Learning for Girls & Women
Empower 1.5 Million Girls to go to School
Build community ownership to create and sustain increased enrollment and retention for girls, and improve learning outcomes of children.
Pitch your solution.
India has 4.1 million out-of-school-girls (OOSGs) who do not show up in classrooms for myriad reasons that relate to one thing: their gender. Throughout India, gender disparity remains a persistent barrier to education.
Educate Girls’ (EG) single-minded vision is to bring in behavioural, social, and economic transformation of all girls in India. EG works in partnership with the Government and community along with help of community volunteers (Team Balika), to ensure higher enrolment and retention for out-of-school-girls (OOSGs) as well as improved learning outcomes for children.
Since inception in 2007, EG has scaled from a 50 school pilot to 29,000+ schools across Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh states of India and enrolled 800,000+ OOSGs. With a proven, codified and replicable model of intervention, we will scale our program and significantly reduce India's education gender gap by enrolling and helping maintain the enrolment of 1.5 million OOSGs by 2024.
Film your elevator pitch.
What specific problem are you solving?
A recent study by World Economic Forum ranks India 112th out of 153 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index. Along with being the 2nd most populated country, India is home to the largest population of illiterate women in the world (200+ million), accompanied by a gender gap of 18%. Gender disparity has remained a persistent barrier to education in the country.
Educate Girls (EG) initiated intervention in Pali in 2007,one of the most backward districts in India with a significant gender gap of 19% and with 10 years of intervention, has reduced the gap to a minimal 3%. Currently, we have scaled up to 17,000+ villages across 19 districts in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh,three of the most educationally challenged states in India.
Due to the widespread systemic apathy and culture of patriarchy, girls in rural and marginalized communities of these districts are confined to doing household chores. The ripple effects of this are manifested in issues as such as high drop-out rates, child marriage, early pregnancy, etc.
Therefore, EG’s program model covers an entire spectrum of holistic activities to bring a systemic change when communities deem unacceptable the norms that keep girls from school.
What is your solution?
Educate Girls has set up a holistic, community based program model focused on improving the enrolment and retention of out-of-school-girls (OOSGs) and improve learning outcomes of children across our operational geographies. EG’s program is hinged around its cadre of community volunteers called Team Balika who are trained and empowered to conduct our program activities on-ground with the field staff.
PROCESS AND TECHNOLOGY
Technology and data are the cornerstone of EG’ decision-making processes. To facilitate this, a geo-tagged tech-based monitoring system is used extensively within our organization. This includes:
- Android OS-based mobile application, used by field staff for data collection and tracking of 20+ impact indicators at the village and school level. A rigorous baseline-midline-end line for programs is done using this app, including the exhaustive door-to-door survey. A robust
- Performance Management System developed to collect, aggregate, monitor, and report performance of program activities carried out in the field through a user friendly interface of data collection and validation. The data is also quickly transformed into insights for actionable targets and resource allocation on-ground. Additionally, to improve integrity of data, a codified process of spot-check and cross-verification is done by an internal audit team.
Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?
Educate Girls has set up holistic, community-based program with a gender lens where the target beneficiaries of the program are the marginalized girls between the age group of 5-18. These are the girls who are systematically denied the advantages of autonomy, mobility, and economic opportunity. A majority of the out-of-school girls (OOSG) are from the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes which are the most neglected marginalized and exploited sections of the society.
Most of them are first generation learners in their families and have no alternative means of getting support for their education. Educate Girls’ program aims to usher in systemic reform, bridge gender gap and provide quality education to children.
As inter-generational benefits of girls’ education start accruing over time, we expect system-wide impact. Enormous social and economic benefits will accrue for girls, their families, communities, states and, eventually, the nation overall.
Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?Increase the number of girls and young women participating in formal and informal learning and training
Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.
Educate Girls (EG) mobilizes public, private, and community resources to ensure that all girls are in school and learning well in the elementary and secondary education space. EG believes that if girls in educationally backward districts are educated now, they will have the potential to enter formal economy, uplift their families and subsequently break the cycle of poverty.
EGs' vision and program intervention is well-aligned with the challenge of "Learning for Girls and Women” as we aim to achieve a systemic change wherein communities undertake local ownership of girls' education and deem unacceptable all norms keeping children out of school.
In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
What is your solution’s stage of development?Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or countries that is looking to scale significantly, focusing on increased efficiency
Who is the primary delegate for your solution?
Safeena Husain- Founder and Executive Director
If you have additional video content that explains your solution, provide a YouTube or Vimeo link here:
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?A new business model or process
Describe what makes your solution innovative.
- Educate Girls in partnership with IDinsight (a US based agency), used a combination of primary data collected through a census like activity i.e. door-to-door survey across 40,00,000+ households in Educate Girls’ program geographies, and other secondary data sources, to build a predictive model (Machine Learning algorithm) through innovative advanced analytics, to identify villages for future program sites.
- These villages are most likely to have the highest concentration or 'hotspots' of out-of-school girls. The village level predictions, will help in precision targeting of areas to focus on, instead of going for a 100% geographical saturation mode of operation where Educate Girls would have to initially work in each and every village, regardless of how many out-of-school girls are present.
- The predictive model will also be used to clusterize villages for operational purposes and improve optimization and efficacy in recruitment of staff and community volunteers. This will ensure optimum utilization of resources with better oversight and overall improved program implementation
- With the help of this innovative advanced analytics, Educate Girls has been able to identify that just 5% of the 6,50,000 villages in India contain up to 40% of the OOSGs. Therefore, using this predictive model we will target these 35,000 high incidence villages spread across 4 states namely, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and enroll up to 1.5 million OOSGs during April 2019 – March 2024.
Prediction of out-of-school-children (OOSC) the 4 states through Predictive Model
Describe the core technology that powers your solution.
Historically, Educate Girls (EG) used a variety of secondary data sets like the Government managed Census, Child Tracking Survey (CTS), etc. to create a roadmap for initiating intervention in a new geography. However, over the years, we experienced shortcomings in these datasets due to inaccuracies and obsolescence. Therefore, starting 2016, our field staff and Team Balika (Community Volunteers) conducted a census-like activity called the door-to-door survey, covering over 4 million households across every village with EG’s intervention, in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh states of India. The survey identified each and every out-of-school-girl (OOSG) in the age group of 3-14 years. The survey indicated that majority of the OOSGs identified are contained in a minority of the villages i.e. 5% villages contained about 40% of the OOSGs identified.
Therefore, Educate Girls partnered with IDinsight, a US based agency to build a predictive model (machine learning algorithm), that will combine the data from EG’s door-to-door survey with the government’s existing secondary datasets to predict the number of OOSGs in each village. The predictions were able to pinpoint hotpots i.e. villages with highest number of OOSGs in a particular geography. Therefore, going forward, these predictions will help us to identify villages across 4 states of India (i.e. Rajasthan, Madhya Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) containing up to 1.5 million of the country’s OOSGs.
Therefore, leveraging advanced analytics, Educate Girls aims to enrol up to 1.5 million OOSGs over 5 years (2019-2024) back in school, and significantly reduce the gender gap in education.
Provide evidence that this technology works.
EG has set up a rigorous monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system, powered by technology to provide regular feedback and improve program delivery and implementation. Key Features of EG’s M&E system include:
- Mobile Tracking:
Developed an Android OS based mobile application, used by field staff for data collection and tracking of 20+ impact indicators at village and school level. Through geo-tagging of villages, the application also tracks movement of field personnel to enable real-time monitoring of employees.
- Performance Management System (PMS):
Developed a robust PMS to create a user-friendly interface for data collection, aggregation, monitoring and validation. Processes are also put in place for data to be quickly transformed into insights and actionable targets and resource allocation on the ground.
Additionally, EG has a codified process of audit, done by an independent internal team through cross-verification and spot checks of activities. This further improves the integrity of the data that is being used.
Internal system of M&E has been demonstrated below:
Leveraging innovative advanced analytics, Educate Girls identified that just 5% of the villages in India i.e. 35,000 villages, hold up to 40% — or 1.5 million — of the OOSG population. During 2019 - 2024, we aim to target these 35,000 high incidence villages and enrol up to 1.5 million OOSGs back in school.
Please find below a link to a paper published by Stanford Social Review on the use of predictive model and machine learning for prediction of high incidence of OOSGs:
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
What is your theory of change?
Educate Girls' Theory of Change:
Select the key characteristics of your target population.
Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?
In which countries do you currently operate?
In which countries will you be operating within the next year?
How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?
Current scale of delivery
- Enrolled 800,000+ out-of-school-girls in 29,000+ schools across 17,000+ villages in Rajasthan and Madhya states of India since 2007
- Retained over 90% of OOSGs enrolled
- Improved learning outcomes of over 1 million children in grades 3-5 across numeracy and literacy
- Over 9 million children benefiting from improved governance and infrastructure in schools.
Impact during FY 2020-21
- Enrol 325,000+ out-of-school-girls (OOSGs) across 19,000+ villages in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh states of India.
- Retain over 85% of the out-of-school-girls enrolled during FY 2020-21
- Improve learning outcomes of 160,000+ children in grades 3-5 across literacy and numeracy skills
Expected impact over 5 years (2019 – 2024)
- Enrolment of up to 1.5 million out-of-school girls (OOSG) into grades 1 through 10
- Retention of over 1.3 million enrolled girls or over 90% of all enrolled girls staying in schools without dropping out
- Improvement in learning outcomes for over 900,000 girls and boys in grades 3 through 10
- Development of more than 70,000 adolescent girls with Life Skills Training
- School governance and infrastructure improvement in over 40,000 schools that serve over 15.1 million boys and girls.
What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?
Organizational Goals 2020-2024
As a part of this ambitious scale-up, Educate Girls will be pursuing the following program models:
- Organic Expansion: Direct Intervention by Educate Girls to deliver the program in 4 states in India. (Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh with expansion into Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the coming years).
- Inorganic expansion: Partnering with like-minded grassroots NGOs to deliver the core program on ground.
- Adolescent Girls Program (AGP): Scale-up the AGP pilot across 5 districts in Rajasthan where Educate Girls has successfully implemented its primary program.
- Technical and Advisory Partnership: Work with the government and UNICEF in technical and advisory capacity.
What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?
Barriers for FY 2020-21
At the beginning of FY Apr ’20 – Mar ’21, we were faced with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent government declared lockdown. Key highlights of the challenges include:
- Rural and marginalized communities struggling with loss of livelihood, lack of food and basic access to health has augmented the existing challenges to enrolment of OOSGs, in communities with EG’s intervention.
- High likelihood of drop-out of girls enrolled in schools due to change in status quo during the lockdown.
- Additionally, EG’s domestic funding has taken a major hit due to funders diverting the money towards organizations that are directly working towards addressing the pandemic and its aftermath.
Barriers to the planned scale up over 5 years (2019-2024)
- Extreme social and economic marginalization of girls in rural, remote and tribal areas as a persistent barrier to enrolment of OOSGs
- Need to strengthen internal systems and processes and bolster data management capabilities by investing in developing a child centric technology solution. The design process for this ambitious project has been initiated and will take another 18 months for completion.
- Need to strengthen government relations for an effective program delivery
- Need for a strong and diversified pool of funders to accomplish the audacious goal of enrolling 1.5 million OOSGs back in school by 2024.
How do you plan to overcome these barriers?
Measures taken to overcome the barriers in FY 20-21
- Educate Girls is working towards distributing ration kits (grocery and essential supplies) to over 4,00,000 of the most affected households across 1,517 of its most critical program villages.
- Helping to create greater awareness on measures to prevent the transmission via phone calls, messages and posters.
- Keeping families updated on the various COVID-19 relief measures announced by the government and the processes to avail them.
Measures to overcome barriers to the 5 years (FY 2019-2024) planned scale-up :
- Leverage our long-standing experience in some of the most difficult geographies with severe gender gaps and rural and marginalized population.
- Build a strong and experienced executive team with extensive cross-sectoral and cross-functional experience.
- Digitize and automate processes to ensure delivery of program with efficiency at scale
- Leverage our long-standing experience in negotiating with the government and liaise with the state and local governments to ensure smooth program implementation across all geographies.
- Over the years, Educate Girls has earned the trust of major global funders like Educate a Child (EAC), LGT Venture Philanthropy, Skoll Foundation, CIFF, etc. We also have few domestic funders on-board like National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives (APPI) who continue to support our program. Therefore, to achieve our ambitious goals, we aim to form long standing partnerships to ensure year-on-year renewals and multi-year commitments through a diversified pool of funders (both existing and new funders).
What type of organization is your solution team?Nonprofit
If you selected Other, please explain here.
How many people work on your solution team?
Currently, Educate Girls is operational in 19,000+ villages across 3 states of India with a staff strength of 1,700+.
Please find the details our staff strength as mentioned below:
Full-time Staff: 1,791
Total staff: 1,796
How many years have you worked on your solution?
Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
- Starting FY 2019 – 20, Educate Girls (EG) set out on the journey of achieving its ambitious goal of enrolling 1.5 million out-of-school-girls (OOSGs) back in school by 2024, across 35,000 villages in 4 states of India.
- An expansion of such magnitude will be accompanied by a significant scale-up of the existing pool of 1,700+ employees to approx. 3,500+ employees across 5 states of India (4 states with program implementation and HO located in Maharashtra).
- Therefore, given the audacious targets and the rapid scale accompanied by increase in staff, it is crucial to have a strong and able leadership team in place, in order to streamline the verticals across all functions, down to every field staff, implementing our program on-ground.
- We have onboarded a diverse senior leadership team with experience ranging from 8 years to 18 years of vast work experience spanning multiple sectors across crucial functions like HR, Operations, Programs, Communications, Fundraising, etc.
- Given the challenges, at the field and at the Head Office level, this was done through a rigorous selection process which includes, multiple rounds of interviews followed by a psychometric evaluation, designed by a leading global Professional Recruitment firm, Mercuri Urval.
- Additionally, we have formed a people sub-committee in our Board of Directors under the leadership of Ireena Vittal (EG - Board member, former partner at McKinsey & Co.). This sub-committee will meet four times in a year and evaluate our people’s practices.
To find more details on Educate Girls' Leadership Team: click here
What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?
- State and district Governments – Partnered with APCO Worldwide to guide our outreach, advocacy and policy influence efforts with the federal and state governments, since EG works in government-run schools.
- UNICEF – Partnered with UNICEF as technical advisor on girls’ education, door to door surveys and enrolment and as a sub-contractor for executing joint projects in specific districts.
- Learning partnership with IDinsight – Partnered with IDinsight to get access to the advanced data analytics required to do precision targeting. With their help we have been able to identify 35,000 villages with maximum out-of-school girls.
- People partnership with Mercuri Urval – Partner with Mercuri Urval, a global expert in Professional Recruitment, Talent Advisory and People Strategy to provide us with the best talent in the industry to ensure we meet our objectives
- Partnership with the Department of Women and Child Development: Partner with government of Rajasthan represented by Minister, Department of Women and Child Development to create a Project Management and Implementation Unit (PMIU) at the State level to facilitate:
- Social Empowerment
- Improved access to education and health services
- Economic empowerment through skill development
- Awareness about political and legal rights
- Partnership with Bridgespan: Partner with Bridgespan, a US based consultancy for non-profits to develop a policy gap framework that is freely and easily available for all stakeholders working to improve child development outcomes in India.
- Partnership with eZest: Partner with eZest, an India based technology solutions provider to design an ambitious project that will develop a child-centric technology solution.
What is your business model?
Educate Girls’ model runs on the power of young community volunteers who live and work in the villages. This investment has following key components:
- Shift community and individual mind sets on gender roles and importance of girls’ education.
- Enrol and retain out of school girls (Age 5 – 18 years) and improve learning outcomes of children in grades 3-5 through a supplementary curriculum.
- Form Bal Sabha (Girls Council) to empower adolescent girls in the middle school (Grades 6- 8) by imparting life skills training through Team Balika (Community Volunteers)
- Formalization and training of School Management Committees and ensure that they play a vital role in the governance and administration of their schools. This makes the government school administration accountable to improve the school governance and infrastructure to make them girl-friendly.
Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)
What is your path to financial sustainability?
Educate Girls is a 100% grant funded organization. We have a diversified portfolio of funders which includes national and international foundation and trusts, philanthropic organizations, corporates, HNIs, etc. We receive mainly 2 types of funding i.e.:
- Restricted funding is tied to a particular program geography. the grant received under this option will be deployed to improve Enrolment-Retention-Learning outcomes of children in that geography.
- Unrestricted funding is aimed at providing organization-wide capacity building support to strengthen the program delivery and implementation on-field. This includes, building organizational capacities and advance developments like digitization and automation across key functions like IT, Human Resources, Impact and Operations.
Why are you applying to Solve?
- Technology and data are the cornerstone of Educate Girls’ intervention. In order to achieve quality at scale through EG's intervention, we have identified the need to strengthen our internal systems and processes, and bolster our data management capabilities by investing in and developing a child-centric technology solution.
- Additionally, with the on-set of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 in India, Educate Girls has geared up in the face of this global crisis and empowered our rural communities, including the most vulnerable out-of-school-girls by providing relief material in the form of grocery items and other essentials. This has been done keeping in view the mitigation of a long term impact on education and gender equity.
- Solve 2020 can help EG to overcome the barriers of need for technological upgradation and mitigate the impact of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic on our communities through grants that will support Educate Girls’ program implementation in 17,000+ villages across 3 states and help in organization-wide capacity building and technological upgradation.
In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?
Please explain in more detail here.
We need support in raising awareness on the importance of educating girls especially those belonging to rural, marginalized communities in India who are systematically denied the advantages of autonomy, mobility, and economic opportunity. We also would love to partner with like-minded organisations or individuals to build partnerships that will help us realize our ambitious goal of bringing 1.5 million girls back to school by 2024.
What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?
Organisations and Solve members working in the space of girl education and empowerment to enable the spread of ideas, information and solutions that will benefit the common cause of encouraging marginalized girls access quality learning opportunities to succeed.
Safeena Husain Founder and Executive Director, Educate Girls