Our Work with Girls and Women
Across many of the communities and countries where we work, girls and women are missing out on the chance to access education.
The status of girls’ and women’s education in these regions is shocking:
- A girl in South Sudan is more likely to die in childbirth than to finish primary school.
- Fewer than 2% of girls in Somalia attend secondary school.
- By grade 5 only half as many girls as boys attend school in Uganda and Kenya.
- Only one disabled woman is educated for every five disabled men in East Africa.
- Fewer than 12% of teachers in Uganda are female, and only 3% in Somalia.
In areas where there is high poverty and decades of conflict, girls face enormous challenges that limit their ability to get the education they deserve. A few of these challenges include:
- Girls face pressure to fulfill traditional roles as housekeepers and mothers rather than go to school.
- High bride prices are set for girls who are ‘kept safe’ at home.
- Early and forced marriages increase when poor families need the bride price.
- Limited available money for education is typically invested in boys and men.
- Harmful practices, such as Female Genital Mutilation, are still being practised in Somalia and some parts of Kenya.
- Schools don’t provide proper facilities, including sanitation facilities, for girls.
- Girls risk sexual assault on the way to school, or from male peers or teachers.
- Continued rape and assault of girls in areas of armed conflict.
The reasons women and girls are missing out on education are complex, but the need is straightforward. Without basic literacy, numeracy or practical skills, let alone a complete education, women are not able to provide for themselves and their families. Denying women and girls education can also prevent them from participating in family and community discussions, which makes it harder to address the attitudes and practices that so negatively impact on their lives.
Creating long term change for women and girls requires addressing the systems and approaches that exclude them from education. We work from community to government level to help women and girls voice their concerns and create cultures that value and support women’s education.
Including Girls and Women in Education
All of our programmes include girls and women, but we also work to address their specific challenges, which include:
- Making schools girl-friendly with proper sanitation facilities and a private, safe place to study.
- Training women in the community to provide mentorship and life skills to young girls, and advocate for girls’ education.
- Providing grants and scholarship to girls to help struggling families and demonstrate the advantage of educating girls.
- Providing accelerated secondary school education so women can graduate and go on to careers such as educators and health care professionals.
- Combining literacy and numeracy training with vocational skills to combat the extremely low female literacy rate.
- Ensuring learning resources, exam content and curriculum do not favour boys over girls.
Women and girls deserve education just as much as boys and men. Help make sure this happens.