For girls who grow up in rural Africa, poor school attendance during adolescence is correlated with advanced sexual initiation, earlier marriage and childbearing, higher rates of HIV and AIDS, and greater risk of domestic violence.
As adolescent girls transition from childhood to motherhood, uneducated women are less likely to value learning, to be aware of the returns of schooling and ultimately to ensure that their children receive an education, making it more challenging for them to break the cycle of poverty.
Our Female Empowerment initiatives inspire primary school girls from some of the most faraway communities in Madagascar and Zambia to believe in their self-worth. We aim to increase the number of primary school girls who successfully transition to, and eventually complete, secondary school. Specifically, the programme objective is to see 70% of female beneficiaries achieve high enough exam scores to advance to top boarding schools. These schools not only have better resources than local government day schools, but they also provide an environment of serious academic concentration and shelter girls from the domestic expectations of their homes and communities
In order to do this, we hold weekly clubs with over 180 girls across 9 schools and focus our activities on building self-esteem, literacy and overall academic performance. In 2021, we revised our Female Empowerment Policy to mandate a three-year commitment from girls, enrolling them in grade 5 only. We are also more closely involving parents in the programme by forming parent committees and sharing curriculum content so they become more engaged with their daughters’ academic and social learnings. Our primary beneficiaries of this programme are the girls themselves; however, we also hold individualized meetings and workshops with 1,100 teachers and parents on the future earning potential of educated women. Moreover, we host community and school-wide activities, through which we indirectly engage 3,500 students and residents on girls’ rights and the importance of female education.