Project: Advancing Girls Education – Class of 2023
School for Life Foundation Australia has received a 100 Women grant for learning materials, workshops, girls mentoring and wellbeing, student programs, menstrual hygiene management and food, nutrition and healthcare services to the .
The Advancing Girls Education project is designed to provide education, wellbeing and support activities for a class of 50 girls transitioning from primary school into their first year of high school and boarding in Mpigi Region, rural Uganda in 2023. Education keeps girls safe from unwanted pregnancy, child marriage and child labour. Educated girls lift themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty.
Who is School for Life Foundation Australia?
School for Life Foundation empowers rural communities in Uganda to help themselves and to create their own opportunities. To do this, it builds schools to provide communities with quality education (primary and secondary), vocational training and other services – such as employment and healthcare solutions. School for Life Foundation currently educates over 1,000 students and aims to educate 10,000 more in the next 10 years to support their vision to educate poverty out of existence. The organisation recognises that some children, particularly girls, face additional barriers and they work closely with families and local communities to identify and remove education barriers so that children can thrive and succeed.
What project will a 100 Women grant support?
The Advancing Girls Education project will provide high-quality education and care, with targeted support activities for a class of 50 girls, starting their first year of secondary school at Mbazzi High School in rural Uganda. The project will include additional mentoring and monitoring activities to deepen relationships and support and encourage the girls to continue their education.
Who is the project for?
Over the course of 14 months, 50 girls will join the ‘Class of 2023’ and transition into their first year of high school. School for Life Foundation has existing relationships with these girls from their primary school years and through their highly engaged Ugandan teaching and leadership staff. The broader community, an estimated 4,000 people, will benefit from the girl’s education.
Why is the project needed?
In Uganda, only 1 in 5 girls continue to high school, more than 700,000 girls aged between 6 and 12 have never attended school and around half of Ugandan girls aged between 15 and 24 are illiterate. COVID-19 has increased the risk of unwanted pregnancies for young girls, child marriage and child labour. In Uganda, there has been a 22.5% increase in pregnancies among school-aged children and a 15% increase in child labour, particularly impacting girls. Keeping Ugandan girls in school is the best solution to create opportunities for a better, more empowered life. Each additional year of schooling can raise a girl’s future earning power by up to 25%. She will typically reinvest 90% of this income into her own family and she will be more likely to send her own children to school, helping to stop intergenerational poverty. COVID-19 mandated school closures in Uganda, resulted in 83 weeks of learning lost. This project will provide additional learning support to remediate gaps and ensure a smooth transition to the increased demands of secondary education.
Why is Advancing Girls Education the best option?
Keeping Ugandan girls in school is the best solution for creating the prospect of a better, more empowered life. After hearing stories from students and the community how transitioning to secondary school can be a difficult time from an educational, emotional and cultural perspective, the Advancing Girls Education project was designed to include mentoring, wellbeing and health care and menstrual hygiene management, a known barrier to participation in education. Students starting secondary school enter boarding accommodation that provides technology, lighting, hygiene, food and security – important factors to keep girls in school. Most importantly, girls are kept safe and allowed to focus on their education, without the burden of domestic work. Traditional gender roles see most domestic work falling to young girls, undermining their ability to attend school. Students often need additional support to convince their families of the opportunity and benefit they will receive if their daughters stay in school. Workshops are held for the parents and community to educate and raise support for the girls continuing attendance at school.
Why is School for Life Foundation best placed to achieve success?
School for Life Foundation have been operating in Uganda for 13 years with proven success in educational outcomes and higher than average enrolment for girls. They provide an environment that is safe, happy and conducive to learning for the 1,400 students (700 girls) currently enrolled in their schools. They have a high-quality Ugandan team who receive ongoing professional development and who actively share knowledge and learnings with others. School for Life Foundation is building a community around the schools, empowering women, building strong parental participation and engaging boys and men to be a part of the discussion around cultural and societal practices to break down gender biases.
What are the planned outcomes?
The primary outcome is greater participation and engagement for the 50 girls starting their first year of high school. By establishing a specific project for this class of girls, there will be additional investment in emotional and academic support activities to improve their transition and completion rates. Girls continuing into secondary school has broad and powerful societal benefits that extend to closing the gender earning gap and to the equality and empowerment of girls. Reducing the high likelihood of child marriage and teen pregnancy will have a life-changing impact for the Class of 2023.
Are there any notable partners?
The Girls Mentorship and Wellbeing program will be conducted in partnership with Heart Showers, a not-for-profit organisation based in Kampala, Uganda. The Student Skilling program will be conducted in partnership with SAWA World. Both of these organisations are existing partners that School for Life Foundation work with to deliver high quality programs.