STAGE (Strategic Approaches to Girls’ Education) will improve access, transition, completion and quality of basic education for disadvantaged girls in northern Ghana by helping out of school children return to education.
Out of School and Missing Out
The Ghanaian government estimates that 650,000 children are not in school. Life in the north-east of the country is particularly tough, with high rates of unemployment and poor access to education for women. The majority of families are subsistence farmers, and rely on their children to work and contribute to the family income. Many simply cannot afford to send their children to school, and girls are instead encouraged into early marriage, childcare and domestic chores.
Those who do attend school struggle to learn well in classes that lack basic materials, suffer from poor teaching quality, and are beset by overcrowding. Many children remain unable to read and write after several years of primary school education. This further disincentives parents from sending their children to school.
Creating a Change
STAGE will build capacity of people at all levels of the Ghanaian education system to drive their own development and create sustainable improvement, lifting girls, and their families, out of poverty.
Out of school girls will be invited to attend special community-based classes, at times and locations that suit them, with focused work to catch-up on lessons. These classes will also provide vocational training and increased life skills lessons, such as in financial literacy and sexual and reproductive health. Link will encourage girls to participate in existing women’s interest groups and youth associations, making them more aware of their rights and connecting them into community support groups. Girls will then follow one of two pathways, either reintegrating into the school system or going on to gain employment.
Community Oversight Committees will be established and trained to support these non-formal education opportunities and to ensure the entire community understands the importance of helping these vulnerable children. Advocacy for girls’ rights to education will be grassroots led, with a focus on inclusion that will make schools accountable to every child in the community. Concurrently, teachers will be trained on female-friendly and inclusive teaching methods, and school management trained to develop strategies to support girls to attend school. This will help ensure girls learn in a safe and welcoming environment when they return to class.
STAGE will use the Washington Group Child functioning questions to identify girls with disabilities, understand the barriers to girls’ inclusion and also suggest ways of removing these barriers through appropriate community awareness campaigns and sensitisation.
Project supported by UKAid