Link Community Development

Improving the quality of education in Africa

Rwandan Girls’ Education and Advancement Programme 2

We are taking a holistic, partnership-based approach to improving educational experiences and raising achievement for girls in rural Rwanda. By improving retention, enrolment, quality, governance and budgeting of education, the project will support girls in particular (as well as boys) to move up through the education system and into sustainable employment and livelihood opportunities. 

Partner: Health Poverty Action (HPA)

Date: October 2017 – January 2021

The Challenge

With strong political commitment to gender parity, Rwanda is ahead of other countries in the region in promoting gender equality in education, with gross enrolment ratios of 144 far above the 101 average for Sub-Saharan Africa (UNESCO 2011).  Generally, throughout Nyaruguru, at the primary level girls’ enrolment is around the same as that of boys, but at secondary level, girls tend to be admitted to lower quality schools, and each year around 7.5% or girls drop out (MINEDUC 2014). In 88% of the schools which will be targeted by this project, boys performed better than girls in the 2016 national examinations.

Girls face a number of challenges to staying in school and learning effectively. Generally in Nyaruguru, girls’ education is considered less important that boys’, as parents, boys and girls themselves believe that boys have more income generating opportunities than girls when they complete school, and instead families value girls’ roles in domestic chores, marriage, and child-bearing. 

Teacher performance can exclude, discriminate against or pigeonhole girls, limiting their learning and participation. In the target schools one third of teachers are unqualified and when the language of instruction was switched from French to English teachers received only 2 months of English training, leaving many without the skills and confidence to teach effectively. The availability of reading materials in Kinyarwanda and English is also very limited. 12% of target girls have never read any document apart from notebooks and textbooks, while 36% have read the bible as well.

Community capacity to monitor the quality of education and hold schools accountable for performance is also limited. While Parent-Teacher Associations in 85% of target schools have plans to make schools more girl-friendly, they lack strong knowledge about literacy, child/gender-focussed pedagogy, and developing and monitoring School Improvement Plans and budgets.

Project Aim

The Rwandan Girls’ Education and Advancement Programme 2 will improve the life chances of marginalised girls in 28 poor and rural schools in Nyaruguru District. By improving retention, enrolment, quality, governance and budgeting of education, the project will support girls in particular (as well as boys) to complete a level of education and transition to the next stage of education, to TVET, or employment / livelihood opportunities.

Link is one of three organisations working in partnership with Health Poverty Action to achieve these aims.

Project Activities

A School Performance Review and Gender Audit process in 28 schools. This will enable stakeholders to develop and achieve evidence-based School Improvement Plans which improve the quality of education with a particular focus on improving learning outcomes for girls. Link will work with the Rwanda Education Board to develop a standard set of indicators which will be used to measure school performance in terms of teaching and learning, leadership and management, community engagement and school governance, and gender responsiveness. We will build the capacity of district (sector) education staff to assess schools using these indicators, and support schools to share the results with parents and the wider community in order to plan for whole school improvement and meet the needs of the most vulnerable girls.

Community Study Clubs in 75 communities. These after-school groups will use fun, participatory, game-based exercises focused on Kinyarwanda, English and Maths to raise the learning outcomes of girls (and boys). Volunteers from the community will receive training to organise and run these clubs. Learning materials like posters, educational games and stories will be made out of locally available materials (e.g. rice sacks, cardboard, bottle tops) by community volunteers, ensuring local ownership, sustainability, cultural relevance and gender sensitivity of the materials.