We’re proud to empower women and build confident, successful girls. If you’re an 11-year-old girl living in one of the world’s most marginalised communities, you face less access to education than your brother, a greater likelihood of economic and social marginalisation, the prospect of forced marriage, early pregnancy, and increased maternal mortality. Being a young girl in many communities can be the most difficult hand to be dealt.
- 63 million girls between ages 6-15 are out of school and 16 million girls between ages 6-11 never enter one
- Only 34% of girls in the poorest households living in the poorest countries complete primary school
- In Nigeria, almost two-thirds of women in the north-west and north-east regions have no formal education
- In Kenya, nearly 40% of girls in Kenya reported missing days of school because they didn’t have access to pads when they were menstruating
- In Liberia, a girl is more likely to be married by 18-years-old than to know how to read and 63% of girls between the ages of 15-24 are illiterate
Educated girls are healthier, have the skills to make choices about their own future and can lift themselves, their community and even their county out of poverty. For instance, a percentage point increase in girls education boosts GDP by 0.3 percentage points and raises annual GDP growth rates by 0.2 percentage points. Again, one extra year of education for girls increases their wages by between 10-20%. By educating girls we change the future of entire communities as women reinvest 90% of their income in their families, as opposed to 30-40% for men.
We improve opportunities for girls in and out of the classroom by:
- We commission all of our artwork and creative stories in text-books and work-books to ensure equal visibility of male and female characters, and specifically represent female characters in powerful, unconventional roles
- Our teachers are trained to call on both boys and girls in the classroom. As fewer girls than boys usually tend to volunteer in class, teachers are trained to practice more cold calling to ensure equal participation(watch Bridge Teacher, Julianne Kimani explain more)
- Our teacher training and classroom management techniques focus on encouraging girls to be leaders in and out of the classroom
Gender-sensitive school management
- Female teachers and school leaders provide role models within the classroom and community (over 60% of our teachers are women)
- School leadership roles for girls as well as boys including Head Girls and Prefects.
- A strict policy against the expulsion of teen mothers from our academies (read Jestinah Barleah’s story in the New York Times)
- A strict policy against the use of corporal punishment on all pupils—meaning girls become more confident, expressive and engaged
- Girls can wear dresses, skirts or trousers depending on activities
- Girls share the same classrooms with their male peers
- All schools have single-sex sanitation facilities
- Local partnerships with organisations like Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) help teach girls about sanitation and sexual health
- Teacher training programmes include lessons on how to identify sexual abuse
- Clear policies against inappropriate relationships between staff and pupils
- We encourage girls to hone and practice leadership skills through participation in various co-curricular activities like drama, chess, the arts, and taekwondo. Girls are particularly encouraged to engage in sports like athletics, ball games and taekwondo which typically have less female participation
- We’ve fostered partnerships such as coding programs designed to narrow the gender gap of women in STEM. Here’s ten-year-old Bridge Nigeria pupil, Sophia’s story
- Through innovative wireless technology, we engage in systematic gender-responsive monitoring to ensure effective evaluation of the progress of each of our girls pupils across indicators like attendance and academic performance
- Through parent-teacher associations meetings our parents form a network of empowered partners—seeking accountability for their girls education
- Affordable fees mean that parents don’t have to choose which child to send to school and are less likely to prioritise a boys education over a girls.
Watch the video below to discover why Bridget Waithera, a Bridge Kenya pupil loves going to her Bridge academy.