Last week, the world celebrated the second annual International Day of the Girl Child, a United Nations holiday dedicated to recognizing girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face in the world. This year’s theme for the holiday, Innovating for Girls’ Education, is one that hit especially close to home for us at Room to Read, so we decided to share a few of our favorite program innovations from the past year, featured in the gallery below.
In Tanzania, our team held an Academic Bonanza for all Form Two (second year) girls from our three partner schools. Framed as a friendly competition and study tool, the day included games and Q&A sessions led by Room to Read social mobilizers and subject teachers from each school.
In Zambia, where English-language competence is often a barrier for students in advancing in secondary school, our team launched a pilot English-language remedial reading and writing instruction program to help girls bridge the gap. The program, targeted to girls in the 6th through 8th grades, is designed to provide students with the level of proficiency needed to improve academically in all subjects and pass the country’s rigorous advancement exams.
Through a partnership with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women in India, a select number of 12th grade girls from our Girls’ Education program received entrepreneurial skills training and had the opportunity to start their own businesses for one day. The girl attended seminars on budgeting, planning and marketing before developing their own business plans for the future.
In Bangladesh, our team recently piloted a new resource for the girls on our program, most of whom live on the country’s remote sandbar islands. In an effort to help girls and their parents better understand the potential paths that follow graduation from secondary school, our staff produced and "Aim in Life" handbook, which can be used as a discussion tool for families. The inaugural copies of the handbook were distributed during a launch event attended by more than 800 people in the Sirajganj district, where prominent Bangladeshi women shared their own stories of success and encouraged the girls in our program to dream big.
In Cambodia, 12 girls from our Girls’ Education program were trained as data collection interns for a reading fluency study we conducted. In addition to gaining practical work experience, the girls were also able to practice skills such as communication, relationship-building and critical thinking.
In Vietnam, we worked with our corporate partner Lenovo to pilot the use of greater technology for our field staff (social mobilizers). Starting in December 2012, each woman on the team received a brand new Lenovo laptop and training from our local IT staff on basic use and maintenance. Throughout the course of the pilot, social mobilizers have reported using the new laptops to track attendance, archive useful documents for future use, report on monitoring visits, input financial information and incorporate multimedia content into life skills lessons.
Learn more about our Girls’ Education program.