Trigger the Girl Effect in Afghanistan

by BRAC USA
"I am no longer ashamed because I do not know."
"I am no longer ashamed because I do not know."

In Afghanistan, it is estimated that only one in three girls will complete her primary education. This project set out to empower women and girls by triggering ‘the girl effect’: training female teachers, creating safe spaces for adolescents, and educating primary school girls who otherwise would not receive an education.

With your support, BRAC has made great progress to create opportunities for Afghan girls. With help from funding partners, BRAC has created 1670 community based girls’ schools and enrolled more than 50,000 marginalized girls. This is no small feat. In many Afghan communities, one of the biggest challenges girls face is mobility. To go to BRAC schools, girls don’t have to leave their villages, which helps minimize the security threat and calms worried parents. In addition, BRAC teachers foster creative thinking through modern pedagogies to teach language, literacy, numeracy, science and religion. In a region where rote memorization is usually the norm, these colorful, cheerful schools foster early childhood development and playful learning.

To help adolescents who have dropped out of school, BRAC has a stipend program as well as a peer-mentoring program to give girls support and education opportunities. By the close of this project, BRAC will provide stipends to 6,000 girls who have dropped out of school so they can re-enter government schools. BRAC has already trained 4,000 mentors who each run a girls' club that creates a safe space for adolescents to learn about health issues and life skills.

One of the biggest successes BRAC had this year was a storytelling competition for girls from its primary schools. The aim of the competition was to foster students’ communication skills, enhance public speaking skills, develop positive reading habits and improve students’ awareness about personal health and hygiene, history and culture. The event was a huge success.

“We are committed to the Afghan people and international community to provide education for those who do not have access to education, and this project is one of them,” said Mr. Ghulam Jelani Hamayun the deputy minister for Academic Affairs of the Ministry of Education of Afghanistan.

See the attached link to read more about the storytelling competition.

BRAC is grateful to supporters for providing opportunities for Afghan girls eager for an education.

Links:

Girls in Afghanistan classroom
Girls in Afghanistan classroom

At the UN General Assembly in September, actress Emma Watson, known worldwide for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, gave a speech that has now received over one million views on youtube. Her campaign HeforShe targets men specifically and asks them to be partners in decreasing gender discrimination.

Engaging men to champion women and girls’ rights is a key component of BRAC’s education programming in Afghanistan. In rural areas, girls’ access to education is less than any other country in the world. Sixty percent of the country’s 4.2 million children out of school are girls. BRAC schools in Afghanistan currently have 9,877 boys and 110,770 girls enrolled, with both male and female program staff and teachers, and engages with both parents as part of a concerted effort to decrease gender discrimination in schools. In the coming school year, with your help, BRAC will expand its programming to two new provinces, trailblazing the way for girls, with male community leaders and fathers as partners.

Some of the major obstacles to girls' educational attainment in Afghanistan are long distance to schools, lack of security, conservative attitudes towards education and restriction on girls' mobility, poverty, male preference, lack of female teachers and the widespread custom of marrying girls at a very early age.

Creating girl-friendly learning environments is one of the main ways to address these barriers. BRAC's method is to establish schools within isolated communities to eliminate long, insecure travel, and to recruit and train local women as teachers. When schools are close-by and classrooms are run by women, parents are more inclined to allow their daughters to go to school as they perceive less risks for thier girls.

As mentioned in the last report, we have already begun recruiting and training local, female teachers to staff the community-based schools that we have established. We have also provided training to nearly 1,000 government school teachers, 334 of which are female. We still need your support to establish the Adolescent Learning Centers (ALCs). The ALCs are meant to be an educational space for adolescents that have been left out of the educational system, and our goal is to provide students with life-skills and livelihood training. Please make a donation today!

One of the winners of the mathematics competition!
One of the winners of the mathematics competition!

After 12 years work establishing an education program in Afghanistan, BRAC was able to organize a country-wide mathematics competition in which 17,840 male and female students from 600 BRAC schools participated. Out of the 17,840 students, 14 competitors advanced to the national level and received awards including the student pictured above.

The month long competition ended on March 16, 2014 and the awards ceremony was held at Kabul Paris Hall. The ceremony was attended by distinguished guests from the government of Afghanistan as well as key members of the BRAC Afghanistan team.

The competition was unique that we designed it in a way to increase the confidence and numeracy skills of the students, encouraging the ability to solve complex problems. All students participated in the event were very keen, interested, enthusiastic and lively.

It is within this context that BRAC is currently operating the Education for All project to trigger the girl effect in Afghanistan. We are assisting the government of Afghanistan towards its goals of universal enrollment by 2020 and creating an educational culture that is more girl-friendly.

With help from our other partners, the BRAC Afghanistan team is on its way to meeting the goals that we have set out for this project. So far, the team has established 1,601 of the 4,000 community based schools, including 200 pre-primary schools. The team has begun recruiting and training local women as teachers as well as providing training to teachers and officials in the government school system. Currently, 944 government teachers have received additional training as well as 32 Ministry of Education officials.

The team hopes to begin establishing the Adolescent Learning Centers (ALCs) by 2015. The ALCs will become spaces for girls who have been left out of formal education. By contributing to this project, you are helping to create an environment in which girls education is valued. When a girl is educated, she is more likely to continue education, more likely to delay marriage and motherhood, and she increases her lifetime earning potential. This is the girl effect in action!

 

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Organization Information

BRAC USA

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.bracusa.org
BRAC USA
Project Leader:
Scott MacMillan
New York, NY United States

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