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Advancing Girls' Education
(Afghanistan)

THE CHALLENGE

Fifty two percent of women are illiterate in Afghanistan and the country is regarded as one of the most dangerous to be born as a woman with one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the world (396 deaths /100,000 live births), with 87% of women experiencing at least one form of violence in their lifetime and with limited opportunities given to women outside the family chores. According to UN Women, Women’s participation in the labour force was only 19% in 2016. Sixty percent of girls are not in school. Our achievements in Afghanistan.

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The project

THE BACKGROUND

The program’s innovative approach builds on the experience of Womanity in Afghanistan with the program School in a Box, deployed since 2007 and implemented in 15 public schools for girls in Kabul City, Kabul Province, Panjshir and Kapisa Provinces.

In the period 2007-2017, School in a Box – AGEA has benefitted 33,000 students and 1,100 teachers and schools’ staff by enhancing the quality of the learning environment from primary to the end of secondary school. AGEA’s holistic approach included five key components: teacher training; hygiene education; community engagement; academic and professional career preparation and school infrastructure improvements. Through its intervention Womanity built a conducive learning environment for adolescent girls, and created supportive communities around the schools.

THE OPPORTUNITY

By 2030, there will be an estimated global shortage of 75-80 million medium and high-skilled workers and an oversupply of low-skilled labour. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related jobs are growing 1.7 times the rate of other jobs and pay 33% more than other jobs. The wage gap between men and women is the lowest in STEM related fields. But women are today underrepresented in STEM related jobs, even in locations where they hold an equal number of college degrees.

In Afghanistan, employers rank computer science skills at the top of their future employment needs. A recent survey of 275 ICT companies in Afghanistan (commissioned by USAID) reported that there were 1,174 ICT jobs available for women and one impediment to their employment was the lack of practical knowledge of technology skills.

THE APPROACH

In 2016-2017, based on the market study conducted by USAID, Womanity’s AGEA shifted from the holistic approach to a specific focus on vocational training opportunities to enhance leadership and professional and academic careers of students in higher grades (grades 10 to 12). In 2016, Womanity piloted Girls Can Code; a coding program in two schools benefitting 40 students.

Between 2017 and 2019 Womanity will expand the program Girls Can Code to four schools and complement its offer with preparatory classes in English (in grade 10) and in basic computer literacy (in grade 11), to better prepare students to the Introduction to Coding and Web Development (Girls Can Code) in grade 12 as required by the domestic labour market. The aim of this program is to meet the skills’ gap in Afghanistan’s labour market in ICT, specifically computer literacy and coding, as well as English. The program offers also a internship/job placement service to students.

Equipping girls with this training facilitates their access to academic opportunities and to the workforces of Afghanistan.

The program will benefit a total of 200 students annually.

THE IMPACT 

School in a Box 2007-2016

  • The programme served 15 schools in different locations remote, rural and urban and in particular in Kabul City, Kabul Province, Panjshir and Kapisa; and a population of 33,000 students and 1,100 teachers and school staff
  • 3,702 participants attended training courses (Δ /100 pre and post test scores between 38/100 to 45/100) in 2011-2016
  • 44% of students passed the academic year with a score of 70% or more and 45% of students in grade 10 to 12 obtained a score of 70% or higher in chemistry in 2016 (9% more than in 2015).
  • 58% of students in grade 12 (tutored by Womanity) passed the Board Exam in 2015

Schools were equipped with science labs; computer labs; sport equipment; basic hygiene facilities and safe water and ad hoc infrastructure and maintenance

Girls Can Code|Afghanistan 2016

 Of the 40 students graduated form the GCC in 2016, 30 would like to join University, one to become a teacher, one to go strait to work in IT related fields, three do not know or are unreachable and five dropped-out from he program.

20% of them are or will join an internship program in 2017.

CROWD SOURCING

The Womanity Foundation has two on-going Crowdfunding campaigns to support activities in Afghanistan:

Empower Afghan Girls by Teaching Them to Code

250 Teachers for Afghanistan’s Girls

Every dollar donated will go to fund the “Girls Can Code” program as Womanity pledges to ensure 100% of contributions go directly to the program work. With as little as $5 you can empower 2 girls, so even the smallest donation can make a great impact.

VALUABLE PARTNERS

The Ministry of Education of Afghanistan (2011- on-going), Roshan Telecommunications (2012-on-going), Samuel Hall (2012-on-going), ART Consulting (2017 – on-going), American University of Afghanistan (2016 – on-going), Afghanistan Libre (2011-2014), UBS Optimus Foundation (2011-2015), Vitol (2014), and many other operational partners.

MEDIA LINKS 

A few journals have written about the Girls Can Code project, find them below.

One non-profit’s surprising journey to teach girls how to code in Afghanistan (Mashable)

Meet Afghanistan’s female coders who are defying gender stereotypes (The Guardian)