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Trigger the girl effect with education

by BRAC USA
Trigger the girl effect with education
Trigger the girl effect with education
Trigger the girl effect with education
Trigger the girl effect with education
Trigger the girl effect with education
Trigger the girl effect with education
Trigger the girl effect with education

Since its inception in 1972, BRAC’s mission has  been to empower the poor, especially women and girls, to achieve their full potential. One of the best ways to do this is through education.

The cornerstone of BRAC’s education program is continuous innovation. In 1985, BRAC developed a revolutionary primary education model: women from the local community were trained as teachers who would lead a classroom of 33 children through an accelerated primary curriculum, completing five years of material in just four.

Our schools have evolved over the past decade, bringing interactive digital learning to students around the world. In 2016, we partnered with the government of Bangladesh and Save the Children to digitize the national primary and secondary curriculums. Seventeen textbooks were transformed into interactive multimedia to create an innovative and engaging learning environment. This digital curriculum is now present in about 10,000 schools, with a target of 65,000 by 2021.

Over the past ten years, we have also expanded our education programs beyond Bangladesh to other countries in South Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa, adapting to each country’s unique context in the process. We continue to use our community-based approach that has been so effective in Bangladesh to reach underserved girls in the most remote areas of these countries.

In Uganda, we provide scholarships, academic support, and mentorship to academically gifted, financially disadvantaged secondary school students who otherwise would not be in school. The program addresses the youth bulge and high unemployment rates in Uganda, which disproportionately affect girls, by expanding access to the country’s top secondary schools and helping graduates secure scholarships to attend national and international universities.

In Liberia, BRAC is one of eight organizations chosen to participate in an innovative public-private partnership funded by the government of Liberia to improve its national education system. BRAC currently runs 33 schools, reaching about 7,600 students in pre-primary and primary grades. We are also helping to strengthen systems and build local capacity to improve learning outcomes.

Thanks to generous donors like you, BRAC continues to develop and implement innovative, contextualized education initiatives to provide a quality education to disadvantaged students, especially girls. We are  grateful for your continued support.

Children at a Play Lab in Tanzania.
Children at a Play Lab in Tanzania.

Despite tremendous global progress over the past decades, girls are still more likely than boys to never set foot in a classroom.

In fact, in sub-Saharan Africa, the average girl will not complete secondary school.

Girls face a breadth of unique barriers that can hamper their education, including attitudes and norms about the role and status of women. And, by the time children begin primary school, most have already formed rigid attitudes about gender by observing their caretakers.

But our 500 Play Labs across Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Uganda, where children ages 3-5 spend the day learning through play as part of an innovative, low-cost approach to early childhood development, are breaking down barriers like these by changing attitudes early on.

Like all of BRAC’s education programs, Play Labs emphasize gender equality as a foundational principle of social transformation. Educated girls are more likely to have decent work and living conditions, delay marriage and families, and have healthier and more educated children igniting a cycle that brings about positive changes for generations.

Play Labs instructors, known as Play Leaders, are young women drawn from our girls’ empowerment clubs in the same communities, which equip adolescent girls with life skills, livelihood training, and financial education.

These women, who have received training in a variety of topics related to gender and girls’ empowerment, involve caretakers and community members to highlight the value of girls’ education and promote play-based, early childhood learning for all children ensuring that caretakers and communities are invested in girls from a young age.

Play Leaders also serve as positive role models for girls, and demonstrate to the community the benefits of investing in girls.

Quality education for girls starts with early childhood. Thank you for helping to ensure that all girls can access quality educational opportunities.

Children sing in a Play Lab.
Children sing in a Play Lab.

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Secondary school student and her mother
Secondary school student and her mother

This summer, hundreds of Ugandan girls in BRAC’s Mastercard Foundation Scholars program spent their summer developing leadership skills through practical internships and participation in a leadership congress that drew students from across the country.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars program, a partnership between BRAC and the Mastercard Foundation, identifies bright young students from low-income families who otherwise would not be able to attend secondary school and provides them with comprehensive support and mentorship. Now in its sixth year, the program currently reaches 1600 young Ugandans in over 100 secondary schools.

Scholars receive stipends for tuition, fees, learning materials, and study trips in addition to comprehensive support services such as academic tutoring, psychosocial support, mentorship, and leadership training. They also engage in extracurricular opportunities, including community service, leadership training, summer internships, and events with alumni of the program.

This year, through BRAC’s wide network of local partners, over 400 Scholars were connected with paid internships in Ugandan businesses and nonprofits in order to develop real-world leadership skills and gain practical experience in their fields of interest — an opportunity that most students in the region, particularly girls, do not have.

As summer came to an end, Scholars from across Uganda were invited to the 2018 Leadership Congress, an annual conference for Mastercard Foundation Scholars that draws local leaders from government, businesses, and civil society. Following the theme Empowering Leaders of Social Good, over 1600 Scholars had the opportunity to participate in interactive activities and workshops and learn from experts.

Scholars heard from Dr. John Muyingo, the Ugandan Minister of Higher Education, and a number of young Ugandan social entrepreneurs leading nonprofits, including Ethan Musolini of Success Africa; Esther Kalenzi of 40 Days Over 40 Smiles Foundation; and Brenda Katwesigye of Wazi Vision.

Girls who attended the Leadership Congress left inspired. “I learned you can use anything you have to impact the life of an individual,” said one Scholar. “You can use even your words to make a difference.”

Armed with practical experiences like the summer internship program and the annual Leadership Congress, more than four in five graduates of the Scholars program transition directly into universities, technical and vocational training, and other tertiary education programs. Others transition into full-time employment upon completion of the program.

Thanks to donors like you, the Scholars program has already reached over 5000 young students, with a particular focus on empowering underprivileged girls. We are so grateful for your continued support of education for girls around the world.

Girls in the Scholars program
Girls in the Scholars program

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Girls sewing at BRAC reading center in Afghanistan
Girls sewing at BRAC reading center in Afghanistan

In the Baghlan province of Afghanistan, 17-year-old Kreshma is one of thousands of girls who were once denied access to an education. Afghanistan’s turmoil in the past decade, as well as a complex history of emphasizing boys’ education over girls’, helps explain why 71% of girls are out of school compared to only 28% of boys.

Kreshma grew up without access to an education. Her family saw the benefit of prioritizing immediate needs like household chores, but saw little value in long-term investments like primary education. Like many girls in her community, Kreshma only knew a future in which she would marry at a young age and join her husband's family.

At age seven, that all changed when community leaders, accompanied by local BRAC staff, met with Kreshma’s family to discuss a new, community-based primary school option for girls like her. Soon, she began attending a BRAC primary school.

But after Kreshma completed primary school, it became too difficult to attend the government-run secondary school much further away from her home. She began staying at home again and doing household chores, but her path to education and independence was not over.

In April 2017, BRAC began a project to address this very challenge and expand access to education for marginalized girls. Its goal is to help girls transition effectively from community-based primary schools into government secondary schools, community secondary schools, or technical and vocational education and training (TVET) centers in Afghanistan.

Kreshma and her family soon learned about the post-primary options offered through this project, including debate, tailoring, gardening, and mentorship training—activities that teach girls self-advocacy and independence to promote their future success. More Afghan girls are choosing to become resilient, self-sufficient women with these resources.

Kreshma has been training in tailoring and business skills for five months, and, when she is finished, she will be connected to microloans to start a home business making clothes for women in her community. Thanks to generous donors like you, Kreshma can choose her own fulfilling and independent future.

Kreshma is not alone in her achievements. Your ongoing support has helped enroll 1,659 girls in 40 TVET centers. In addition, 7,675 girls, ages 11-18 years, have transitioned into 263 community-based secondary schools. And to ensure that girls who enroll are able to stay in school, the project provides a school stipend to almost a thousand families.

Through a wide range of education initiatives in 10 provinces, BRAC is improving the quality of education, enhancing access, and maximizing girls’ self-esteem and leadership skills. We are extremely grateful for your continued support in helping us create opportunity for marginalized girls.

Adolescent girl eager to read
Adolescent girl eager to read

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BRAC students are eager to participate in class
BRAC students are eager to participate in class

Deep in the arid plains of the Sindh province of Pakistan sits the tiny village of Massoo Bhutto, comprised of only 50 houses. Although small in size, the village is a community of diverse cultures.

But this small village faces many challenges.

Most families’ livelihoods rely primarily on agriculture and animal rearing, and the arid climate often leads to inconsistent crop yields and income instability.

The village’s severely underdeveloped infrastructure exacerbates the problem. Most rural homes lack access to basic necessities like sanitation, electricity, and medical facilities.

Particularly shocking is the lack of access to education in the community. Even in a country where only half of children reach the last grade of primary school, Massoo Bhutto stands out. In a village of 600 people, there is only one government primary school with limited resources – and it is inaccessible to many children living in rural areas.

Harnessing the diversity of the village, BRAC has established a new primary school that brings together families from across the community and emphasizes the importance of education for their children, especially their daughters.

As the first organization to reach Masso Bhutto with education services, BRAC has trained female teachers with innovative teaching methodologies that prepare students for their transitions into secondary school and beyond.

Already, the new school has sparked renewed hope for Masso Bhutto. Children who were out of school and vulnerable to drug abuse, gambling, and violence now have a safe environment to learn and grow. In a society where men are often valued above women, girls in particular are being empowered with the confidence to succeed. These educated children will have a transformative impact on their community.

The school in Masso Bhutto is only one of nearly 1,500 schools that BRAC has established across Pakistan thus far. BRAC schools reach more than 40,000 Pakistani students, 65 percent girls. Over the next five years, BRAC hopes to increase this number to one million children enrolled in quality primary education programs across the country.

Thanks to generous donors like you, these education initiatives across Pakistan are making a big impact and supporting the country in achieving universal enrollment and gender parity in primary education. Thank you for your continued support.

BRAC primary school students learn through play
BRAC primary school students learn through play

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Organization Information

BRAC USA

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Sarah Allen
New York, NY United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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