Girls' Education Challenge

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Fully supported by the UK’s Department for International Development, the Girls' Education Challenge (GEC), launched in 2012, strives to help up to a million of the world’s poorest girls to have an opportunity to improve their lives through education.

The GEC is disbursing £300 million to 37 individual projects across 18 countries. These projects were selected through an open and transparent process and assessed for their ability to implement new and effective ways to get girls into school, keep them there and make sure they receive a good quality education in ways which are sustainable beyond the GEC funding.

The GEC projects were selected under 3 funding windows:

Step Change: scaling up successful interventions that are already having a positive impact

Innovation: applying new interventions such as technological innovations, developing new partnerships, adapting proven solutions for new geographies, communities or age groups

Strategic partnerships: creating new partnerships with the private sector including: Discovery Communications, The Coca Cola Company, Avanti Communication and Ericsson.

The GEC projects and partnerships are implementing a diverse range of interventions to provide girls with access to education, materials, safe spaces to learn and a ‘voice’. They are helping to mobilise and build capacity within governments, communities and schools, training and mentoring teachers, governers and community leaders. Projects are targeting marginalised girls, disabled girls and migrant communities, with more than half of the target group living in high-risk and conflict-affected environments such as Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan.

On 7 July 2016, the Secretary of State for International Development announced £100 million of further funding for the Girls’ Education Challenge. This provides an exciting opportunity to continue the work which supports some of the world’s most marginalised girls and to stretch the ambition to ‘leave no one behind’. Details of the application process will follow.


Funding Priorities

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Range of typical investment size: 
$500,000-$1 million
$1 million and up
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Most are for 2-3 years of guaranteed support
Size of overall portfolio: 
$100 million and up
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Step Change Window: 15 programs were awarded funding of up to £30 million

Innovation Window: 20 programs have been selected to move to the inception phase. Subject to approval, they will then move to implementation and receive funding of between £250,000 and £2 million for the most innovative, effective and well evaluated pilot projects that support marginalized girls to succeed in their education. 

Additional Programs funding: 
  • Community Based Education for Marginalised Girls in Afghanistan
  • Steps Towards Afghan Girls’ Education Success (STAGES) 
  • Democratic Republic of Congo: Valorisation de la Scholarisation de la Fille  (VAS-Y Fille!) 
  • Realising Educational Potential for Marginalised Girls in Sierra Leone
  • Somalia: Educate Girls, End Poverty 
  • Somalia: Kobcinta Wazbarashada Gabdhaha




Supplementary documents

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Case study source: