Girls’ Education and Youth Development
Education is a basic building block in any country’s future. Yet, girls still account for more than half of all primary school-age children not in school. CEDPA’s proven approach to development includes girls’ education programs that expand their opportunities to live healthy, productive lives.
CEDPA works in partnership with local leaders and organizations to provide girls with practical, non-formal education in countries around the world. We also develop peer education programs to support youth leadership in the development of their communities.
CEDPA’s approach taps parents, local leaders and religious institutions to build community support for girls to go to school and stay in school. These key partners also determine educational needs. From health to human rights and from self-confidence to civic participation, CEDPA’s approach to non-formal education stresses practical life skills that expand a world of opportunities for girls and their futures.
In 1987, CEDPA launched the Better Life Options and Opportunities Model (BLOOM), a non-formal education program based on the core belief that confidence and high self-esteem are the foundation for personal growth.
The global program guide, Choose a Future!, includes sessions on sexual and reproductive health, nutrition and hygiene, self-esteem, life skills, civic responsibility and gender relations. It has been adapted to address local conditions and to respond to local concerns. In Nepal, for example, we introduced information on trafficking and girls.
To complement our work with girls, CEDPA reaches out to boys providing them with the skills and training necessary to be partners with girls in making gender equality a reality. CEDPA has also trained peer educators within youth organizations, including the YMCA, YWCA and indigenous groups.
Our youth development projects increase leadership skills and engage youth to become active participants in finding solutions in their communities. In Egypt, for example, the Enabling Young People’s Civic Participation in Egypt project established local and national leadership networks of young women and men. These networks fostered participatory interest in democracy, advocacy and a commitment to voluntary community service.
We have reached girls and youth in Egypt, Ghana, India, Mali, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa. In India, more than 167,000 adolescents have completed CEDPA’s family life education course. In Egypt, CEDPA has worked with 365 nongovernmental organizations in 21 governorates to provide non-formal education to more than 81,000 girls and 18,000 boys. In Nigeria, CEDPA educated youth with the BLOOM model, adapting the Choose a Future! curricula to meet local needs. So far, more than 1,400 girls and boys have completed the program, with 50% enrolling or re-enrolling in formal school.
CEDPA will continue to apply its strategic approach to expand opportunities for girls with a non-formal educational focus on life skills training for out-of-school girls. It serves two purposes: it motivates girls to delay marriage and childbearing and to continue their education, and it also gives them a means to earn a livelihood.
We will increase our efforts to change the social norms, practices and attitudes that prevent girls from going to school and completing their education. We will continue to build family and community support to ensure that girls’ enrollment and completion of school equals that of boys.