Organisation: Global Development Group in partnership with Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF)
Project: Keeping Girls in School: Removing Barriers to Education for Cambodia’s Poorest Female Youth
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Requested amount: $20,000 from a total cost of $115,000. This grant will be used to fund education supports including books, resources, uniforms, equipment and transport.
Overview: This program aims to support 136 disadvantaged girls to access secondary education at CCF’s Toul Ampil School.
Who is the organisation and what is their mission?
CCF was founded in 2004 as a registered charity with a vision to lift the community of the former Steung Meanchey landfill out of poverty, through the provision of education, family support and community development programs. A notorious former refuse dump, Steung Meanchey is home to slum communities where many of Phnom Penh’s most impoverished children and families live.
CCF operates six primary and secondary schools on the fringes of Steung Meanchey. Toul Ampil was established for at-risk secondary school aged children and youth, the school has 270 students, 58 per cent of whom are female.
What is the project that the 100 Women grant will support?
The Keeping Girls in School project aims to provide 136 girls with access to secondary school education at CCF’s Toul Ampil School for the 2020 to 2021 academic year.
The project will include:
- Preparing and enrolling girls into CCF’s Toul Ampil school;
- Providing uniforms and study materials;
- Providing school transportation; and
- Providing 10kg of rice to offset the loss of income from child labour to families of girls who have continued good attendance at school.
This project is part of a larger education program implemented by the Global Development Group.
Who is the project for? Who else will benefit?
This project aims to improve secondary school educational outcomes for 136 disadvantaged girls from the Steung Meanchey landfill area. Enabling these girls to access secondary education will also support their families and communities to break cycles of poverty, creating a community culture where education is valued.
Why is the project needed – what is the need or opportunity that is being addressed?
A major problem identified by CCF is that education in Cambodia does not generate high returns in employment and career advancement, often leading to students dropping out of school to find low skilled jobs. This is more prevalent for girls as there can be a higher perceived trade-off associated with keeping them out of school.
The Chbab Srey or ‘Rules for Girls’ is a traditional Khmer code of conduct for Cambodian women that dictates a demure and subordinate place in society. In 2018, one in seven girls in lower secondary and high school levels dropped out of school, often under pressure to work and contribute to family finances.
The academic year in Cambodia runs from November to October. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused all schools to be closed nationally from March, with none scheduled to reopen until the start of the next academic year in November.
CCF is currently providing hardcopy at-home study packs for students and, where possible, supporting online learning. CCF hopes that keeping girls in the routine of study will reduce the likelihood of them dropping out of school. However, many families facing economic challenges may be choosing work over study for their children – particularly female children.
Why is the solution the best answer to the identified need or opportunity?
Students wishing to pursue higher education within Cambodia must attend a ‘government approved’ school that issues a Cambodian endorsed certification. These public schools are often of a lower quality, with higher quality education only available at costly private schools that few can afford.
CCF’s education program works within the Cambodian public school system, seeking to assist the local system rather than working outside of it. CCF students study six days a week, spending half of each day attending a Cambodian public school and the other half of the day in supplementary classes at a CCF school.
CCF’s research and experience shows that investing in girls’ education yields individual, societal and development gains. Education empowers women and girls, leaving them less vulnerable to violence, exploitation and poverty. By enrolling some of the Steung Meanchey community’s most at-risk girls in the Toul Ampil School and providing them with comprehensive support services, CCF can enable them to excel within the local public school system.
What impact is the planned outcome of the project?
It is expected that the 136 girls enrolled in the Toul Ampil School will have lower absentee rates, lower dropout rates and Grade 12 pass rates higher than the national average, compared to girls in public schools. Based on 2018 CCF data, the dropout rate of CCF senior high school girls was 3 per cent, compared to 14 per cent in public schools. Similarly, in 2019, the Year 12 pass rate of girls at CCF’s schools was 84 per cent compared to 69 per cent in public schools.
CCF expects that income and basic economic and health outcomes of the participating girls’ families will improve over time.
Are there any notable partners or collaborators?
CCF works in partnership with Global Development Group, an Australian-founded non-government overseas humanitarian development organisation that provides comprehensive quality management to allow small NGOs to operate on the ground in some of the world’s most impoverished locations.
CCF has a wide range of partners in its education program that support the development of curriculum and teacher training. CCF works directly with national and international government institutions and Ministries of Education.