Educate Girls is a non-profit that holistically tackles issues at the root of gender inequality in India’s educational system. With a focus on enrollment, retention and learning, Educate Girls aims to provide quality education for all under-served and marginalized girls by mobilizing and leveraging public, private, and community resources to improve access to education and school quality. Educate Girls relies on advanced analytics and community volunteer outreach to provide their services and spread awareness on the importance of girl child education. In order to secure resources, the organization aligns itself with the Indian government’s existing investment in schools. Educate Girls also regularly works alongside multilateral institutions and private companies to mobilize public, private, and community resources towards their mission. It launched the world’s first Development Impact Bond (DIB), in partnership with UBS Optimus Foundation (UBSOF) and Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), in Bhilwara, Rajasthan. A DIB is an innovative method to finance social programs that tie donor funds to agreed upon target outcomes that achieve social impact. Once participants agreed on the desired impact targets and the timeframe, UBSOF provided the upfront working capital through purchasing a bond that funded Educate Girls to implement its work in Rajasthan. Two independent non-profits provided project design and management support as well as evaluation and validation services. UBSOF bore the risk of losing funds it had invested in the bond if Educated Girls failed to meet its targets. But the outcomes were met, triggering an obligation by CIFF to repay UBSOF’s initial investment plus a financial return.
Educate Girls worked alongside government agencies, whilst leveraging the on-the-ground presence of their community volunteers (known as Team Balika) to distribute ration kits that included flour, sugar, salt, soya bean, chickpea lentils, red gram, refined oil, red chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder, and soap for washing clothes and bathing. In addition, to ensure that educational services could continue to be provided to children during the pandemic, Educate Girls initiated a community-based learning program that focuses on Hindi and Math skills through activity-based sessions called Camp Vidya (Camp of Knowledge). They also provided their frontline workers with essentials like gloves, masks and hand sanitizers and disposable bags.
Theory of Change
Increasing girls' access to education through community-level engagement helps provide behavioral, social and economic transformation to improve gender equality.
Educate Girls primarily operates within four states in India – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – and their work targets villages that are challenged by multiple threats of extreme poverty, illiteracy, child marriage, early childbirth, malnutrition, stunting, and deep patriarchy. Their method focuses on increasing enrollment and retention rates as well as improving the quality of education. Educate Girls initiates the process by identifying and then enrolling out-of-school girls through the mobilization and outreach of Team Balika (community volunteers), who work as champions for girls' education in their respective villages. Using a smartphone app, these volunteers can access interview guides as well as collect real-time data, based on which Educate Girls builds its community mobilization strategies, raising awareness of the importance of educating girls and the community level. Once girls are enrolled, the organization implements child-centric Creative Learning and Teaching (CLT) techniques in order to improve learning outcomes. The organization empowers Team Balika to help develop individualized training plans and then engages with school teachers to successfully deliver these tailored curriculums. Educate Girls regularly monitors and tracks progress through Randomized Controlled Trials and third-party evaluations.
Since its inception, Educate Girls has overseen 175,000+ girls enrolled in school with a retention rate of 94%. Through technological intervention and the use of Machine Learning, the organization has identified 5% of villages which cover 40% of India’s out-of-school girls. With a focused approach on identifying these girls, enrolling and retaining them, while ensuring continued learning through its remedial curriculum, Educate Girls has improved learning outcomes for over 1.3 million children to date. Over 250,000 adolescent girls have received life training skills. Educate Girls is currently present in 18,000+ villages with 13,000+ village-based volunteers. Moreover, their Development Impact Bond proved to be a success - surpassing both of its target outcomes: achieving 160% of its learning target and 116% of its enrollment target. During COVID-19, Educate Girls conducted 13,388 Camp Vidyas, which benefited 250,000 children. Additionally, volunteers were able to distribute ration kits to 100,000 households, reaching over 500,000 individuals.