Girls’ Improved Eductation Access & Retention in Schools in Rural Areas

The project is about improving and increasing girls’ access to education and retention in rural schools where school drop-outs is very high. The drop-out rate from grade one to grade nine is about 50% to 90%. Hence, girls are highly disadvantage and hence ultimately this affects them when they become women to participate in decision-making, development, and such suffer infringement of their rights due to lack of education and knowledge about their rights. This is a serious problem. Therefore, the focus is to look at appropriate ways to increase girls’ access and retention in schools thereby reducing drop-out rates to about 10-20% from grade one to grade nine.

The Problem
Most of the schools we are targeting in rural areas are made of pole and mud structures. Most catchment areas where these primary schools are located have no secondary schools nearby for easy access and progression from primary education to secondary education access for children that make it to secondary level. While walking distances for children at primary level are long (ranging from 5 km to 10km) this becomes worse even unattainable when they make it to secondary level education where the distances range from 10km to more than 50-100km.  Some few lucky primary schools may fall within a radius of 5-10km of the location of the very few secondary schools. While access to secondary schools is hard for rural children especially girls, the learning periods for pupils already at secondary schools are shorter than normal learning periods due to over-population due to limited classrooms accommodation. The other challenge comes when selected pupils for grade ten have to travel to very long distances to where they can access secondary education where they source for their own accommodation to rent. This makes pupils who come from very far very vulnerable, most specially girls, who sometimes end up being pregnant, and this hinders their secondary education. They are vulnerable as nobody looks after them while at such schools. They have to carry their own food for a period of three months. Some female pupils once pregnant end up in illegal or unsafe traditional abortions, which have led to many deaths among school girls. This is so because during the course of the term they end up going out with men who will give them money in return. Sometime take advantage of these girls vulnerability.

Some girls are forced to go into early marriage as most of the parents are illiterate. They do not know the importance of education. After the initiation ceremonies parents see it worthy for a girl to go into early marriage than school because to the parents (due to poverty), dowries are sometimes a source of money than an education expenditure whereby they come back pregnant, because of men that have taken advantage of them whilst in school. Therefore the tradition in most rural areas is that when a girl child reaches her menstruation circle, she undergoes an initiation lessons for one or three months then they are ready for marriage. They see it as a loss for a girl to continue with her education far away from their home whereby they end up pregnant than to get a dowry as a source of their money. For example at one school enrolment is around 70 pupils in grade one. The enrolment of these pupils takes into consideration the education of girl child. Hence the enrolment is mainly 50% boys, 50% girls. Now when the girl child reaches these initiations ceremonies that is around grade five and grade six the number of girl child drops by 50% (from 35 to 15 girls) the time they sit for grade nine examination only 20% (about 5-7) or less that manage. For secondary education it’s a non starter for the girl child in remote rural areas.

Most of these areas are facing high illiteracy level among women because education is limited to them and during the time when they were girls. Empowering women is starting doing that at an early age. As girl child starts grade one in schools, the number is high but decreases as they progress to high level of education.

This is due to following reason:

  • Early pregnancies
  • Early marriages
  • High immorality activities
  • Bad initiation activities
  • High poverty level
  • Long distances covered to schools
  • Ignorance  about the benefits of education by the girl child
  • Lack of entertainment among youths
  • Inferiority complex among the girl child
  • Lack of role models
  • Lack of exposure

The following shall be some of the interventions through this project:

  • - Sensitization of the people in the targeted rural areas so that they can acquire the knowledge on the benefits of education and its importance. (This will be done through drama, cultural groups, sports, meetings, etc.
    - Implementation of the Home Based Education System linked to schools and secondary schools
  • - Empowering some poor so that they are able to educate their children within their own environment and from their own resources.
  • - Promoting school re-entry programs so that those that dropped out of education due to pregnancies and are single parents will be able to complete their secondary education. (through GCE)
  • - Sensitization of parents and guardians against early marriages
  • - Introduction of girl sponsorship programs to increase girls’ access and retention in schools

Potential Long Term Impact
On the long term basis, the project will help in imparting knowledge and appropriate information to the targeted rural communities on the role and importance of education and on also the right to education. This will also help such areas to develop and to stop bad cultural practices. Ultimately, it is expected that there shall be more girls accessing education and hence empowered women and girls in rural societies where women are disempowered due to lack of education and some traditional/ cultural practices & beliefs.


  • Sensitization programs and campaigns
  • HBE systems for 40 rural primary schools (Education Reach out Program)
  • Learning & Study materials, pens, markers, flipcharts, flip stands, A4 plain papers for HBE systems
  • 40 Education Electronic Tablets for rural schools (one per school)
  • 60 Bicycles for Education Reach out to far places from rural schools
  • Schools Income Generation Activities (e.g. school gardens) for sustainability of the HBE systems

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