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  • Awarded: 2015
  • Issue Areas: Early Childhood to Primary Education · Education · Sanitation · Women's and Girls' Education
  • Countries Served: India
  • Web:
  • About the Organization

    Founded in 2007, Educate Girls is a non-governmental organization that holistically tackles issues at the root of gender inequality in India’s educational system. Their comprehensive model reforms government schools through community ownership and has helped to ensure over 90 percent enrollment and higher attendance, as well as improved school infrastructure, quality of education, and learning outcomes for all girls.

    Educate Girls works in over 8,500 schools across more than 4,500 villages, in some of the most rural parts of the Indian state of Rajasthan.

    Their comprehensive model reforms government schools through community ownership. They successfully engage girl students, teachers, schools, communities, and the government to create a platform that is scalable, sustainable, and gives value for money. Their goal is to improve access and quality of education for over four million children living in underserved communities in India by 2018.

    By empowering communities to improve girls’ education and schools, more girls can be educated. If more girls are educated, then their health, income levels, and overall livelihoods improve, bringing about social transformation.

    There are more girls not in school in India than in any other country in the world.

    Educate Girls reaches out to village leaders and creates both demand and support for better education.

    Safeena Husain envisions strong communities holding government and schools accountable for quality girls’ education.

    Almost a million children in six of the lowest-performing districts have experienced better education to date.

    Ambition for Change

    Strong community structures hold government and schools accountable for quality girls’ education. Each community believes in, demands and contributes to a girl-inclusive, child-centered, high quality education from its government school.

    Path to Scale

    Improve Existing Systems

    Public schools remain the primary vehicle for educating all children including girls. Educate Girls expands the scope of its interventions by building a volunteer network for community outreach and engagement.

    Business Model

    Philanthropy supports the organization, which enhances the reach and outcomes of public education resources by engaging with schools, parents, communities, and the education system. Piloting the application of Social Impact Bonds.

    As a girl in Delhi, Safeena Husain found refuge and opportunity in her education. She built a career in community-based global development, and for seven years led the US-based Child Family Health International. In 2004, she returned to India and accepted an invitation to assist a struggling girls’ education program. She quickly turned it around, and then founded Educate Girls so she could develop her model and bring it to the communities where it was most needed. The model strengthens and improves existing resources in government, schools and communities. Educate Girls and its “Team Balika” volunteers are change agents at the district and village levels. They increase community appreciation of and demand for girls’ education, and improve education delivery, by recruiting and training educated young adults as community ambassadors, reaching out to village leaders, facilitating town hall discussions, and conducting advertising campaigns. Team Balika volunteers also go door to door to negotiate with parents whose daughters are most at risk. They teach parent committees at each school to diagnose and prioritize problems, and to obtain government funds for improvements, particularly those vital to retaining girls (such as girls’ toilets and female teachers). They provide toolkits and training to help teachers shift away from rote learning and use activity-based methods.

    Impact & Accomplishments

    • Improving performance and educational outcomes for 7,500 schools and 950,000 children in six “gender gap” districts in Rajasthan where indicators of girls’ education have been the lowest.
    • Launching India’s first Development Impact Bond to support education, serving as an example for the education system and impact investors.


    Related Content

    Zachary Slobig - Skoll Foundation, August 1, 2017
    Two years into a pioneering three-year development impact bond (DIB), Educate Girls—which tackles gender inequality in India’s educational system, is showing promising results. With a DIB, a service provider receives…

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