APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Over the past ten years, Educate Girls Globally (EGG) has been testing and developing a girls' education model. The intellectual genesis of the model has three sources: the village mobilization for education literature, Elinor Ostrom's work on self-governing organizations, and Hernando de Soto's work on development and private property. In 1997, Chickering integrated these three streams of research in his work on changing concepts of the self and their relationship to citizenship and community, which forms the theoretical foundation of the model.
The foundation of EGG's model is 'community activation', a simple but innovative process that generates the value of ownership of the future in a community and provides organizational structures that prompt community action. An organic process that allows 'natural leaders' to emerge and communities to determine the pace of change, the model brings together community members and other stakeholders to reform schools, make them work for girls, and accomplish other related community objectives. Once activated, communities have the skills and resources to address nearly any development goal they prioritize. Experience has shown that some communities in insecure or unstable regions have addressed their own security concerns after completing the process of empowerment through community activation.
EGG began experimenting with this model in 2002 in Uttaranchal where we ultimately reached 1,400 schools. The results, however, indicated that longer-term success required a more formal relationship with the Ministry of Education to realize the full potential of the model. In 2006, partnering with the Rajasthan State Ministry of Education and the World Economic Forum, EGG launched a pilot project in 50 schools covering 6,000 girls (12,000 children) in the Pali District. In 2008, we expanded to 500 schools covering 35,000 girls (70,000 children) in Pali District. In 2010, EGG expanded to every school in Pali, or 2,342 schools covering 126,000 girls (260,000 children), and, in 2011, launched the program into the neighboring district of Jalore expanding to a total of over 4,500 schools covering 263,000 girls (590,000 children). The most recent longitudinal evaluation of learning gains indicates girls' skills in Hindi reading and math doubling after three months of teaching, compared to no gains in the control group schools in either subject.
This year, a robust, longitudinal study of the 500 schools launched in 2008 was completed and yielded the following outcomes: attendance increased from 67 percent to 82 percent; Hindi reading competency increased from 42 percent to 59 percent; English reading competency more than doubled from 15 percent to 43 percent, and; basic math skill competency more than doubled from 26 percent to 57 percent.
In the course of developing the model over the past decade to its present, empirically proven format, EGG has received positive feedback in the form of funding and recognition along the way. For example, its work in Rajasthan was, from the beginning, co-sponsored with the State Ministry of Education and the World Economic Forum; the State Ministry is now a major funder ($250,000 in 2011). Moreover, the model has received four major awards for innovation: the Dasra Social-Impact Village Capital Award ($200,000 per year for two years); an award from LGT Venture Philanthropy ($250,000 per year for two years); a Kubera-Edelweiss Social Innovation partnership prize, and; one of thirteen awards (out of 264 entries) of a grant from The India Development Marketplace (a World Bank Institute-housed program). Finally, an unsolicited USAID evaluation of the model in the context of a study of public-private partnerships concluded, 'EGG significantly improved the education system in Rajasthan through its partnership with the Rajasthan Ministry of Education.'
While not formally acknowledged as such, the EGG girls' education model has also received considerable attention from the US military, including the authors of the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual and the group of defense intellectuals who have radically redefined the U.S. military strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Working with staff at the United States Central Command, as well as several national security reform think tanks, EGG leadership has explored several potential partnering arrangements by which the EGG girls' educational model could be deployed in a front line state as a non-kinetic foreign policy initiative with the potential of realizing: (i) the educational outcomes similar to those proven in our work in India; (ii) a sense of community ownership of the future, and; (iii) the vital US foreign policy objective of stabilizing legitimate government regimes under attack from violent, externally-funded, and externally-supported insurgency campaigns.
While none of these potential partnering arrangements have been formalized, EGG sees this opportunity as one that extends the EGG model not by geography, but by policy objective. The rationale of this potential collaboration rests on four key pillars:
First, because empowering women and girls is a critical factor in stabilizing violent cultures;
Second, because education increases local economic opportunities for communities, it reinforces community support for legitimate governments while simultaneously strengthening their opposition to external challenges to legitimate governments;
Third, because strengthening government schools weakens the motivations of communities to send their children to religious schools (madrassahs), often run by externally-based religious extremists sponsoring and directing insurgency campaigns, and;
Fourth, because community-based schools, which give people a real stake in their larger civil society and connect them to legitimate government institutions, have been shown to encourage people to resist forces that are seeking to undermine their larger civil society and legitimate governments.
In summary, after a decade of field work, program revisions, and approximately $2 million of development costs, EGG is delighted to announce, for the first time, that the EGG girls' education model is a powerful, efficient, successful, and empirically validated program.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
By employing, engaging, reforming, and leveraging the existing school infrastructure and teaching staff - rather than building schools de novo - the EGG the model achieves enormous economic efficiencies that few, if any, educational models can match. First and foremost, EGG staff work closely with the Ministry of Education to address bottlenecks by ensuring effective communication and collaboration between state and local officials.
EGG staff also works closely with local communities, activating them to take ownership of schools by identifying needs and initiating reforms, as well as connecting with government resources, and ensuring that improvements in education are sustained over the long-term.
Implementation of the model can be reduced to a nine step process:
Sign an MOU with the state Ministry of Education, assigning schools where the program will be implemented (EGG works in every school in all jurisdictions assigned);
Hire field staff who will work in every community, in each assigned school. Each field staff has responsibility for covering an average of about 20 schools, with most communities having more than one school;
Perform a community survey on each school, including collecting the names of every girl who is out-of-school and creating a baseline of academic performance to facilitate the empirical evaluation of program outcomes at various intervals in time;
Organize a community meeting to discuss the importance of educating girls with the community as well as listening to and documenting the communities' concerns and objectives. This initiates an on-going process of working with the community to accomplish a variety of objectives known collectively as the School Improvement Action Plans, including reenrollment of out-of-school girls, creation of girls' student parliaments, community projects, life skills training, and Creative Learning Techniques;
Help the community to form a School Management Committee (SMC) to organize all activities. The SMC has real authority (granted in the MOU) to make plans for bringing girls back to school and taking initiatives to improve the school. The formation of the SMC has been successful in every school though differences in community leadership lead to differences in outputs from the process. Through this process a natural leader is cultivated and trained from within the community to take over the responsibilities of EGG's field staff;
The girls form girls' student parliaments, which focus on life-skills training, enrollment drives, cultural activities and games, and other activities of their own design. Formation of girls' student parliaments has been successful in every school, with differences in outputs depending on leadership. Some of the more successful members of the girls' student parliaments have joined the SMCs;
At the schools, the field staff organizes three forms of training: (i) life skill training for the girls; (ii) Creative Learning Technique (CLT) training for teachers, and; (iii) leadership training for girls and SMC members, including the emerging natural leaders;
The field staff monitors implementation at periodic community meetings (about every six weeks), leaving the process mostly to the girls, the SMC members, and the teachers;
Testing and measuring results (including establishing control groups) is conducted at the end of the calendar year to track and verify progress, with a formal report produced in February or March;
All steps of the program are completed over a 24-month period. The economies of scale are greatly increased as the program is expanded.
2012: Launch in two additional districts in India or 3,467 schools reaching an incremental 199,895 girls (442,720 children). Create groundwork in Tanzania: contract and train staff, and document the program model for adaptability from India.
2013: Continue build out in the two districts in India; begin initial evaluation and measurement of impact in schools. Launch the program in 20 communities in Tanzania to reach 4,628 girls (9,257 students).
2014: Complete the India expansion and the extension into Tanzania, and complete impact evaluations in both countries.
EGG intends to expand and extend the results it has already achieved: increase attendance by at least 20 percent; increase English reading comprehension by 100 percent; increase math scores by 100 percent; activate all communities targeted in MOU; complete all School Improvement Plans under terms of MOUs.
Communities in the India program have produced astonishing indirect deliverables as a result of completing the community activation process. These include construction of community water systems, separate girls' toilets, and new school infrastructure which continue to confound and amaze traditional economic analysis.