Girl wins country-wide mathematics competition!
June 5, 2014
With help from our Catapult supporters, BRAC Afghanistan has been supporting the government in achieving its goal of “Education for All” and increasing access to quality education for girls. We’ve been working with community groups to change traditional views about educating girls and early marriage, recruiting and training female teachers to create girl-friendly learning environments, and establishing schools in hard-to-reach, conflict-ridden areas.
The funding we received from Catapult allowed us to recruit and train 100 female teachers for placement in Community Based Schools, creating girl-friendly learning environments and establishing positive role models for Afghan girls.
In addition, BRAC Afghanistan recently organized a month-long mathematics competition in which BRAC students from the seven provinces of Afghanistan participated. The provincial winners competed at the national level, and in March, 11-year-old Aalia took home the grand prize. That's the girl effect in action!
Risks and challenges
In remote areas, distance to the school house is one of the biggest reasons for low attendance rates, particularly for girls, as it poses a serious security threat. Ultra-conservative ideology also prevents girls from inclusion in the education system, which has been weakened from decades of conflict. Finally, many families object to sending girls to schools that are run by men only. BRAC addresses these issues by placing schools within rural communities and by staffing these community-based schools with BRAC-trained female teachers.
Regarding the mathematics competition: "The competition was unique in the sense that we designed [it] in such a way that resulted in an increase of confidence and numeracy skills, and a flourishing of the ability to think and solve complex problems. It was found that the children who participated in the event were very keen, interested, enthusiastic and lively." – Jalaluddin Ahmed, Country Representative, BRAC Afghanistan
BRAC Afghanistan will continue establishing community-based schools and providing BRAC teacher training to females in the communities. The staff has plans to train local NGO personnel, along with providing education management and planning courses to district education directors to strengthen local capacity.
By sending girls to school for the first time, you can help us create opportunity for thousands of children living in poverty in conflict-ridden Afghanistan.
Why we care: In Afghanistan, roughly one in every five people are of school-age (7-12), the highest ratio in the world. The formal education system still faces major challenges. Girls in particular lack access to education for a mix of reasons, including security threats and a shortage of female teachers.
How we’re solving it: By training and equipping 100 female pre-primary and primary school teachers so more children--80 percent of whom are girls--can attend school and pursue an education.
Every dollar donated to this project is matched 1:1 by BRAC USA.
Afghanistan’s volatile past, including being a tragic playground for numerous international political conflicts, has slowed its progress. Decades of war have destroyed the country’s education system, from which girls were often banned. They continue to suffer threats that prevent them from attending school.
This project will trigger “the girl effect” – the unique value that girls can bring to society when given enabling opportunities such as education.
More than 240,000 students have already passed through BRAC’s “second chance” schools in Afghanistan, and this project would help education 2,500 to 3,000 students. Boys will not be left out of this project, but will instead learn the value of having confident, educated female peers.
Our projects gain the support of local community leaders to ensure the girls’ safety. Due in part to its origins in Bangladesh, a mainly Muslim country, BRAC is able to operate where other groups cannot.
Distance is one of the primary reasons for poor school attendance rates in Afghanistan, especially for girls, who are far more vulnerable to the lack of security. Our one-room schools are located in poor areas, within walking distance of students’ home.
The schools will prepare students to become confident individuals with creative mindsets. Students that have been left behind by the formal education system will be fast-tracked into government schools on an accelerated curriculum, giving them a second chance to shape their country’s future.
The curriculum is adapted to the local context, while also teaching children to think for themselves rather than perform rote memorization. These are some of the features that have made BRAC’s education program so successful, as explained by The New York Times (see article).
Another reason girls often do not attend school in Afghanistan is the lack of female teachers.
Without a female teacher, parents often do not view schools as safe places for their daughters. BRAC will not only overcome this challenge by training local women as teachers, but will contribute to gender equality in the workforce and create new livelihoods for local women.
Help Afghanistan unlock the potential of its children – especially its young girls.