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Nov 27, 2017

How Educate Girls helped my daughter learn better.

Anvi is my second oldest child. She is 8 years old. She’s very imaginative and loves telling stories. Anvi, her older sister and younger brother, all go to school.

Initially, my family was resistant to sending my girls to school. We belong to a small, close-knit community where girls are confined to the household. They either go to work on the farms or help with household chores such as cooking, cleaning and taking care of younger siblings. I could not complete my schooling and had to drop out of school as a result of this deep rooted mindset. I did not want that to happen to my daughters. After repeated efforts and persuasion, I convinced my family to allow Anvi and her sister to go to school.  My daughters loved going to school and often talked about becoming a teacher, a singer or a police officer after they completed their schooling.

However, over the course of a few weeks, I noticed that Anvi had started losing interest in going to school. She started missing classes and feigning illness to stay at home.  One morning, I insisted on sending her to school even when she wasn’t “feeling well”. That is when she confessed to me: “I can’t read the books or write the answers to the questions, it’s too difficult, I don’t want to go there anymore!”

It was true. She could only read and write a little bit better than I could. I wanted to help her but I could not think of a solution. Over the next few days, I saw her struggle with her homework. She knew some words but could not read the stories in her textbooks. She barely managed passing grades and continued to avoid school.

One day, I met with Pooja, an Educate Girls’ Field Coordinator. I told her about how Anvi was struggling with school. Pooja spoke with Anvi and tried to persuade her to come to school with her. She told her about a new and an interesting learning curriculum - Gyan Ka Pitara (Repository of Knowledge) which would be taught by Pooja and Educate Girls’ Team Balika (community volunteer), Seema. The curriculum would have all children of Grade 3, 4 & 5 learning numeracy and literacy through picture cards, interactive games and worksheets.  Pooja told her about how her friends were learning new topics through activities and worksheets and how their learning had improved. She convinced Anvi to attend school regularly.

Gradually, Anvi started feeling better about going to school. Her excuses became less frequent. She looked forward to doing her homework. One day, Anvi surprised me by waking up before me. She had her school uniform on and had braided her hair. She was waiting for me to wake up.

“Is everything ok?”, I asked.

“Yes”, she smiled, “I’m ready to go to school.”

“But what about your headache?”, I teased.

“I don’t have a headache”, she frowned.

“Do they have a festival at school? A competition?”

“Something like that”, she said.

When she came home from school that day, I asked her about Gyan Ka Pitara,“Yes! I love the English Gupshup book the most”, she said,”I know so many new words now, I use them all the time when I talk with my friends.”

After Gyan Ka Pitara was introduced in Anvi’s school, her grades improved and she became more confident. She stopped coming up with excuses to stay at home. Instead of getting disheartened with the difficulties she faced in her studies, she tries to find a solution. She is once again curious and excited about going to school.


This #GivingTuesday, gift a child the joy of learning by helping Educate Girls unlock $25,000 worth of bonus prizes and up to $75,000 in additional funds through GlobalGiving by donating on November 28th, 2017 between at 12.01 AM EST and 23:59 PM EST. Also, any new recurring donations up to $200, started on November 28th, 2017 between at 12.01 AM EST and 23:59 PM EST will be matched by Global Giving at 100%. Please consider sharing the link to our campaign on your blogs or social networks, use the tell-a-friend feature on the project page to email your network, or just bring us up in conversation. 

On behalf of the Educate Girls Team and all the children who have been benefited, thank you for all you have done to help our cause!

Oct 27, 2017

Our Journey To Get Every Girl Back To School!

Going Door-to-door to Identify Out-of-School Girls
Going Door-to-door to Identify Out-of-School Girls

This project report is a submission to GlobalGiving's 2017 Fail Forward Contest, where organizations are asked to share a story of when they tried something new that didn't go as planned and how they learned from it. Enjoy!


Established in 2007, Foundation to Educate Girls Globally (Also known as Educate Girls) was founded by Safeena Husain. Educate Girls is a non-governmental organization under Section 8 of the Indian Companies Act, 2013 and 501(c)3 under the IRS. Educate Girls aims to achieve behavioural, social and economic transformation for all girls in India’s gender gap and educationally backward districts. By leveraging the government’s existing investment in schools, Educate Girls (EG) delivers measurable results to a large number of beneficiaries at an extremely low cost and avoids duplication or parallel delivery of services.

Educate Girls has metamorphosed from a 500-school pilot in 2007 into a 21,000+ schools program spread across 12,500+ villages. Presently, Educate Girls is present across 15 districts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in India.

Educate Girls program is focused on improving the Enrolment – Retention – Learning cycle of every child in the educationally backward districts in which it operates. The program aims to usher in systemic reform, bridge gender gap and provide quality education to children.


Previously, in order to form initial projections and to create a roadmap for intervention Educate Girls used a variety of secondary data sets that were readily available. These include the Government managed Census (a national decennial survey, last conducted in 2011), the Child Tracking Survey (CTS – a State level initiative undertaken by a number of States independent of other national surveys) and District Information System for Education (DISE – a State level data set created by the State education department). Based on these data sources, Educate Girls started its programmatic intervention in its initial few geographies.

It was later observed that Educate Girls should not have relied on the secondary data sources as they were outdated, unreliable and inaccurate. Thus, this proved to be not the best choice taken by the organization.

Major discrepancies existed between the various estimates of out of school children in India. The 2011 Census survey data showed an out-of-school figure of nearly 20% for children in the age group 6-13 years, while the Social and Rural Research Institute - India Market Research Bureau (SRI-IMRB) commissioned by the government to carry out an independent survey in 2005, 2009 and then 2014 arrived at a figure in 2014 of around 3%. Few other data sources, showed the rates for out-of-school children between 8-10%.

There are a number of surveys conducted in India but to date there is still no uniform criteria for out-of- school children (OOSC) with the information gathered differing from State to State.

Relying on these data sources, Educate Girls was not able to arrive at a concrete number of Out-of-school Girls (OOSG) in the project geographies.


Given the unreliability of secondary sources it was clear that Educate Girls; need to conduct its own base line survey. Thus, in the year 2016, Educate Girls field staff and community volunteers conducted a massive census like activity called the ‘Door-to-door survey’ that covers all households in each village with programmatic intervention, in order to identify every out-of-school girl.

Field Staff visited each and every household in the educationally backward blocks where Educate Girls operates, to collect data about out-of-school children (OOSC) between the age group of 3-14 years. A data validation exercise is carried out by the organization’s impact team across a randomly selected sample area of 500+ villages to ensure data integrity. In case of discrepancies, data is collected again.

Educate Girls is the only organization after the Government to conduct such a survey at this scale. Supported by the Community Volunteers from the same geographies, Educate Girls field staff conducted the survey during the months of March to August. Each working day the team had a target number of households to visit and conduct the survey. Challenges to this work plan include: the harsh weather (hot summer climate in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh which reached to a temperature of almost 50°C), hilly terrain, scattered settlements. The field staff had to work during the day and often visited a particular household multiple times as the members are often in the field or in the town working.


In the summer of the year 2016 and in 2017, the field staff & community volunteers surveyed over 3 million households in over 9,500 villages across Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Educate Girls identified over 200,000 OOSGs in these project geographies.

These surveys are conducted by Educate Girls own trained field staff and by Community Volunteers who come from the same educationally backward communities where the program is being implemented. Given the independence from government, from the school and the fact that those gathering the data are not from a hired private sector company, Educate Girls enjoys a greater level of trust with the household members and one could suggest a greater level of access is therefore given which one could conclude would result in a greater level of accuracy, particularly related to questions about drop outs, never enrolled children and the barriers to their education.

Post identification of these OOSGs via the door-to-door survey, the field staff convinces the parents and community members of the girl child to enrol her back in school.


Overall since inception, Educate Girls have successfully enrolled over 200,000+ OOSGs back in school. This shows that the decision of the organization to conduct its very own baseline survey paid off and has been helpful in creating future roadmaps for the organization!!

Field Staff Collecting Baseline Data
Field Staff Collecting Baseline Data
The team paints a EG logo outside each household
The team paints a EG logo outside each household
Field team making Educate Girls' logo
Field team making Educate Girls' logo
Survey is an exhaustive process with challenges
Survey is an exhaustive process with challenges
Oct 16, 2017

The Creative Classroom Gets An Upgrade!

Vinita and Varsha are happy to get back to books!
Vinita and Varsha are happy to get back to books!

Vinita* and Varsha* belong to a small village in Rajasthan. During an Educate Girls program implementation, Team Balika (Community Volunteer) Bhojraj saw them in the classroom and the first thing he observed was that both the girls were isolated from the class. They were the girls in Grade 5 who spoke the least, were always huddled together in corners and didn’t join their classmates in studies or play.

Vinita and Varsha both come from families with meagre earnings where both parents have to work in the fields to make the ends meet. They are also, like most of the children in their village, first generation learners. So, when they were struggling with their relatively lower learning levels in the populated classroom they could not depend on help coming from their homes. Furthermore, a lack of teachers in the school meant more number of students from different Grades clubbed together in a single room and more difficulty for the teacher to pay attention to those who might be struggling.

Both Vinita and Varsha found the classroom sessions difficult to understand. They couldn’t answer questions in class, couldn’t form or write words or sentences and were unable to grasp the concepts of basic Math.

But, this scenario changed when Educate Girls started implementing its learning curriculum in the school through the kits called as ‘Gyan Ka Pitara (GKP)’ which translates to Repository of Knowledge. The activity-based pedagogy focuses on building micro-competencies in English, Hindi and Math (children studying in grades 3-5) and has various tools like Cards for alphabet recognition, sight words, word family and conversation flip books, sentence strips, auditory and practice cards in English and Hindi. Number cards, rule cards, number boards and building blocks for place value and operations in Math. These tools are child-friendly, context specific and cater to the needs of most under-served and marginalized children in India. The tools and worksheets are more visual and activity-based in a way that they enhance reception and retention of the information that the child is being taught

Through the GKP kits, Varsha and Vinita are able to learn better. When asked, Vinita says she loves the ‘Gupshup Book’ (Conversation Book) as it has a lot of new information, pictures and she understands more words and their meaning. The ‘Word Family Book’ and ‘Sentence Strips’ are Varsha’s favourite because she says that the break-up of word sounds and the pictures have helped her read better and she’s excited that now she can also read an entire sentence like her classmates. Both girls are easily solving multiplication sums using the ‘Multiplication and Division Board’ and Varsha is now confident that she can read the story books that her elder sister had purchased two years ago, that until now were lying unused at home.

The teachers, and even the Educate Girls staff, are impressed with the tangible difference in the atmosphere and performance in the classrooms since ‘Gyan Ka Pitara’ was put into effect.

The huge progress that students like Vinita and Varsha are showing is further testament to the fact that Educate Girls’ Creative Classroom surely works!


*Names changed to protect the identity of the minors

Vinita & Varsha learning through the GKP kits
Vinita & Varsha learning through the GKP kits
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