Vocational Training with Upper Grade Girls
In our schools we are happy to report that we have maintained a 98% retention rate in enrollment. Our students are staying in school and the ones who withdraw have only left due to their families moving out of town or a change in the school they attend.
This is a huge success in terms of the impact on child marriage, especially among girls. Our girls are not being removed from school when they hit “marriageable age” around Grade 5 since the families are starting to understand the positive correlation between increased years of girl’s education and future economic gains in the household.
When there is a lack of understanding among the families around the link between increased education among girls and the economic impact, families are stuck in an endless cycle of generational poverty. According to Oxfam, a “lack of education among parents and young people serves to perpetuate the practice, as it is often accentuated by poverty and limited economic opportunity. Girls are less likely than boys to be educated due to the belief that investment in a girl’s education is wasted once she marries. As a result, they lack the valuable and necessary skills to enter the labour market, thus limiting economic progress for themselves and their families.
We have been able to change behaviors around early marriage and girls’ education among families through a variety of methods. By involving our upper grade girls in vocational training the families see them develop useful skills that will lead to income generation in the near future. We have also explained to the families how all the students, upon graduation, will gain entrance into the local government vocational training center where the girls will receive a stipend to attend and skills that will directly contribute to a future income. The families see the benefit in delaying their marriages in order to increase the income of the household.
We have also been working with the girls to understand their rights around forced marriage and education. The girls themselves work hard to advocate within their families on their own behalf and many, if not all, have successfully delayed engagements from becoming full marriages. They report its hard work, but with the help of their mothers they are able to push the envelope and stay in school.
Have a wonderful holiday season and thank you all for your support in this very important work.