Educate to Empower
Empowering Local Communities to Improve Girlsʼ Access to Equitable and Quality Secondary Education
August is a special month as India celebrates Independence Day. This year, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi again reiterated the importance of protecting the girl child. At the EGG project schools in the Uttarakhand districts of Udham Singh Nagar (USN) and Haridwar (HRW), tens of thousands of girls shared the joy and excitement of this special day.
In villages where 70% of Indiaʼs population resides, it requires the whole village to ensure that girls are educated. EGGʼs government school reform model encourages school administrators, teachers, parents and the girl students themselves to commit to improving their schools and quality of learning in the secondary schools.
EGGʼs program staff works with School Management Committees (SMCs), Girls Parliament (GP) representatives and Gram Shaksha Sabha (GSS) community leaders to bring together all major stakeholders. Formal and informal discussions are held at meetings to empower the local community to improve the access and quality of girls’ education in their villages.
Udham Singh Nagar District: Sustainability Project (May 2015 to April 2018)
- All 50 EGG project schools in USN have elected leaders for their School Management Committees. 41 SMC trainings were conducted and each SMC developed a Whole School Development Plan.
- At SMC meetings held in August, issues were raised about solving problems with low attendance rates at some schools, deciding on how to use PTA funds and submitting a proposal to the Nestle company for much needed toilet facilities. Major problems faced by girls at the schools were also identified. The top three issues are lack of boundary walls at the schools, insufficient teachers and garbage cans for the girlsʼ toilet areas.
- All 50 EGG project schools held Girls Parliament meetings and EGG staff conducted a business analysis of the GP program. From this month’s meetings, the GP members decided to initiate an action plan to solve the lack of sanitary napkins. Each participant will contribute a small amount of funds to build up a stock and a designated leader will distribute a napkin when needed to ensure girls can continue to go to school.
- In August 2015, 21 GSS meetings were held where approximately 60 dropout girls from different age groups were identified. The primary reason for dropping out is that the girls were needed to manage household chores. Since May 2015, EGG has helped to successfully re-enroll 44 dropout girls back into various schools.
Haridwar District: Two Year Pilot Program (May 2015 to April 2017)
- After three months since the start of the program, all 50 EGG project schools in Haridwar have established a School Management Committee. In August, 26 schools held SMC meetings and trainings. Nearly all (24 out of which 26 schools) developed a total of 115 action plans and five Whole School Development Plans were also produced.
- One of the challenges identified in Haridwar was diversifying the funding sources to tackle many of the issues faced by the project schools.
- All 50 schools held Girls Parliament meetings that were co-organized with EGG staff. At these meetings, the girls raised problems in their respective schools and also made decisions to take initiative in organizing various school activities. Girls are not only starting to take the responsibility of facilitating school activities but also acting as a pressure group to improve the school environment.
- For the first time ever, 58 villages organized GSS meetings, bringing together Anganwadi/ASHA workers, dropout girls, GP members and villagers from the community. EGG introduced its school reform program and objectives, while emphasizing and encouraging the community members to take ownership of improving their schools.
- A total of 180 girls from different villages in the Haridwar district were identified as dropouts. The highest dropout rate came from Muslim communities and Schedule Caste Hindu families.
EGG Successfully Re-Enrolls Dropout Girl
My name is Safeena. I live in the village of Rajpura and study at GHS Turka Goori. Two months ago, my mother prevented me from going to school. She would not agree even after Madame Rewati Joshi came to our house to persuade my mother. My mother started to harass me. Then Madame Deepa from EGG came to our house and tried to persuade my mother and brother. EGG was finally successful in influencing them. Now, I have started going to school again. I am very much thankful to EGG for helping me out of this problem.
~ Safeena, Student
GHS Turka Goori, Udham Singh Nagger