Global Education Monitoring Report

Donors differ in level and type of support to gender equality in education

2019 Gender Report

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Credit: UNHCR/Georgina Goodwin

Official development assistance can be a major source of influence orienting country policies towards gender equality in education in countries with unequal norms and wide disparity in attainment and achievement. This section briefly explores the degree of commitment in donor policies and aid disbursements, using official documents and aid project-level data identified through a ‘gender marker’. It then provides an overview of donor projects using information obtained through a questionnaire sent to selected bilateral donors, international organizations and NGOs, which asked them to describe ways in which their programmes were addressing selected key priorities in girls’ education.

AID POLICIES VARY IN THEIR EMPHASIS ON GENDER EQUALITY IN EDUCATION

One way to assess the extent to which donors target their projects and programmes on gender equality is through the Creditor Reporting System (CRS) of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), which has a filter identifying projects with a focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Every disbursement reported to the CRS is marked as: (a) ‘principal’, if gender equality was an explicit objective of the activity and fundamental to its design; (b) ‘significant&’, if gender equality was an important but secondary objective; or (c) ‘not targeted’. Both development and humanitarian aid projects are screened (OECD, 2016). According to this classification, US$4.2 billion, or half, of total direct education aid included gender equality and women’s empowerment as either a significant or a principal objective. Donors allocated nearly 40% of this amount, US$1.6 billion, to primary education. About US$600 million each went to activities related to education policy and management, vocational education and higher education. On average, across DAC member countries, 55% of direct aid to education was deemed gender-targeted, ranging from 6% in Japan to 92% in Canada (Figure 15).

This prioritization broadly reflects the aid policies of the countries involved. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, for example, has established a Gender Equality Fund as part of its gender equality and women’s empowerment strategy (Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2019). Canada has proclaimed a feminist international assistance policy (Global Affairs Canada, 2017). Since 2012, the United Kingdom has invested in two rounds of the ambitious Girls’ Education Challenge initiative, which currently operates 27 projects in 15 countries. Two evaluations praised its focus on gender equality, although they questioned projects’ sustainability and the effectiveness of their links to learning outcomes (ICAI, 2016, 2018; Coffey, 2017). By contrast, the United States has not updated its 2012–2016 gender equality and women’s empowerment strategy (USAID, 2012), and the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s thematic guidelines on gender and development have not been revised for a decade (JICA, 2009).

DONORS TACKLE PRIORITIES ON GIRLS’ EDUCATION IN VARIOUS WAYS

For reasons outlined in this report, many countries, usually poorer ones, are still far even from the target of parity in primary and secondary education enrolment, let alone the more aspirational target of non-discrimination in all aspects of the education system. Girls’ education therefore remains a priority area for many actors in international development and is indeed a priority of the French G7 Presidency in 2019. But how do donors approach the main priorities? As part of the preparation for the G7 Ministerial Meeting on Education and Development, the GEM Report team and UNESCO sent a questionnaire to the aid agencies of the G7 countries, selected international organizations and NGOs, asking them to put forward projects for tackling 12 priorities in girls’ education. This section summarizes selected responses by area of priority. It concludes by asking whether donor interventions live up to aid effectiveness criteria and, in particular, whether they have the potential to be scaled up and taken up by governments.


The first three priority areas in the questionnaire were related to gender norms.

1 EMPOWERMENT OF GIRLS AND BOYS TO FIGHT GENDER STEREOTYPES

There is some evidence that mentoring programmes for girls can have positive effects, for example by increasing the likelihood of their remaining and progressing in school, delaying early marriages, and enabling girls to acquire life skills with support from their mentors. The Jielimishe (‘educate yourself’ in Swahili) project is a girls’ club and mentorship programme supported by the UK Girls’ Education Challenge initiative in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages. The project aims to improve the life opportunities of 10,000 marginalized girls in primary and secondary schools in Kenya’s Laikipia, Meru and Mombasa districts by supporting them (by themselves, at home, in school and in their communities) in attending and completing a full cycle of education and transitioning to the next level. The aim is to increase support for girls’ education by communities, school management systems, teachers, school infrastructure and policies. The approach focuses on improving teaching quality through teacher training, coaching and mentorship and encouraging local communities to support girls’ education. The project also supports 7,000 boys.

Sport is increasingly seen as a tool to influence gender norms because it can bring together disadvantaged communities, promoting individual sporting abilities while strengthening skills needed to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life, such as cooperation, respect, problem-solving, empowerment and communication.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has supported Africa – Sport for Development (S4D), a regional initiative implemented between 2014 and 2019 in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia and Togo, with individual measures carried out on a smaller scale in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Nigeria and Rwanda. A whole-system approach is reflected in engagement of ministries (e.g. for youth, education, sports or development), community and youth centres, schools and academies, national and international civil society organizations and local sporting institutions. Gender norms are tackled in various ways, including by training female and male coaches, integrating gender-sensitive sports curricula in schools, providing adequate water and sanitation services when sports facilities are built or rehabilitated, and creating safe learning and recreation environments for both girls and boys. Efforts are made to assess the impact on skills development through interviews and focus group discussions.

Across the 9 African countries participating in S4D, more than 57,000 children and young people benefit from the 34 sports grounds created or rehabilitated, and 30% of all coaches trained are female, increasing the involvement of women and girls in sports. In Namibia, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture is paving the way for development of a national school sport policy. This ambition is supported by the integration of S4D in grade 10 and 11 curricula and development of a Physical Education for Life teachers’ guide that informs the training of physical education teachers at the University of Namibia.

2 ENGAGEMENT OF LOCAL ACTORS

If gender equality in education is to be achieved, it requires working at all levels to challenge and modify negative norms and overcome cultural barriers. For change to occur, education and social campaigns about the right to education and gender equality should involve families and parents as well as community and religious leaders (UNESCO, 2018b; UNGEI, 2017).

The UNICEF and UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Efforts to End Child Marriage is supported by the European Union and the governments of Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom, as well as Zonta International, an NGO. The programme targets 200,000 girls and boys and carries out activities in 12 countries where child marriage is particularly prevalent or burdensome, including 4 in Western Africa: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Sierra Leone. In Burkina Faso, the programme aims to protect the most vulnerable adolescents from harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, child marriage and violence against children. Alongside behaviour change initiatives and community dialogue projects, the programme focuses on community-level provision of integrated services for families and children to meet their health, education and social protection needs. To date, the programme has engaged over 800 villages, raising awareness of healthy lifestyles and giving a voice to girls and boys aged 10 to 19. The programme focuses on keeping girls in school, which can prevent the perpetuation of female genital mutilation and child marriage.

The Yes I Do programme in Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Pakistan and Zambia aims to end deep-rooted discriminatory gender and social norms. Funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by Plan International Netherlands, the African Medical and Research Foundation, Rutgers, Choice for Youth and Sexuality, and the Royal Tropical Institute along with local partners, the programme harnesses the potential of social movements, identifying change-makers in communities, increasing awareness of young people’s sexual and reproductive health needs, collaborating with civil society organizations to advocate for policy change, and empowering girls and boys to take action.

In Mozambique, the international NGO Plan International runs the project with three national NGOs. In 2016-2020, the project is directly targeting 61,000 adolescents (58% of whom are girls) and aims to reach 310,000 others indirectly. Its approach is gender transformative, taking into account gender issues from women’s and men’s perspectives to help end child marriage and early pregnancy. It has supported development of the National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage and abolition of Decree 39/2003, which required pregnant girls to transfer from day school to night classes. The project also participated in the design of a bill on preventing and combating early and forced marriage, establishing 18 as the minimum age for marriage and penalizing anyone who contributes to, allows or creates conditions for early marriage to happen.

3 FEMALE PARTICIPATION IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATHEMATICS

An important factor in motivating girls to enrol in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programmes is helping them overcome anxiety and gain confidence in their abilities. To help girls feel confident in making choices, education systems need to improve career guidance and orientation advice services and promote role models.

In South Africa, the UNICEF TechnoGirl programme, in partnership with the Department of Education, has addressed gender inequity in STEM since 2005. Girls aged 15 to 18 from underprivileged urban and rural schools who are doing well academically are placed in corporate mentorship and skills development initiatives to help them gain confidence and link their school lessons to the skills they need to succeed in the labour market. They receive help in making informed career choices, with an emphasis on science, technology and engineering. In addition, over 5,000 young women have received university or college scholarships. There are now TechnoGirl initiatives in all nine provinces, helping build a cadre of future leaders. An evaluation of the project found that only 11% of participants reported they would probably have pursued a different career path had it not been for the project, however, which means there is significant scope for improving targeting.

The Gender-Responsive Quality STEM Education project, funded by Japan, is a partnership between the Francophonie Education and Training Institute, UNESCO, the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa, the African Union International Centre for Girls’and Women’s Education, and Microsoft. It targets francophone African countries, including Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Madagascar, Mali, Niger and Senegal. The programme provides training lasting 10 days for regional trainers and 5 for national trainers. The training covers enabling and prohibitive factors for girls’ education in STEM, as well as the role of school administrators, heads of teacher training colleges, and representatives from ministerial technical departments in providing leadership to create a school environment conducive to gender-equitable participation in STEM. Participants learn about gendersensitive responsive pedagogy, critically analyse educational resources and are instructed in ways to use ICT to improve girls’ participation in STEM.

 


The next three priority areas in the questionnaire were related to policies to improve access to education.

4 CASH AND IN-KIND TRANSFER PROGRAMMES FOR GIRLS, IN PARTICULAR FROM DISADVANTAGED GROUPS

Two types of social programme have been used to address poverty and access to education for vulnerable groups, including vulnerable girls. The first is cash transfers to vulnerable households, conditional on school attendance. One challenge with such programmes is identifying appropriate criteria to target potential beneficiaries. The criteria may include means testing, location, community leader assessments and self-selection. Although conditional cash transfers were introduced and gained popularity in Latin America, where secondary school dropout rates are higher among boys, they are increasingly used in countries where girls are disadvantaged. As these tend to be poorer countries, the support of international partners is important. In Pakistan, the Benazir Income Support Programme aims to reduce poverty and improve living standards and educational attainment among the poorest families by providing regular payments to female heads of household. As part of a component funded by the United Kingdom, 315,000 additional families will benefit by 2020. Eligible families receive a monthly stipend of about US$2.10 per child, conditional on at least 70% school attendance each quarter.

The second type of social protection programme, food for education, is more widely used, reaching more than 350 million children in 169 countries. The World Food Programme (WFP) in 2012 launched its Adolescent Girls Project in the Mirriah division of Niger’s Zinder region with 3,000 beneficiaries. Now in its second phase (2016-2020) with 13,000 beneficiaries, the project is implemented in partnership with UNICEF, UNFPA, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and UN Women. It originally targeted adolescent girls with a joint education and nutrition programme delivered through primary and secondary schools. The project consists of three components. First, a monthly scholarship of US$7 is provided to girls, conditional on 80% school attendance. Second, daily meals fortified with micronutrients are provided to girls and boys in primary schools, and weekly iron and folic acid supplements are given to girls and boys in secondary school. Third, sensitization and awareness-raising efforts target boys and girls as well as communities to provide messages on nutrition, nutrition-sensitive practices and other life skills. An evaluation of the first phase showed that the percentage of secondary school girls who completed their school year increased from 32% in 2013/14 to 68% in 2014/15. Nutrition knowledge, dietary diversity and consumption of iron-rich foods increased, while anaemia prevalence fell.

5 SECOND-CHANCE PROGRAMMES FOR GIRLS WHO HAVE LEFT SCHOOL OR ARE AT RISK OF LEAVING

Early pregnancy and poverty are among several factors that place adolescent boys and girls at risk of leaving school early. Similarly, legislation and social assistance are just two of the tools that can be deployed to prevent dropout. Some programmes are intended to engage the community to identify children at risk of early school leaving. Others give children who have left school a second chance to complete basic education and obtain education qualifications, thus providing them with an opportunity to re-enter formal schooling.

Predicting which girls may be at risk of dropout and providing them with timely support is an essential but complex undertaking. The School Accountability for Girls Education project in Uganda, funded by the US Department of State and managed by World Vision in partnership with local NGOs, operated between 2016 and 2018 in 151 schools in 10 districts, targeting girls and young women aged 13 to 19 who had dropped out or were at risk of dropping out. It used a two-pronged strategy involving an early warning system and the engagement of Stay in School Committees to transform social norms and practices; reduce risk of early marriage, pregnancy, gender-based violence and HIV infection; and support girls to stay in school. The approach has also been used in Kenya, Mozambique and the Kingdom of Eswatini.

Second-chance programmes are crucial for young women who have missed out on education. They are typically delivered in non-formal settings and target underserved communities. The Advancing Quality Alternative Learning project, supported by Japan in partnership with Pakistan’s federal and provincial governments, is a non‑formal learning programme providing alternative education opportunities for disadvantaged groups, particularly girls and women. Promoting connections between literacy, life skills and vocational education, it aims to foster positive attitudes towards learning and education within families and communities. The project also works to strengthen non-formal education systems through policy development and by customizing standards, curricula, learning materials, data, monitoring, evaluation and assessment for adult literacy.

6 TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

As long as technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is perceived to be primarily a choice for boys, a crucial education opportunity for girls will remain out of reach. The Skills and Technical Education Programme in Malawi is a partnership between the European Union, UNESCO, the national Ministry of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development, Mzuzu Technical College and local NGOs. Its three objectives are to promote genderequitable access to TVET, improve its quality and relevance, and strengthen the governance and management of TVET regulatory bodies and training institutions. Girls’ access and retention are to be increased in four ways. First, formal and informal training programmes are being reviewed to increase their relevance and attract female students to male-dominated trades as well as other training programmes. Second, a new guidance and counselling programme is being introduced in secondary schools to raise awareness of the importance of technical careers. Third, scholarships are being created to target female students and students from vulnerable groups. Finally, instructors are being trained in appropriate pedagogy.

Germany and the African Union Development Agency are supporting the Agricultural Technical Vocational Education and Training for Women in Africa programme, part of the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme. The project has operated in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Togo. It targets women in formal vocational training, female smallholders who lack access to training, and women who run small or micro businesses. The project aims to ensure that TVET systems offer labour market-oriented, income-boosting training opportunities for women in the agri-food sector to give them the skills they need to earn a living through paid work or self-employment. Taking women’s diverse needs and social roles into account, the project offers access to informal and flexible training options, such as evening and weekend courses, which link with formal education and training provision at local level. Trying to conceive and don’t know the best time of month to do so? Use this online ovulation calculator and find out your fertile days in seconds.


The next three priority areas in the questionnaire were related to policies to improve teaching and learning resources.

7 CURRICULUM AND TEXTBOOK REFORMS TO ELIMINATE GENDER BIAS AND STEREOTYPES

Relatively few interventions have been targeted at supporting curricular and textbook reforms. Under the UNESCO Malala Fund for Girls’ Right to Education, the Gender Equality and Girls’ Education Initiative in Viet Nam project (2015-2017) included a component on gender mainstreaming in curriculum and textbook development and teaching practices. In addition to contributing to development of the Action Plan on Gender Equality of the Education Sector for 2016-2020, the project aimed to influence attitudes to gender mainstreaming in curriculum and textbook development through substantive capacity development targeting curriculum developers, trainers, managers, education practitioners and students at all levels nationwide. Among the key results: The Ministry of Education and Training has developed a revised curriculum framework for primary and secondary education involving curriculum developers trained as part of the project. Revised curricula and textbooks will benefit over 15 million students and 850,000 teachers.

EU4Skills: Better Skills for Modern Ukraine is a programme funded by the European Union, Germany, Finland and Poland. Implemented by Germany’s GIZ development agency and KfW development bank, it runs from 2014 to 2020. The overall objective is to reform and modernize Ukraine’s TVET system so as to improve its quality and attractiveness for both female and male learners and increase its relevance to labour market needs, including overcoming gendered labour market segregation. Its activities include gender mainstreaming through gendersensitive, competence-based TVET curriculum standards applied to formal and non-formal vocational education and gender-responsive teaching, learning and assessment materials. It has also introduced gender-targeted interventions, such as accommodation and sanitation facilities for girls at vocational colleges and genderresponsive career guidance capacity development to overcome gender-segregated employment opportunities.

8 GENDER-RESPONSIVE TEACHER EDUCATION

In Viet Nam, the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance, the Viet Nam Ministry of Education and Training, provincial and district education and training departments and a local NGO, the Research Centre for Gender, Family and Environment in Development, began implementing a genderresponsive play-based learning project in 2018 in 15 mountainous districts with high poverty, food insecurity, environmental threat and child marriage rates. The project focuses on kindergarten teachers, since the early years set the foundation for future learning and are a period of flexibility in brain development, when gender norms and stereotypes can be effectively challenged. When kindergarten teachers apply traditional gender values in the classroom, both teacher and student behaviours reflect gender stereotypes.

Working with teachers, school leaders, parents and guardians, the project is transforming one pre-school per district into a model school that develops self-confidence, self-esteem and collaborative skills of 3- to 5-year-olds. The aim is to build gender-responsiveness among teachers, school leaders and government officials involved in supporting the country’s 156 pre-schools in 15 districts. To that end, the project has piloted a pre-school genderresponsive play-based learning toolkit, and is working to strengthen capacity among pre-school teachers, school principals and government personnel. A parent-school sensitization model is under way, with a particular focus on fathers. Finally, a planned nationwide advocacy campaign will embed the approach into the in-service pre-school teacher training curriculum. Plan International, with support from Dubai Cares and individual Canadian donors, implemented the Support for Better Opportunities for Girls project in Mozambique between 2014 and 2018. The project targeted 30,000 disadvantaged girls, aiming to improve primary school completion rates, increase transition rates from primary to secondary school and bring excluded girls back into education. The core activity was addressing structural inequality through peer professional development and teacher support.

9 FEMALE TEACHERS IN RURAL AREAS

Countries use various strategies to improve the supply of rural teachers, including recruiting locally, providing financial incentives and improving working conditions. The Supporting Female Teachers to Teach in Rural Schools project in Malawi has been operating since 2010, supported by ActionAid, the Teachers’ Union of Malawi and community-based organizations. It has supported construction of houses for female teachers in rural areas, who act as role models and improve girls’ retention in school. Construction of each house is conditional on the local school management committee and other community members agreeing with district education officers that a female teacher will be posted to the school.

The Basic Education Support Programme is a multi-donor budget support programme in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, funded by the European Union, Australia and the United States in partnership with UNICEF; the WFP; the NGOs Plan International, World Vision, Save the Children and ChildFund; and the national Ministry of Education and Sports. It aims to improve pre-service and in-service training of primary teachers. The programme offers targeted scholarships for teacher training colleges to ethnic minority members. Of the 520 teachers trained to date, 70% have been female. Many of the teachers are deployed to remote villages.


The final three priority areas were related to policies to improve the learning environment.

10 SAFE SCHOOLS, INCLUDING PROTECTION FROM ATTACKS AND SAFE JOURNEYS TO SCHOOLS

Safety on the way to and at school should be a priority. Boys and girls must feel connected to and empowered by their education experience. But this can be challenging, especially in conflict and emergency settings, where instability makes both schools and routes to school insecure and vulnerable to generalized violence as well as attacks by armed groups.

Afghanistan is the country with the highest gender disparity in access to school. Severe security threats, negative norms and scarce resources complicate efforts to address the problem. In these conditions, the establishment of community-based schools has proved to be one promising way to increase girls’ access. Since 2006, Canada has helped set up more than 9,200 such schools, in which over 80% of the 273,000 students were girls. Apart from increasing enrolment, these schools have been effective in improving learning outcomes, particularly for girls; reducing the systemic barriers to girls’ education caused by distance and insecurity; increasing recruitment and deployment of female teachers; and strengthening trust in the value and legitimacy of public service providers.

Since 2018, community-based school models have been overseen by the Community-Based Education Transition Unit at the Ministry of Education; the 2018 Community-Based Policy and Guidelines recognize communitybased schools as part of the formal education system. The policy states that when distance from a public school is greater than 3 kilometres and security threats impede access to public schools, community centres are to be rehabilitated and used as community-based schools. Community-based schools must have proper water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and focus on recruiting and training female teachers.

In Bangladesh, the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) fund supported the 12-month Education for Children of Rohingya Refugees and Host Communities project in Cox’s Bazar. The intervention has helped build more than 270 learning centres and is on track to complete 50 more. Over 25,000 refugee children aged 4 to 14 have received access to a safe and protective learning environment. To encourage involvement by parents and community members, outreach activities advocating for school enrolment, hygiene and sanitation, and emphasizing the importance of a safe learning environment, have reached close to 20,000 people. Working with Bangladesh’s government, UNICEF, UNESCO and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ECW launched a new grant in 2018 to benefit an additional 88,500 refugee and host community children and adolescents. The goal is for the multi-year grant to connect with other initiatives in coming years to reach more than 500,000 refugee and host community youth and 9,800 teachers.

11 SCHOOL-RELATED GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

The French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs funded the Fighting School-Related Gender-Based Violence project, implemented by UNESCO in partnership with UNICEF and Plan International, in Cameroon, Senegal and Togo between 2016 and 2018. In cooperation with the ministries of education and social protection, the project took a multisector approach, working both within and outside schools to implement various measures. It took steps to strengthen legal frameworks, internal regulations and official codes of conduct. It developed training programmes for the education community aimed at raising awareness of school-related gender-based violence and gender equality in schools. It involved pupils and community members and leaders via a participatory approach, conducting awareness-raising programmes on non-violence, children’s rights, gender equality and girls’ empowerment. And to measure the outcomes of violence prevention activities, it established mechanisms for data collection, reporting, referral and monitoring of gender-based violence, within and outside schools, through intersector coordination.

Under UNAIDS leadership, 21 eastern and southern African countries endorsed a Ministerial Commitment on Sexuality Education and Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in 2013. In 2016, a roadmap, regional accountability framework, civil society engagement strategy and youth accountability action plan were developed to help the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community track country progress and reach targets by 2020. With support from Sweden, UNESCO and its partners are promoting the realization of these targets through the 2018-2020 Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (O3) Programme, which aims to ensure the delivery of good-quality comprehensive sexuality education. It aims to reach 10.7 million students and 186,000 teachers between 2018 and 2020. An additional 30 million people are to be reached through community engagement and 10 million young people through social and new media platforms.

12 ADEQUATE AND APPROPRIATE WATER AND SANITATION FACILITIES

WASH in Schools for Girls (WinS4Girls), a project funded by Canada, operated in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Nigeria from 2015 to 2018. In Ghana, the project supported the government, in partnership with the University of Ghana and the Forum for African Women Educationalists, in developing and rolling out an in-depth national minimum standards package with a gender lens. Separate school latrine facilities were built for girls, with latrines in over 500 schools fitted with changing rooms to promote menstrual hygiene management. The project aimed to foster behaviour change by promoting understanding of basic facts about menstruation. Many girls know nothing about menstruation until it starts, and community members often believe menstruation renders girls and women unable to perform regular daily functions. A national campaign, Be Amazing. Period!, focused on building girls’ confidence and increasing boys’ understanding of menstruation as a natural and positive part of a girl’s development.

AID DIRECTED AT GENDER EQUALITY IN EDUCATION NEEDS TO LEAD TO SUSTAINABLE RESULTS

An emphasis on gender equality in aid programming is a good indicator of commitment, but it will not be sufficient to bring change. The broad selection of donor approaches to tackling challenges in girls’ education presented above is not intended to be representative of all interventions in the priority areas, nor is it necessarily indicative or suggestive of good practice in conception and/or implementation. To assess whether a donor project or programme applies good practice, projects need to be considered against criteria that might include: „„

  • Whether they were effective in tackling one or more priorities with a proven positive impact on gender equality – for example, completion rates, number of qualified female teachers, improvement in learning outcomes
  • Whether they were scalable and replicable in the sense that, while they may serve a particular context, they also have the potential in some form to address challenges on a larger scale as a government programme and/or in a different context „„
  • Whether they were participatory in development or implementation, involving support by national and local authorities, civil society and community organizations, and the private sector.

For most of the interventions presented, assessing whether the criteria of effectiveness, scalability and participation were met would have been beyond the scope of this report. Access to information that could demonstrate whether interventions were designed so as to be scaled up and eventually implemented as national programmes is limited.

The design of gender equality-related interventions needs to include a clear plan for how they will effect change as they transition from a relatively small-scale, donor-led, implementer-controlled project to a government-led, fully resourced national programme. This involves not only an appropriate theory of change but also a wellthought- through practice of change. Considerations include the following:

  • Has a plan been made for how the intervention will be picked up by government? Have sufficient negotiations been held between the donor, implementer and authorities? „„
  • Can the programme’s cost per capita, which is inevitably higher in the pilot stage, be brought down to such a level that it would be plausible for the government to pick up the bill? „„
  • Can the government realistically absorb the programme by activating existing budgetary and financing channels? „„
  • Can the government realistically absorb the programme in terms of its administrative mechanisms, for example by ensuring appropriate oversight or training functions? „„
  • Is the content of the programme sufficiently adapted to the realities of the country or would the intervention need to be adjusted further? Would that risk diluting its effectiveness? „„
  • Does the programme have – and can the government continue applying – appropriate targeting tools to ensure that the interventions reach those most in need? „„
  • Has a monitoring framework been established, enabling the collection of the right information on costs, implementation and results? „„
  • Has a robust evaluation proved the merit of scaling up the project? Has this evaluation been sufficiently independent – and has it sufficiently considered the complications of scaling up – to ensure beyond doubt that the advice given to government is reliable?

Before a project can be considered ready for scaling up, these issues need to be scrutinized, since projects must compete with one another for limited resources. The current level of education financing in most countries concerned is not high enough to justify wasting donor or government resources – or to run the risk that projects will end when external financing runs out.