To mark eight years of the FCDO and USAID-funded Steps Toward Afghan Girls’ Education Success (STAGES) programme, Aga Khan Foundation UK hosted an online conference on 31 March 2021 on the topic of ‘Girls’ Education in Fragile Contexts’.
In 2013, a coalition of charities and foundations led by Aga Khan Foundation and funded by UK Aid came together to establish STAGES. In Afghanistan, a country where 2.5 million girls are out of school, the goal was to support over 200,000 girls get to school and stay in school for longer. All ages of girls were provided support from primary through to secondary and continuing education with many graduates going on to become teachers, thereby supporting the sustainability of this education programme. Recognising the role that local communities, religious leaders and fathers can play in the success of a girls’ education programme, these became essential stakeholders in its success.
Watch the full recording.
The conference brought together the programme’s key stakeholders – the Afghanistan Ministry of Education, FCDO, USAID and the STAGES consortium – to share learnings, discuss ways in which these could be applied to other contexts, as well as explore future pathways for girls’ education in Afghanistan and other fragile contexts. Amongst the very notable speakers was Her Excellency the Acting Minister of Education for Afghanistan, Ms. Rangina Hamidi, and Ms. Alicia Herbert OBE, Director, Education, Gender and Equality and Gender Envoy, at the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
“It is my utmost personal priority to enable the future girls in Afghanistan to be able not just to fill positions, but to become active citizens and decision-makers in their societies at whatever level they decide.”
Her Excellency the Acting Minister of Education, Ms. Rangina Hamidi
Ministry for Education, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
The STAGES partners also came together – following on from a day of virtual workshops – to discuss some of the challenges of delivering this programme, from the complications of COVID-19, to ensuring gainful employment followed education, to the importance of engaging with men and boys in the community in support of their women and girls.
The day not only delivered some inspirational speeches from the many keynotes involved, but it also reinvigorated partnerships all round. as calls for continued funding into this important topic were roundly welcomed.
Steps Towards Afghan Girls’ Education Success (STAGES) is AKF’s largest girls’ education programme globally. AKF is proud to work with a consortium of partners to implement this programme which includes CARE, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, Aga Khan Education Services, and the Afghan Education Production Organisation (AEPO). It is supported by the Afghan Ministry of Education and funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.and USAID.