with educational apps as another part of the programme. Experiences are continuously evaluated and used to improve the communication modules. One particular challenge facing the programme is finding enough power to run it, because some of the areas in which the project operates have no mains electricity supply. In these areas, organisers and pupils depend on battery backup systems and solar power, which can be a bit of an issue itself on cloudy days. Then there is the cost of setting up all the equipment needed. This was a concern at the outset, but a partnership between Oxfam and local organisations has developed a cheaper distance learning model via tablet and micro projector. Initially, gaining community support for girls’ education was difficult, as parents were suspicious about the kind of programmes girls were viewing via live telecast. Now, however, we are pleased to say that there is a big demand from the community and the Provincial Education Department to continue the project.
Projects that change lives TONY MCALEAVY Education director, CfBT HIS VIEW
CfBT Education Trust has been awarded responsibility for work in Kenya that is intended to ensure that disadvantaged girls have a chance to go to school. It is part of the wider Girls’ Education Challenge, which is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development. Our project is called Wasichana 24
Wote Wasome, which is Kiswahili for ‘let all the girls read’. The project will start almost immediately and will run for three years. CfBT has been supporting education in Africa from its regional office in Nairobi for more than two decades, and manages all its African projects from there. Most disadvantaged girls are found in one of two areas, typically. The first is the slums of big cities such as Nairobi and Mombasa. In these urban slums there are often only a few government schools. Desperate parents are obliged to send their children to private schools and many children do not go to school at all – there is a disproportionate number of girls out of school.Those who do go to school often receive a very poor education. The other context is the remote rural areas where girls often face long and dangerous journeys to schools. Going to school is transformative, especially in low-income countries. School attendance increases the chances of success in later life in such key areas as income and health. Although the main beneficiaries are girls and women, boys and men will also benefit from an emphasis on the importance of school attendance and school quality. To achieve sustainable change it is necessary to change attitudes. In particular, we need to persuade parents that it is important to ensure that their daughters go to school. The barriers are complex: cultural, economic and practical. If we address these barriers we are confident that we can bring about lasting change. Projects like this change lives and we intend to reach out to nearly 100,000 girls. Our confidence in the likelihood of success is grounded in evidence and experience. In a previous project we know that we succeeded in empowering girls in Kenya so they were more likely to say no to unsafe sex and thereby reduce the chances of HIV-Aids infection.
BEHIND THE HEADLINES GIRLS’ EDUCATION
Promoting social justice DOORTJE BRAEKEN Senior adviser, Nepal, International Planned Parenthood Foundation HER VIEW
Girls’ education is a core concern for everyone working to bring about long-lasting change for people around the world. It is a way to improve gender equality and support empowerment, but it goes much further than that. Education helps to break the cycle of poverty that is apparent through generations of families. For example, it helps families to earn a living and send their children to school instead of sending them off to work. In 2001, 15 out of every 100 people aged between 15 and 24 in developing countries were still
LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2013
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Leadership Focus March/April 2013