The Aga Khan Foundation is proud to continue its partnership with UKAID to deliver one of the largest girls’ education programmes in the world in Afghanistan.
Following Prime Minister Teresa May’s announcement last week that the UK is committing to helping over 1.5 million girls across the world get a quality education, AKF is proud to confirm the continuation of its partnership with UKAID in Afghanistan that will see over 210,000 girls get to school and stay in school longer over the next four years.
The Steps Toward Afghan Girls’ Education Success (STAGES) programme will continue to serve some of the most remote, marginalised communities in Afghanistan by providing access to quality education for girls close to home. The programme, led by the Aga Khan Foundation, is being implemented in partnership with CARE, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, Aga Khan Education Services and Afghan Education Production Organisation with funding from UKAID and additional contributions from USAID.
In a country where 74% of women do not have a formal education, STAGES I (2013-2017) worked to overcome the barriers to girls’ education which explain this high percentage. The project brought together more than 351,000 Afghan people to help improve girls’ education. STAGES I helped educate 135,000 girls and 110,000 boys. It trained nearly 6,000 mostly female teachers and involved over 100,000 community members along the way. Encouragingly, 95% of surveyed girls were still in school at the end of the project.
STAGES II will continue to work in the same 15 provinces as STAGES I, expanding its coverage to Daykundi province. Throughout these 16 provinces, STAGES II will:
- Provide community based education (CBE) classes for those who cannot access formal government school
- Provide Accelerated learning programmes (ALP) for older girls who have missed out on the chance to enrol in primary school
- Support government schools to increase their capacity to absorb more students and foster a girl-friendly, comfortable and safe learning environment
- Link girls to interesting, locally relevant vocational training opportunities
- Continue to build community support for girls’ education, acceptance for girls’ and women’s roles in leadership and decision making
The ‘locally rooted, globally informed’ programme will also work to strengthen systems at local and national levels to ensure sustainable access to education for girls, including the credentialing of female teachers without formal teaching qualifications and supporting female students to attend teacher training colleges. It will also explore alternative pathways for the continuation of community based education after project funding ends, and pilot innovations, such as multi-grade classes, to enable more children in remote areas to access education opportunities.
“The programme will complete the ladder of learning with a focus on employability, teaching skills such as critical thinking and leadership.”
STAGES II will focus on the graduates of the previous programme and aims to improve access to quality education for 210,000 girls. The programme will complete the ladder of learning with a focus on employability, teaching skills such as critical thinking and leadership. This will help create a positive link between education and employment, whereby many graduates will go on to become teachers and role models for future generations. Thus, with graduates more likely to send their own children to school, the impacts of STAGES II have the potential to be far-reaching and impact generations to come.
STAGES is a UKAID-funded project implemented by a consortium of partners including the Aga Khan Foundation, CARE International, Save the Children, CRS, Aga Khan Education Services and Afghan Education Production Organisation.
We look forward to sharing with you the progress and development of STAGES II and sharing stories of those whose lives have been impacted.
This article was written for AKF (UK) by Mkaya Carrigan and Emma Symonds
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