mozambique are helping over 10,000 girls stay in school.
Girls are often denied an education in Nigeria, for reasons which can include the risk of violence, child marriage and the costs involved. Our Transforming the Education of Girls in Nigeria project has empowered girls through setting up girls’ clubs and school-based management committees. These have provided a platform from which they could demand their right to a quality public education, free from abuse.
In Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique, our ‘Stop Violence Against Girls’ project worked on legal and policy frameworks to address violence against girls and resulted in a 50% reduction in violence against girls by family members, teachers and peers in the project areas. The project also helped to improve enrolment rates of girls in the affected communities by 22%, 20% decrease in dropout rates of girls and 14,000 girls reporting having the confidence to challenge the culture of violence in and around schools.
We also developed Making the Grade – a model policy is aimed at the prevention, management and – in the long term – elimination of violence against girls in schools.
Through these and other on-going initiatives we aim to nurture values of equality and justice, to respect the rights of both girls and boys, and ultimately to help all children realise the full potential of education.