Accelerating girls’ access to a quality education and creating future leaders for Afghanistan.
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.
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.
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.
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.
School in a Box 2007-2016
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.
The Womanity Foundation has two on-going Crowdfunding campaigns to support activities in Afghanistan:
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.
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.
A few journals have written about the Girls Can Code project, find them below.
A competition to find outstanding female students across the Middle East and North Africa
“ The competition being held by Goodwall, the Swiss International School of Dubai (SISD) and The Womanity Foundation is a celebration of the excellence achieved by young females around the Middle East and Africa” said Goodwall, co-founder Taha Bawa. “We believe that talent can be found throughout the world, and we want to make sure that these talented young women are getting the education they need and deserve.”
Across the region, women’s employment is around half of that of men’s. We are trying to change that by supporting girls and women’s access to quality education and vocational training. This includes promoting avenues that give women a voice in society, politics and governance institutions.
Freedom House, among others, reported that women in the Middle East and North Africa are often in dependent positions within the family and subjected to conservative societal norms and that “women in the region are significantly underrepresented in senior positions in politics and the private sector, and in some countries, they are completely absent from the judiciary.” Despite challenges, there are many women paving the way for change by fighting for their right, reclaiming an equal role in society and proposing inspiring projects.
Between 2017 and 2019 Goodwall, the Swiss International School of Dubai (SISD), and Womanity will offer two different Scholarships to female students in the Middle East and Northern Africa who have had a positive and lasting impact in their communities or have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills. We’re looking for role-models who are capable of inspiring others to have a positive impact on their own communities.
In particular, in 2017, the three organizations will award 10 iPads for meriting high school girls and between 2017-2018, they will offer a prize of USD 5,000 to cover the tuition of a university of choice of a young female student. The monetary prize is generously offered by Goodwall.
Starting in September 2018- with the selection process beginning this summer 2017- Goodwall – SISD – Womanity Scholarship will offer a two year full-tuition at the Swiss International Scientific School of Dubai (SISD) for a young female leader in the MENA region. She will be ready to join Grade 11 in September 2018. The two-year scholarship is generously offered by SISD while Womanity and Goodwall commit to secure her a scholarship to join University and continue in higher education afterwards.
“Boarding at SISD allows our school to offer an outstanding international educational to young students from all over the Middle East and further afield. With the help of the Womanity/Goodwall Foundation, the search for an eager and deserving young mind to join our community enables us to have a positive and meaningful impact on the world around us and particularly for the individual and their family” said SISD Founder Omar Danial
To participate to the call, interested candidates have to create a profile on Goodwall. More details can be found here: https://goodwall.app.link/womanity
Goodwall is a positive, inspirational community for young people to connect and get recognition for their talents and achievements. Committed to celebrating student success and rewarding students for outstanding leadership, community service, innovation and top achievements, Goodwall has a fast-growing community of approximately 1M students from 150+ countries and works with top universities around the world.
The Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai (SISD) is a leading international day and boarding school where future generations are inspired to become confident and enthusiastic lifelong learners, ready to embrace the opportunities and challenges of a global world. SISD provides an inspiring, inclusive and challenging learning environment while celebrating academic excellence.
Inspiring and empowering young disadvantaged Arab Israeli women.
“The Teenagers Leading Change program improved my connection with my school. I started to learn seriously and decided to do the matriculation exams. I understood the importance of education, and now I believe I can succeed.” – Arab Israeli teenager and program participant.
Arab women in Israel face major challenges: both as members of a minority group and as part of the more traditional Arab society. Their political representation is almost non-existent and they have few opportunities to be part of any decision-making processes. They remain the poorest, lowest paid, and least educated segment of Israeli society.
The number of Arab girls in Israel who continue to higher studies after completing mid-level education remains very low. This drastically reduces their chances of achieving their full potential, obtaining work, or becoming independent and lifting themselves out of poverty.
“Reaching girls at this influential age can lead to deep-seated transformations in their lives and can change their academic and professional career paths.” – Antonella Notari, Director Womanity Foundation.
In 2008, with the Israeli Women’s Network (IWN), the Womanity Foundation developed the program, Teenagers Leading Change (TLC). This was a unique leadership training course, intended to promote the empowerment and personal development of young Arab women in Israel. Validated by the Israeli Ministry of Education, the training targeted Arab women aged 16 and 17 in the city of Jaffa in East Jerusalem, and in the so-called Triangle area.
The course was delivered by specialized facilitators in 10 weekly sessions. Through role-play, discussion, practical exercises, and lectures, the course examined social inequality issues, perceptions of stereotypes, sexual identity, and other gender-related topics. It provided participants with skills needed to gain confidence, exercise leadership roles, and make life-determining choices, whilst providing a safe environment to share views and feelings about the role and status of women in their communities.
The training took place during school hours to ensure full student participation. Schools selected the classes in which the course was taught, based largely on the number and interest of students.
Womanity worked with IWN to carry out an independent and in-depth evaluation of the program’s impact, especially in relation to changes in attitudes and behaviour among participants. The evaluation considered in-depth interviews and facilitators’ feedback on the groups they led.
The Israeli Women’s Network (IWN)
Supporting underprivileged young Palestinian women graduating from university.
“Entering university had provided me with self-confidence and the ability to deal with other people and to understand their points of view and learn from them. I started looking at life from a different angle that is now filled with hope and enthusiasm for a better future.” – Ghadeer Muzahem, graduated in Accounting from Al-Quds University in 2012 with the support of the Womanity Foundation
In the Palestinian Territories education of women is valued as proven by the fact that it has one of the best female literacy rates in the developing world. Women from poor backgrounds, however, often miss out on the opportunity to pursue higher education. As a result, they have fewer training and educational chances to develop their skills and gain economic independence and remain trapped in poor economic conditions without opportunities to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
In collaboration with the Women’s Studies Centre (WSC), Womanity developed a project to provide financial support to underprivileged young women and cover their university tuition fees. The aim is to boost supported women’s chances of finding employment by helping them to complete courses at colleges and universities.
The women selected must meet socio-economic criteria, have graduated successfully from high school and maintain high academic scores. Representatives from the WSC visit each family before approving a scholarship, follow-up with the academic performance of students and pay directly to the Universities the tuition fees due. A special scholarship has further been established for young girls living in refugee camps.
The annual scholarships covered the costs for one semester per year in order to encourage some funding from the students or other sources.
Since 2009, 21 students have received scholarships for one semester per year, 20 of them successfully graduated.
Of the young women who have graduated, some have already entered the workplace and are involved in careers such as teaching, or as employees in pharmacy, non-governmental organizations and private sector, or are working as volunteers and civil servants. Others have progressed to additional higher education.
WSC were also able to expand the project and fund, with additional sources, an average of additional 55 scholarships every year.
The Women’s Study Centre (WSC)