Steps Towards Afghan Girls’ Educational Success II (STAGES II) - CARE

Steps Towards Afghan Girls’ Educational Success II (STAGES II)

STAGES II participants are marginalized girls who live in underserved remote areas, in particular girls from poor households, girls with disabilities, and girls who do not speak the language of instruction.

Background

Afghanistan made major strides in education during the past decade, reaching an estimated net enrollment rate of 60% in 2015. Girls’ education remains a major challenge, however; girls represent only 39% of the total number of children enrolled. Traditional gender norms, insecurity, distance to school, poverty, and early marriage pose major barriers to girls’ access, learning, and staying in school. Only 40% of the girls complete primary education.

STAGES II is the largest girls’ education project in Afghanistan. It builds upon the highly successful STAGES project (2013-2017), which supported more than 43,000 students across 12 provinces of Afghanistan, with major demonstrated gains in literacy and numeracy skills. STAGES II provides community-based education, accelerated learning programs, and lower secondary community-based education classes in remote communities; training to teachers and school management committees (shuras); learning materials, including libraries; and leadership skills to integrate girls’ voices in decision-making and the delivery of services. STAGES II expects to improve education outcomes for upwards of 22,000 girls and 9,000 boys, while also strengthening the capacity of communities and government officials to sustain girls’ education.

Strategy

STAGES II expects to improve education outcomes for upwards of 22,000 girls and 9,000 boys, while also strengthening the capacity of communities and government officials to sustain girls’ education. STAGES II participants are marginalized girls who live in underserved remote areas, in particular girls from poor households, girls with disabilities, and girls who do not speak the language of instruction.

Project achievements

Early evaluation shows that STAGES II students attending community-based education are systematically outperforming their peers in comparison public schools. At the midline study, Grade 7 CBE students had an average numeracy score of 57%, compared to 27% among the comparison group. Over a period of 12 months, lower secondary CBE students improved their numeracy performance by 18 percentage points over the comparison group’s scores – a remarkable gain.

improvement in numeracy performance over 12 months

improvement in numeracy performance over 12 months

Source: Wang, J. & McAneney, L. (2019) Steps Towards Afghan Girls’ Educational Success II: GEC-T Midline Report.

The importance of STAGES II

CARE pioneered the community-based education model in Afghanistan, which proved to be highly successful in increasing girls’ access and retention. CARE developed a unique community-based education model offering lower secondary classes that integrate paraprofessional training; tailored support to teachers on literacy, numeracy, and science teaching; and leadership skills for girls. The combination of a strong integrated model with successful community involvement resulted in high retention rates and improved learning outcomes in highly conservative provinces of Afghanistan.