The goal of this commitment is to improve the schooling and health situations of Southern African girls through the adaptation of CEDPA's successful youth development framework and life skills curriculum to the context of Southern Africa. By working with local partners and with the support of anonymous private donors, CEDPA will pilot and implement these programs within the country's educational system. There will be five pilot sites, in which facilitators will be trained in partnership with local NGOs. These facilitators include peer educators, community health care workers, and teachers who will lead girls in discussion groups and participatory activities. In addition, local partners will begin advocacy efforts that are expected to result in the governmental approval of CEDPA's school curriculum.
According to an integrated report by UNICEF/UNESCO, some 115 million primary school-aged children worldwide are estimated to be out of school. Of the total, 61.6 million (53 percent) are girls. In Eastern and Southern Africa, girls represent 51 percent of out-of-school children. Girls' participation plummets further in secondary schools: in Eastern and Southern Africa, only 19 percent of secondary school-aged girls are enrolled. Often, girls who complete primary school are not equipped to handle the transition into secondary school and the accompanying academic and social pressures.
CEDPA's integrated and holistic approach to improving the lives of young people has been implemented successfully in a range of countries and contexts. CEDPA's Better Life Options and Opportunities Model (BLOOM) has developed hundreds of thousands of empowered adolescents - educated, healthy, gender-sensitive, and capable of making good life decisions - by exposing them to alternative options and creating an encouraging, action-oriented environment. Formal assessments have found that young people who have completed CEDPA's youth development programs achieve a higher level of education, demonstrate greater HIV/AIDS awareness, show greater ability to make healthy decisions regarding marriage, expenditures, and education, earn and save more, and travel more outside of their villages. Youth have expressed new-found confidence and skills by starting their own businesses, running local youth centers in their villages, and becoming advocates of women's rights within their governments. The program is always implemented entirely through local partner organizations to ensure community ownership of the program.
SEEKING: Funding, partnerships.
Additional partners will be needed for funding and assistance to plan the expansion of the Choose a Future: Issues and Options for Adolescent Girls curriculum and to begin the piloting of the curriculum in other Southern African countries.