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Youth Engagement

STEM Supporting the Education of Marginalised Girls in Kailali

Duration:
June 2013 - August 2016
Donor:
DFID
Region:
30 secondary schools across 13 VDCs and 2 municipalities in Kailali District
Beneficiaries:
5,438 girls retained with learning outcomes
Budget:
1.7 million GBP
Sector:
Gender-Education-Youth Engagement
Partners:
FAYA Nepal and Empower Generation

Background

In Kailali District, Far Western Nepal (Far West Region), 36% of girls (age 10-14) do not transition from primary to secondary school,resulting in more than 50% of girls aged 15-19 not enrolled in school compared to only 23% of boys1. The Adolescent Experience: Using Data toIdentify and Reach the Most Vulnerable Young People, Nepal 2006, Population Council.Traditional socio-cultural norms which favour girls for domestic and (poorly) paid labour to boost household income, andinvest in boys' education for perceived longer term security reinforce gender-discrimination around access to education. This situation is further compounded by deeply entrenched practices such as providing dowry for girls, a tendency to keep girls socially secluded with limited mobility, and inequitable access to and control over economic assets and property.Dropout rates in the Far West are exacerbated by the economic disparity of households in Kailali District as compared to the rest of Nepal, where the poverty rate is 33.6% whilst the national average is 25.2%2. Poverty in Nepal,2010/11, Central Bureau of Statistics,Nepal. Despite this, only 6% of women are employed in the formal sector and only 11% of land is owned by women3. DFID, Nepal Operational Plan, Gender Equality and Social Inclusion, Annex, 2011. The consequences are very real: not only are girls life chances severely limited,but a whole range of other development objectives - from the individual, to household, to community and institutional and structural levels - are seriously curbed when girls remain uneducated .


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STEM

At the core of STEM is its free girls clubs,created to improve girls' learning and encourage girls who are in school to remain there untilthey pass their School Leaving Certificate (SLC), and also to help those who are out-of-school (OOS) and dropped out in the past four years to return to formal education and remain in school thereafter. Aside from providing academicsupport in Science, Maths and English, and the club curriculum covering Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) as well as Life Skills, the clubs present further opportunities to the girls, acting as private and typically female-only sites for social networking and peer support - a provision which is otherwise lacking in girls' lives.

Girls who have passed their SLC or are OOS and considered unlikely to return to formal education are channelled through STEM into a Step Program which trains them on financial literacy and business skills, and thereafter directs them onto one of two pathways- one being vocational training and thereafter interfacing them with local employers, and the other providing training as sales agents of clean energy products for female entrepreneurs being established under the project.

Further to these activities,STEM is rolling out 2 large scale education campaigns in four rounds per year, entitled 'EGAP', which stands for Educate Girls. Alleviate Poverty. This campaign uses a range of media including radio jingles and talk shows,street dramas, door-to-door campaigning, print materialdistribution, school open days, and a street rally to broadcast messages about the importance, and broader impact, of educating girls.

In order to create a supportive environment for girls' education, several activities are in place: school management committees (SMCs), parent-teacher associations (PTAs), teachers and parents are being trained on a range of subjects from school management bodies' roles and responsibilities, to multi-grade teaching skills, and household budget management.

Schools and communities are being supported to forge agreements which, if girls attendance at clubs and other targets set are met, will entitle them to an EGAP Upgrade Award (typically infrastructure) of their choice which may include water serviced female sanitation blocks, tube wells or drinking water provisions, classroom or playground upgrades,boundary walls and gates,and inverters to manage load-shedding better. Solar lights are being marketed to girls and their families to increase study time and therefore learning outcomes; additional benefits exist however, including providing light for domestic chores, productive labour or social time, reducing household fuel expenses,and protecting both families' health and the environment with cleaner, renewable forms of energy. A large, sustainable revolving fund - the Girls Transition Fund (GTF) - is also being set up so that girls who have vocational training needs and concrete business plans can access funds to start up small businesses or further their education as they transition into adulthood and out into the employment market.



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EGAP MESSAGES


• Educated girls can break their families out of the poverty cycle in one generation, permanently:
- When girls earn an income, they reinvest 90% of it back into their families. An extra year of secondary school boosts girls wages by 15-25 percent.

- A girl with secondary education can bring in 30% more income in her lifetime and have a smaller, healthier and better-nourished family. (UNESCO, 2013)

• Education saves mothers' and babies' lives:
- Educated girls have healthier pregnancies with safer deliveries,and have fewer, better nourished children.(Save the Children, 2013).

• Educated girls have healthier children:
- A child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive pastthe age of 5 years because they are proactive about health care and make more informed choices about nutrition. (UNESCO, 2013).

• Educated girls boost economic growth:
- When a gir1 has knowledge and skills, she can earn a living, provide for her family and save money, boosting economic growth.

• Educated girls protect their environment:
- Girts collect fuel wood and water, travel long and sometimes unsafe distances when these are scarce, and make decisions about how these resources are used at home. When girls are educated, they manage natural resources more efficiently and responsibly, and protect the environment for future generations' benefit. (FAO, 2009).

• Educated girls create peaceful and inclusive societies:
- When girls have a secondary education, they understand democracy better, can participate in politics, and have increased levels of tolerance towards people practicing different religions and speaking different languages. (UNESCO, 2002).

• Educated girls marry later:
- Early marriage leads to early pregnancy,which is the main cause of death among adolescent girls' aged 15-19 years old in developing countries. (UNFPA, 201 2).


1The Adolescent Experience: Using Data to Identify and Reach the Most Vulnerable Young People,Nepal 2006, Population Council. 2Poverty in Nepal,2010/11, Central Bureau of Statistics, Nepal. 3DFID, Nepal Operational Plan,Gender Equality and Social Inclusion, Annex, 2011.



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