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    Interventions for Girls Education - Part 6: Increasing Community Engagement

    “I have nothing my daughter can inherit when I am gone.
    I know that not only will education be helpful to her but to her future family.”

    - Mohamed Hamisi Mkavu


    what works girls education

    We continue our series addressing interventions that work in girls education as outlined in What Works in Girls Education: Evidence for the World’s Best Investment [click on the title to download a free pdf of the book!]. The authors present a list of seven intervention areas which are critical to increasing the number of girls who enroll and stay in school:


    1. Making schools affordable

    2. Helping girls overcome health barriers

    3. Reducing the time and distance to get to school

    4. Making schools more girl-friendly

    5. Improving school quality

    6. Increasing community engagement

    7. Sustaining girls’ education during emergencies


    So far we have explored the importance of making schools affordable, the link between health and girls’ education, reducing the time and distance to get to school, making schools more girl-friendly, and improving quality education. This month we look at the role community involvement plays in girls’ education.

    Increasing Community Engagement

    “An important component that is often talked about among practitioners and academics as being key to sustaining the progress made in girls’ education is engaging the community, parents, and especially mothers in the management of a school and its committees. However, because community engagement, outreach, and advocacy are usually part of a larger package of interventions, their effects are hard to disentangle. Moreover, unless community engagement is specifically targeted at improving girls’ education outcomes, studies tend not to discuss its impact on girls specifically.

    Nevertheless, insights into successful community engagement are emerging and help point the direction to how community participation might be harnessed for girls’ education. Successful approaches include explicit agreements within the community to educate girls as well as boys, community influence over teacher recruitment and selection, greater community involvement in and management of school operations, and genuine partnerships between communities and the federal government. Often, local NGOs play an important role in helping to organize such community participation and parent–teacher associations.” - Page 172

    The authors Gene B. Sperling and Rebecca Winthrop cite several programs in Asia, Africa and the Middle East in this section to support their position. Let’s look at a few other programs who engage communities as a central feature of their work to promote girls’ education.

    Family and community engagement is at the root of Room to Read’s success. “Our work with families, schools and communities aims to create environments that support girls’ success in school and beyond”. Learn about their work in Tanzania and their impact on girls education

    Room to Read Tanzania

    Click image to watch


    The Citizens Foundation, a literacy program with an online platform for women and out-of-school girls in Pakistan, was awarded the 2017 UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy and is a great example of community engagement impacting girls education.

    “Schools should serve the interests of the communities in which they sit. All too often however they provide a take-it-or-leave-it service oblivious to the views and desires of parents. The parents themselves are not well-equipped, through lack of knowledge, poverty or low social standing, to make demands on schools.

    Engaging with communities is an important element of any school improvement programme – gaining parental support will help to drive up standards. Typically, this involves creating and working with school management committees, making them more representative and improving their capacity for oversight. The engagement of other community groups to address issues such as girls’ education and out-of-school children is also a crucial element.” - Cambridge Education


    Room to Read infographic

    Click for Room to Read’s 10 Step Journey to a Brighter Future for Girls


    Further Reading:

    Ways in Which Community Involvement May Influence Girls’ Education in Senegal - Masters Thesis

    In Uganda, bringing more children to school by mobilizing communities - Global Partnership for Education




    Next in Let’s Get Schooled, we explore the importance of “Sustaining Education During Emergencies”.



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