Last year, the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings collaborated with the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) to survey 125 organizations working on girls’ education to answer those kinds of questions. There are 17 SDGs, focused, broadly, on eradicating poverty, combatting global warming, and ensuring equality and justice, and including specifics such as: ending child marriage, harmful traditional initiation rites, and increasing female political participation.
It’s true that there has been tremendous progress and important advancements in girls’ education; after all, women and adolescent girls are completing more years of school than ever and the number of girls out of primary school has been cut in half since the early 2000s. But the current state of affairs has left many actors in the field wondering how to update their agendas to match the current environment.
In undertaking our study, our hope was that by capturing the landscape of efforts to improve girls’ educations, we might advance the conversation about how to better align efforts to achieve the SDGs. Our research revealed 10 strategic trends that demonstrate how the field is grappling with a new era in girls’ education, and suggest potential gaps in the effort, and the opportunities for action that those gaps present.
- Focusing efforts on adolescent girls
- Investing in efforts to improve the quality of education overall, and girls’ education in particular
- Addressing school-related gender-based violence
- “No girl left behind”—focusing on hard-to-reach populations
- Multi-sectoral approaches
- Partnerships and communities of practice
- System strengthening
- Supporting gender equality in education
- Social norms work
- Utilizing social media, ambassadors, and grassroots mobilization
Increasingly, organizations—especially bilateral and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs)—are striving to identify and utilize grassroots youth ambassadors, volunteers, and/or high-level political champions to mobilize communities to support girls’ education. These actors serve as important conduits for increasing the global visibility of girls’ education issues in distinct locales. They are also raising awareness of girls’ education issues in general.
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