The Problem: India is home to about 3 million eligible yet out-of-school girls and female literacy rates barely reaches 60%. Severe gender-based discrimination and regressive societal norms, especially in rural areas, keep girls out of school and are factors for high dropout rates.
Educate Girls’ programmatic intervention is tackling the issues revolving around girls’ education at the very root by setting up a holistic, community based program model focused on improving the Enrolment – Retention – Learning cycle of every child in the educationally backward districts in which it operates. Activities include:
-Activities for Enrolment: Training commmunity volunteers (Team Balika) and field staff who carry out activities to identify and enroll out-of-school girls into school
- Activities for improving Learning outcomes: In its effort to improve the learning levels in schools, Educate Girls has initiated a Creative Learning and Teaching (CLT) methodology. Team Balika and Field Staff are trained by Educate Girls to conduct 12-week long CLT sessions in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades, that are activity-based learning methods and are designed to complement the regular curriculum in schools by making learning a fun and interactive experience.
-Activities for Retention: Educate Girls' field staff and Team Balika provide trainings to the school governing body - School Management Committee (SMC) regarding their roles, responsibilities, rights and entitlements as specified under the RTE,2009. This helps raise the quality of school governance, quality of teaching and girl-friendly infrastructure in schools resulting in higher retention of girls in schools. Educate Girls also facilitiates the formation of Bal Sabhas (Girls' Councils) in upper primary schools, that gives girls a leadership position in their schools and provides them trainings in life-skills such as communication, decision-making, and problem-solving.
-General Activities - A number of activities aimed at mobilizing local community support for girls' education, increasing involvement and capacity of communities in school management contribute to the three primary outcomes of Educate Girls' program - Enrolment, Learning and Retention.
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CEI approaches in action
Educate Girls targets the most marginalised girls in the most rural and remotest parts of educationally backward districts where it operates. In order to reach out to these girls, Educate Girls relies on its 4,500+ vast community volunteer base called 'Team Balika', who help implement the Educate Girls program in their respective villages. Each village has a Team Balika, who is typically between 18-25 years of age and the most educated youth in her/his village. Being the most educated and belonging to the local community, Team Balika have a strong influence on their community by both being a role-model as well as the voice of Educate Girls on the grass-roots.
Educate Girls started with a pilot in 50 government schools in 2005.The project was launched under the umbrella of the Rajasthan Education Initiative (REI). After successful completion of the test phase, Educate Girls was independently registered in 2007 and won government approval to start a pilot project in 500 schools in 2007, working with 70,000 children of Pali district. It has now metamorphosed into an 12,000+ school program spread across over 8,000+ villages in seven districts of Rajasthan namely, Ajmer, Bhilwara, Bundi, Jalore, Jhalawar, Pali, Rajsamand,Sirohi, Udaipur; and Jhabua district in Madhya Pradesh.
By 2018, Educate Girls aims to scale operations to 16 educationally backward districts across India, reaching out to almost 4 million children annually. A detailed study of districts that are educationally backward has been conducted to ascertain the maximum need for intervention and opportunity for Educate Girls. Based on the research, Educate Girls next phase of expansion includes districts in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
Monitoring & Evaluation
Educate Girls’ rigorous Monitoring & Evaluation system provides regular feedback in order to allow course correction, changes in service delivery and implementation strategy.
1. Block Impact Officers conduct qualitative and quantitative monitoring of program activities including validating field data on a monthly basis and conducting interviews with girl students, teachers, parents, School Management Committee members, and other community stakeholders. Field staff and Impact staff conduct structured assessment of field activities using a survey developed by EG’s M&E department.
2. Data based on Right to Education Act compliance is tracked on a quarterly basis. This data includes indicators around enrollment, attendance, learning, school infrastructure and facilities, teachers, as well as qualitative indicators such as student and teacher attitudes.
3. Mobile tracking: Educate Girls’ partner Lionbridge Technologies has helped develop a standalone application on Android OS for tracking the movement of field level employees and data collection. In phase 1, this application registers the location and time via GPS which is validated by the time from server, enabling real time monitoring of employees to verify work plans and expense claims. Phase 2 registers village & school level information which reduces time and eliminates human errors during compilation.
4. Progress reports: M&E department collates the information, verifies it, and sends a report to the state and head office, which is disseminated to stakeholders.
Our M&E gauges programmatic excellence and identifies where a village needs more support by the following methods:
* Village Profile Survey that gives proper understanding about conditions of the villages
* School Information Survey: baseline & endline surveys to assess improvement in schools
5. Pre and Post-tests of CLT
Educate Girls conducts pre-test before CLT handholding and after 3 months, a post-test to assess improvement in learning levels.
* 100,000+ girls enrolled since inception (statistic as of 2015).
* 500,000+ children exhibited improved learning outcomes since inception (statistic as of 2015).
* Educate Girls spends $400 per school (1.7% of what the government spends per school).
* Educate Girls recorded a 94.3% retention of girls enrolled.